Today's blog post is about how to get your home ready to sell. The one question I’m asked most by my home seller’s is how to get my home ready to be put on market. I’m going to explain what steps you can take now, so that 6 to 12 months from now, when you’re ready to sell your home, you’ll be able to sell it for top dollar and in the shortest amount of time.
The 1st thing that I want you to focus on is any small maintenance issues that you are aware of with your home. In the real estate business this is known as deferred maintenance, which is maintenance that you’ve been putting off. Think of things like little holes in the wall, caulk around the bathtub or gutters that are clogged. You might’ve been putting these things off for so long that you don’t even notice them anymore, but because we are getting ready to sell your home, we need to take care of these things now. Home buyers will absolutely recognize these maintenance issues when they walk through your property. When they see them, home buyer’s may think, I got to take care of this and that, which leads to them getting overwhelmed and then their entire perception of the house is negatively impacted. Fixing these issues may only cost a few hundred dollars, but home buyers will always overestimate the cost of repairs and you will potentially lose thousands if not repaired prior to going on the market.
Next, I want you to start de-cluttering your home. Things accumulate quickly in a home, and it can take a long time to get it all organized. It’s not a process most of us like to do, but we must declutter your home as much as possible. All realtors will tell you that a house that is cluttered feels smaller and a house that is decluttered feels larger. A house that is decluttered may not be larger, but it feels larger and that’s what’s really important. If you have a garage or an attic you need to start getting things boxed up and put in there now. These things will only be boxed away for a few months, because you’re going to be in your new home before you know it, and then you can take out all those little knickknacks and decorations you love.
Next, I want you to try to brighten up your home as much as possible. There’s nothing that will make a house more unattractive than walking in and it being incredibly dark. It’s possible for a home to be very dark even with all of the lights on. With a home buyer it’s all about what a home feels like, so if they walk into a home and all of the lights are on, but it’s still incredibly dark in a room, that’s a very bad thing. When a home is bright, and the windows are open a buyer feels it. Their moods are absolutely brighter, their smiles are bigger, and their perceptions of your home is many times better than if the home is dark. It’s very important to find ways to make the home feel as bright as possible. If you have very dark curtains, open them up or even replace them with lighter curtains. If you have a dark paint color in your home, replace it with a much lighter color. (Top real estate agents like me aren’t afraid to get dirty and will absolutely help you paint your house for no additional charge) If you have dark carpet, I would consider replacing it with a much lighter carpet or even a light-colored rug on top of the carpet. I always recommend that when you have showings you open your blinds and curtains to let as much natural light into the home as possible. When you know you have a showing that day it’s also recommended that you leave at least one light on in every room. Now, not all my clients feel comfortable with this, but it’s definitely worth the cost, because we want to create a bright and positive environment for home buyers.
Next, I want you to ask yourself when was the last time this was updated? I want you to ask yourself this question about your kitchen, your bathrooms, and your floors. I also want you to ask yourself this question about your door handles, your electrical outlets and faceplates. These are things that buyers are going to focus on when they're showed your home. They’re going to open up the doors and if the handles are old and outdated, they’ll absolutely be able to tell. They’re going to immediately think about the cost and stress of having to update the home if it’s outdated. If they’re walking through your home and all your faceplates are off colors or discolored, they’re going to notice. If they walk into the kitchen and it’s outdated, then all they’re going to think about is how much it’s going to cost to be updated. Same thing goes for the bathrooms. As a top-rated real estate agent I would say if your kitchens and bathrooms haven’t been updated in the last 20 years, then you need to consider investing a little bit of money to bring them up to modern standards.
Next, I want you to focus on your home’s curb appeal. When a home buyer first walks up to your home, curb appeal is the 1st thing they’re going to see. Typically, when they see your home online the very 1st image they’re going to see is the front of your house, so it’s important that you make a good 1st impression. It’s very hard to positively change a home buyer’s mind when their 1st impression of a home is negative. Think of a time you made a bad 1st impression with someone and how hard it was to change their minds about you. It’s almost impossible to do. When 1st impressions are good, we overlook the negative things, so you can see how your home’s curb appeal is very important. Now, you don’t have to do anything really over the top, a lot of my home sellers here in Lubbock, Texas just need to have their yards mowed, edged and cleaned up. If you have a weed issue, I highly recommend getting your yard sprayed and the same goes for bugs, pay the money to get rid of them. Weeds and bugs create a very bad 1st impression, so it's very important we get rid of them before your home goes on the market.. If you have trees or bushes get them trimmed and cleaned up. Trees and bushes that are well trimmed and cleaned up add tremendous value to a home, so take good care of them. I also recommend getting a fresh coat of paint on your front door. The front door to your home is a major focal point for home buyers, so you want to make sure it’s clean and pleasant to look at.
The next step is to depersonalize your home. When home buyer’s walk through your home they need to be able to envision themselves living in the home. They need to see their TV, their couch and their furniture in this home. When home buyers come in your home, and they see all of your family photos it will absolutely hinder them from being able to envision themselves living in the home. I can’t stress to you enough as a real estate agent how important it is for home buyers to be able to see themselves living in your home. It’s awkward as a home buyer to walk through a stranger’s home and see all the family photos and personalized knickknacks. It feels like your invading someone else’s personal space, which is a very awkward feeling. You don’t want to make potential home buyers feel this way. I know it’s hard, but I want you to take down all the family photos. Box all of the photos up and put them aways until you're in your new home.
My last tip is for you to start interviewing real estate agents. Too often home sellers go with the very 1st real estate agent that they find. I want you to interview multiple real estate agents, ideally 2 to 3 agents before you choose one. Now there’s a couple of areas that I want you to focus on with these real estate agents. I want you to find out what kind of marketing they're going to do for your home listing. Are they taking pictures of your home on their cell phone or are they using a professional photographer? I’ll be honest, unfortunately the majority of the real estate agents out there do not invest anything into their listings. They take all of their pictures on their cell phones and then they upload them to the MLS and that’s it. Now, what top agents like me do is invest money into their home listings. I find that by investing in marketing the homes actually sell for more money and because I get paid off of commission, I actually make more money. Personally, depending on how large a home is I spend between 500 to 1000 dollars. This is paying for things like professional photography, which I do on all of my listings. Make sure that whatever real estate agent you use, they’re investing in marketing to get your home sold. I also want you to focus on communication when selecting a real estate agent. According to the National Association of Realtors the number 1 complaint about real estate agents is a lack of communication. There are some agents that don’t communicate with their clients for weeks or even months. Personally, I call every single client I have, every single week. I also make myself available to my clients at all times and I always make sure they know it. I keep my home seller’s updated anytime there’s a home showing and explain to them what the potential home buyers had to say about the home. A lot of people will say you want to look for an experienced realtor, but I don’t find that to be true. I know plenty of real estate agents that have been doing this for a long time and they’re still bad agents. These agents still don’t communicate well with their clients and they still take pictures with their cell phones.
I love real estate and I love talking to people. If you’re thinking about selling your home or buying a home, please give me a call. Also, if you’re just curious about selling your home or buying a home, I’m always available to help you. Just because you're not buying or selling in the near future doesn't mean that I can't be your real estate agent. My goal is to be your real estate agent and friend for life, which is a commitment that most agents can't commit to. I service Lubbock, Texas and the surrounding areas, but I also have a referral network of real estate agents in every state, so if you’re looking for a home outside of the Lubbock area I can help you find a great agent to work with Call me today - 806-928-4453.