Prepping Your Home for Sale
Prepping your home for sale can be a big project and overwhelming. The Red Baron of Real Estate recommends it be spread over 30 days to reduce stress and eliminate any last minute surprise AND expesnses.
When prepping your home for sale you want to stand back and look at your house with a “buyer’s eye view.” Yes, you are proud of your home and it is perfect. But wait, not so fast.
Little things do matter. I was showing a house with my buyers and we were in the master bathroom when all of a sudden the toilet valve kicked in and began topping off the toilet. The wife asked, “what is that?” I told them that obviously, the “flapper” in the tank needed to be replaced. As she stood there staring I added, “Replace the $3.00 flapper and knock 2% off their monthly water bill!” We all laughed and moved on. But, why should a seller take that chance?
So, let’s start prepping your home over 30 days!
Day 1: Check and Change Light Bulbs. I rarely do a pre-listing walk-thru that at least one bulb is burned out. It is easy to miss and easy to fix. When it is time to begin showings, bright home is a right home. Dated light fixtures are also an easy fix and can be done economically. IKEA is a good source and we have one right in the middle of Hillsborough County!
Day 2: Love the paperwork: Buyers often will have questions revolving around costs to maintain the house. Utility bills are the most popular question. The buyer’s agent will also want to know about your survey. So, you bought your house 7 years ago and “I know we have that survey somewhere!” It is not the responsibility of the seller to provide the survey, but it is a nice gesture to save the buyer some money by providing yours.
Recently a Red Baron Real Estate client had been through a host of renovations of their house over the last five years. The house presented itself well and had an executed contract within 3 days of going on the market. When it came time for the appraisal, the appraiser was asking for dates and costs of all of the renovations. The seller had everything … roof replacement, kitchen cabinets, flooring, they have everything. What was a borderline offer for meeting appraisal was justified and the seller got top dollar for their diligence.
Day 3: The key is the keys: This is a good day for a quick and easy, but important, task. This minor detail will save big time for the seller when the lockbox is ready to install.
Day 4: Don’t Get Boxed In Without Enough Boxes: If you are packing and moving without a mover, spend the money for the proper packing supplies. Everything fits better in the truck rental (Uhaul) with consistently sized boxes. The grocery store packing box for coffee is not going to align so well with the beans box. You can find everything you need close by at Home Depot.
Day 5: Sell Your Kitchen and You Will Sell Your House: The two most important rooms in the house for making the sale happen are the kitchen and the master bath. As is decluttering the rest of the house, the kitchen is a must. Your selling your house so here is a good place to take the boxes you bought and start packing. Can you live for a short period without that toaster over? Of course, you can so it is time to box it. You can make those countertops look like a nice clear Reb Baron runway. With the extra space, you can now stage the kitchen with a nice cooker jar and glass pasta jar if you have one you were putting out for the garage sale.
Day 5: Tackle the bathrooms. Remove all the toiletries you have on display (nobody wants to know you use Head & Shoulders). Invest in some new white towels (and no, you don’t get to use them). Visit Winners or Homesense for affordable accessories: soap dish, toothbrush holder, etc. If your toilet seat, shower curtain or bath matt are gross (be honest with yourself), replace them. Consider replacing the toilet paper holder and towel rack/hooks too.
Day 6: Spruce up the kitchen. The kitchen is one of the rooms Buyers are most attracted to so if you’re looking to skip a room, this shouldn’t be it. Remove your blender/George Foreman Grill/Kitchen Aid mixer/toaster/bread machine from the counters – you want the counters to be as clear as possible. Clean inside all the cupboards (and yes, I mean remove everything and wipe them out). Don’t cram all your dishes and food back in – again, you want to convey to Buyers that your kitchen has enough storage for the Buyer’s stuff. Clean inside the fridge (and remove the magnets, photos, and reminders). Turn on your self-cleaning oven (probably for the first time). Store your booze collection (and take out the empties). Consider investing in some fresh flowers and a beautiful bowl with some fresh fruit in it.