When it comes to readying your home for sale, think about three things: clean, clutter and color, says Amber Anderson, broker associate at Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, La Jolla CA.
Here are five things you can do to get a leg up on the competition this spring.
1. Spring-clean your home. Take the time to do a deep cleaning on your home. Clean your windows. Consider a fresh coat of paint. Clean the grout in your ceramic tile. Consider whether your carpets need cleaning. “When you walk into a nice hotel room, everything is nice and sparkly clean. You want the same thing for your house,” Amber says.
Even small things can make a difference. Make sure the furnace filter is clean. If it is dirty, potential buyers will wonder how you have taken care of other mechanicals in your house.
Cleaning also means sprucing up your landscaping, which includes flower beds and bushes. People wait until the last minute to prepare the outside, and sometimes it just doesn’t get done.
The earlier you can have a professional landscaper come in to do a spring cleanup, the better. If the weather will tolerate it, put some more plantings in. Why not get a fresh look and fill out a flower bed? It can take some time to for those to set and mature, so the sooner the better. A good professional spring cleanup could be $400 to $500, but is probably the best return dollar-for-dollar. It will get people to go into the house, and it makes people think you cared about the house.
Also take a look at your house from the street. What do you notice? Have your shutters faded over time? Does your front door need a fresh coat of paint? How does your mailbox look? Ask yourself: Can I do something simple to make it look like I take pride and ownership in my property?
Consider your backyard as well. Curb appeal means the back, not just the front. Have your decks power-washed, or painted or stained. Consider getting a plastic shed for rubbish barrels. Have a clean, neat place to store rubbish barrels.
2. Clear the clutter. It’s time to get out the packing boxes. If you are serious about moving, start packing now. Think about getting a small storage locker. Lighten up the house. If the living room has too much furniture, it doesn’t look usable.
With spring just around the corner, consider packing away your winter clothes, so the closets appear more spacious. “People want to go into a property and see that there is ample room for their things,” Amber says.
3. Use color themes. It’s OK to be a little bold with color, but make sure everything matches. It used to be that everything had to be neutral colors — beige or white. Now, people are bringing color into their homes. But make sure that everything goes together.
Does your bedspread match the room color? If not, buy an inexpensive bedspread that will coordinate. The same goes for throw pillows on your couch. Use small, inexpensive items to pull color themes together to create an appealing appearance.
4. Consider getting a home inspection. Typically, many homebuyers get a home inspection before completing the purchase of a home. Why not find out ahead of time which items the home inspector will report need attention?
The key is to be proactive. Maybe there is a small drip in the faucet or there aren’t electrical ground-fault circuit interrupters where they are supposed to be, near water. These can be a small fix, and it creates a less-hassled transaction.
“We are seeing transactions fall through because of issues over home inspections. Then the house has to go back on the market, and everyone is disappointed,” Amber says.
5. Don’t hike up the sale price. Real estate experts advise being realistic when it comes to your selling price. It needs to be competitive.
“Buyers are looking for the best value. Research often tells us that if you price your home close to what it will sell for, it will sell faster and actually for more money that if you price it too high to begin with,” Amber says.
Pricing a home too high can eliminate some potential buyers from even viewing your house, and that could mean your house sits on the market longer. If eventually you decide to do a price reduction, buyers may wonder what is wrong with the home.