Sellers Are Getting Their Homes Ready To Sell

Spring is here and summer will be here shortly. Time to get the house on the market. In the Columbia SC are our market is moving but not as fast as perhaps in other parts of the country. Every market is different. I meet with sellers and walk through their home and around the outside making sure the house is ready to put on the market. I encourage sellers to do the same. The worst you can so is not have the home ready from day one for showings. Every showing/buyer counts. You can only make a FIRST IMPRESSION ONCE!

Go from room to room and open closets and look at it from the buyer’s point of view. Would you buy your house again the way it looks today? When you decide to list and sell you need to change into a buyer’s mode and not try to hang onto things you don’t use, you can rent a storage unit if you don’t want to part with things, but less is more. If you house looks more spacious the buyer can see more of themselves when they walk through your house. Move-in ready homes sell quicker for a better price.

Your house needs to sparkle. Paint rooms that need to have a fresh coat of paint. Buyers really like a house that is in move-in condition. I say they like to close, move in, unpack and entertain friends. Clean the windows. They need to open (if sold and a home inspector finds that they do not open then you need to hire someone to open them). Have the carpets cleaned by a professional.
Remove all clutter and personal items. This is a good time to have a garage sale or donate items you do not use and wear. You may not want to pay a mover to move them for a cost.

Kitchens and baths especially need to be free of clutter, smell clean and sparkle. No dishes in the sink, please. If needed update the faucets, lights and ceiling fans. Those are minor upgrades and make your house look so much nicer and a little updated. Make sure all lights are on for showings. No burned out bulbs. It looks more inviting to a buyer.

Keep in mind a buyer may open cabinets so organize everything so it looks spacious and clean. Straighten out pantries and closets.

Fresh flowers are always a nice touch on the kitchen table or dining room. I also recommend to add some blooming plants by your front door in a nice pot to attract a drive by buyer. Curb appeal matters. I hear this all the time “If they take care of the outside I know they take care of the inside” when I am out showing. 

Buyers may not even stay in your house to look if your house:

  • Looks dated, dark interior
  • Overpriced for the market
  • Smells (cigarette or cigar smoke is a big turn off, pet smells, not maintained smells)
  • Cluttered
  • Needs repairs

Recently a buyer insisted the house we looked at smelled of sewer. He did not buy it. He bought a new home. You will send the buyers to look for a new home is there is too much work or any of the above. Buyers want a well maintained home. Ready to Occupy.

Open blinds to allow for natural light in. Buyers like light and airy rooms. Don’t panic if you get a call for a showing and you did not straighten out your house before you went to work and sent the children off to school. An experienced agent will explain that you gave no notice to show and if it is not a total disaster and you should always be prepared someone comes to show in summertime with short notice.

Once you have gone through your home room by room and fixed small things that needed to be fixed or replaced, painted and whatever needed to be done to update and make look inviting walk around the exterior of your home. Don’t forget the attic and garage. They too need to be thinned out and organized. Buyers look at the house and say to themselves
“How can they move all this in 4 weeks” so keep that mind. Some closings will be in 4 weeks others give you 6 weeks. Be prepared to move once you put your house on the market. Have a plan.

I often find that the brick mold by doors and the garage needs to be repaired and painted. If you need any exterior painting please have it done before you put the house on the market.  I also find sometimes windows where the seal is broken and that glass needs to be replaced. If you do it ahead of time you know how to get your price negotiated.

Plant flowers in your planters, paint or stain the deck and repair boards if needed. Power wash the exterior of needed. Have all the bushes trimmed and larger trees that need to be trimmed taken care of. If you still have leaves from lasts fall make sure they are all removed. I find that that is a perfect place for snakes to nest and breed. Get rid of them in fall as you are supposed to. If you do not like yard work, there are many services around that love to do your yard work for a reasonable price. You want your house to be ready for the new buyer with as little work to be done as possible. Remove dead bushes and tree branches.

If you have a pool make it sparkle. Clean it or have your service clean it and have it ready to jump into. There will be a pool inspection so make sure everything is working properly.

If you do not have a Termite Bond let your REALTOR® recommend a Termite Company to pre- inspect your home if it has termite damage. If not then you do not have to have the property treated, if you do then you need to have everything repaired and the house treated and you have a bond to transfer to the buyers at closing and no worries for the buyer. By the way there are Realtors® that are members of the local and National Association of Realtors® and there are sales agents. There is a difference. Only Members of the local and national board can call themselves Realtors®. Not every Realtor® is created equal. There is a difference.

Some seller even like to do a home inspection and have items fixed that need to be and that can speed up a closing. Some sellers do a HVAC inspection to be sure everything is in working order. It depends on the situation and home.

If you are ready inside and out you are ready to put a For Sale Sign in your yard. You may get showings from day 1 has been my experience.  Some homes have sold within 10 days or 45 days. There are qualified buyers looking to buy. There are investors looking to buy. But investors do not want to pay market price for a house. That is where you decide how much you do to get your home market ready to sell. Investors look to “steal” a home and update it and make money. So you do not get market value. It is like with a car if you kept it clean and maintained you get more when you trade it in. A house needs maintenance, an ongoing process and if you did not do it you have 2 choices to fix and update or sell for less to an investor.

I am available if you have questions or like a Market Analysis.

By: Rosemarie Averhoff, CRS®, Broker Associate®

       RE/MAX Metro Associates