Congratulations, you have made the decision to sell your home (or, you are considering selling your home, which is still a big step!). With most big events in life, preparation is key. Doing a little work before your house goes on the market will pay big dividends. The first step is to give your house an objective onceover.
Walk around the exterior and note everything that needs to be done to make the house look its best. Pay particular attention to the curb appeal of your house. Remember, before buyers see the inside of your house, they will see a picture of the exterior. The exterior should be as polished as possible. Check for peeling paint, rotted wood, overgrown bushes and dead grass and plants.
Do the same walk through inside the house. Once you have completed your review and prepared your list, prioritize the projects. Taking care of all deferred maintenance items is generally a “must do” (plumbing leaks, improperly working outlets or light fixtures, sticky doors, servicing heating and air conditioning units and any other items that if left unattended may give a buyer a negative impression). The decision to do further repairs or upgrades will be influenced by market conditions. Does it make sense to remove dated wallpaper and paint in a fresh modern color, upgrade the laminate countertops with granite, swap out appliances for stainless steel or remove the wood paneling in the basement? Generally, aesthetic upgrades have more “bang for the buck” than non-cosmetic upgrades, but functional upgrades (for example, replacing an aged hot water heater or HVAC system) may also be advisable. Understanding the market and how your house fits into it is essential to making informed decisions regarding pre-market improvements.
In order to best prepare your home for sale, try to look at your house through the eyes of your potential buyers. Although you have many memories in your home, try to step back see the house as a product to be sold. This will help you detach emotionally and prepare yourself for the work you will need to do in order to get the house ready to go on the market.