Selling your home? Go into the process prepared to maximize your outcome. Hopefully you bought low, now’s the time to sell high!

The first two priorities are:

1 Finding the right real estate agent to help with the sale, and

2 Deciding on a marketing plan.

Agent showing plans to a couple

The real estate agent helps with the nuts and bolts of data collection, analysis, valuation, pricing, comparing your property to the inventory currently on the market in your area. Quality service more than pays for itself. Discuss and agree on the rules for showings; for example, only pre-qualified buyers should get appointments to review the home. Open houses are the one time anyone, especially other brokers, should see the residence.

Review the marketing strategy with the agent. Print and electronic media should be used.

First Impressions

3 Clean and groom the front yard.

Make plans to cut the lawn at least weekly including trimming and sweeping the cuttings. A very well groomed yard will appear lower maintenance to a buyer than a slightly neglected landscape. Why? Completed work always looks easy, effortless. When the prospect sees unfinished work, they must picture themselves cutting lawns, sweeping cuttings or adding landscaping. Make a great first impression with curb appeal.

4 Keep the kitchen sparkling clean with a fresh smell

Cleaning the kitchen

The kitchen is often the first room studied by buyers. They will use all five senses to get a feel for the heart of every house. Counters and stove tops must be grease free, have no tackiness to the touch, and truly sparkle. Any odor needs to be positive: no cat litter or dog papers, no two-day old garbage, no fish fry — the right smell can help sell your home. Fix noisy appliances, whether they require balancing or insulation, or a professional repair. The question, “what’s that noise?” is not a buying signal. Radios, stereos and televisions off. Quiet is best.

5 Clean and detail the bathrooms too

Hang towels neatly, keep toilet paper rolls filled. Shine the mirrors, polish the toilet bowl. As with the kitchen, nobody pictures themselves living in someone else’s filth. Spend as much time cleaning these rooms, all the bathrooms, as you have to.

6 Clean all the windows in the house

This job is overlooked by many, but very noticeable when neglected.

7 Do not allow closets, storage areas or laundry rooms to look overcrowded or inadequate

Tidy closet

Move whatever is not mission critical to keeping the house clean out. Clothes closets should be at eighty percent capacity at the most. Move all out of season clothes to storage elsewhere; use the trunk of your car if necessary.

8 Depersonalize your space

Buyers do not want to see your child’s trophies or awards, your collection of nesting dolls, or your room full of KISS memorabilia. They want spacious rooms with minimalist furnishings to prod their imaginations to fill the space with their collections and memories. And, you want to sell them that.

Now that the house is ready…

Okay, you’ve completed the labor only tasks. These eight steps cost very little to accomplish and they go a long way towards prepping your house for sale. Now let’s hope you’ve chosen a professional real estate agent. Walk through the house with the agent. Let them comment on practical improvements you should make in further readying the space. Do you need new cabinetry in the kitchen? What are the costs? What can you expect the difference in sales price to be? Does any room need a coat of paint, whether to clean up the appearance or change a “signature” color back to neutral. Your agent can help with these decisions.

Remember, you and your agent are collaborating to achieve the best terms of sale. They are not trying to get you to spend money foolishly. Small improvements can bring back great rewards in price. Buyers pay for move-in conditions. They also discount heavily for undesirable or unlivable conditions.

Selling a retail house is easier than negotiating for a flip house. When you’re selling a worn home, buyers know they must wait to move while they’re fixing the place up. Professional flippers are building in an immediate profit. Listen to your agent and give them the best possible product to sell. Your bottom line will improve.

Besides, remember that pride factor buyers like to see? It feels pretty good to know you improved your home and left it better than you found it.

Ready to sell? Contact one of our real estate agents for help, or get a look at homes on the market with our real estate listings.