Selling a home is a major life event. Whether its spurred by a need to upgrade, downsize, or relocate to another city, packing up your life and passing on your house to another family is a big change. As big changes go, prepping your home for the market is among the most stressful and difficult
transitions for someone to make. In preparing your home for a potential sale, there are two main points of emphasis to consider: first, making the necessary repairs and upgrades in preparation for a home inspection and second, highlighting up your home’s existing features in order to better attract potential buyers.
Getting Your Home Ready to Sell
Depending on how soon you’d like to place your home on the market, there may be time to complete some essential home improvement projects that will give you a great ROI during final negotiations.
You don’t need to break the bank on a new kitchen or master bathroom remodel just to garner a higher asking price. Instead, consider these low-cost, high-return remodel projects that may serve as the tipping point when you begin showing off your home.
#1: Entryway Improvements
Anything you can do to make your home more welcoming in the eyes of guests will go a long way to improving a person’s first impression. Whether it’s an overhaul of your home’s street-facing profile or reworking your foyer, the potential for huge impact in the minds of potential buyers is very high. A little masonry work on the front step, a new coat of paint for the front door, or adding more features to your home’s functionality with a tasteful, seasonal storage nook are all possibilities in this department. Just remember: your home’s approach will be the first thing potential buyers see. Whether they decide to stop or keep on driving is entirely dependent on how much work you put in.
#2: Roof and Windows
No one wants to inherent someone else’s neglected project. If your home’s roof is approaching 10 years old (or is older), it’s a good idea to replace or repair it before putting it on the market. Other crucial structural features such as your windows, doors, and insulation should also be top priorities for upgrades, as buyers are actively seeking energy-efficient homes above most other features at the moment.
#3: Fresh Paint and Landscaping
A fresh coat of paint or upgraded siding does wonders to a home’s exterior and initial impression, but the structural upgrades that come with a new coat of paint should be enough to close the deal. Because paint locks out moisture and protects your home’s construction materials, a freshly-painted home demonstrates a well-kept property in the eyes of buyers.
But concentrating solely on your home itself isn’t a wise move. Because selling a home is largely about presentation, there’s no better way to highlight the strengths of your home (and perhaps even mask some shortcomings) than with a reimagined landscape design. While bringing in a professional may cost a pretty penny compared to a few hard weeks of DIY labor, it’s important to consider how your home will be presented on the marketplace. More buyers than ever are using the Internet to find and research potential homes, so ensuring every detail of your home’s visual profile receives equal attention should be at the front of your mind.
Attracting Potential Buyers
Once you’ve upped your home’s on-paper features, the difficult part comes into play. Especially if you’re in a competitive real estate market like San Francisco, Seattle, or Austin, the stakes are high and asking prices are higher. A recent report cites the number of properties in the Emerald City worth $1 million has more than tripled in the last four years and prices are expected to rise as employment opportunities in major West Coast cities continue to expand.
So, homeowners: you’ve got some work to do.
Anyone familiar with the concept of home staging knows the influx of assorted rugs, plants, and trinkets that come with making your home more presentable to buyers. While those aspects may be important for online listings and marketing materials at your realtor’s office, it’s nothing compared to the work you’ll need to do indoors.
Because current occupants often overlook or have so-called “blinders” that prevent them from seeing otherwise unsightly or distracting elements that could put off attentive buyers, it’s important to bring in a trusted friend or real estate expert to work room-by-room to make necessary changes. Decluttering is huge, as its important to allow the home to breathe and be airy in order to allow the buyer to imagine themselves living there.
Furthermore, it’s important to de-personalize your home. Replace your photographs, personal artwork, or certificates and diplomas with neutral artwork so a visitor can better imagine themselves occupying the home.
According to a report by Realtor.org, 90% of home buyers searched for properties in their area during the home buying process. More notably, perhaps, the number of real estate-related searched on Google have grown more than 250% over the last four years. This means one thing for sellers in 2016: if you’re not marketing your home using tools like Facebook, HomeFinder, and Zillow, your home’s exposure – and potential final sale price – will be significantly lower compared to the competition.
Even if you choose to sell your home online, you should hire a professional real estate writer and a photographer to best present your home to buyers.
#3: Think Outside the Box
If you’ve ever been house hunting, you know the experience of finding a dozen ho-hum properties before coming across one that really sticks out in your mind. More often than not, having a novelty feature or signature element of your home could serve as the tipping point when buyers are considering two or more properties. Whether it’s an integrated home theater room, an outdoor kitchen, or an attached greenhouse, investing in a “wow” feature may not always provide a full ROI, but your home will certainly be the topic of conversation for every potential buyer.