sellers, curb your enthusiasm
PREPARE TO PREPARE YOUR HOME
You've decided its time to sell your Washington home. The market is ripe for the picking and you're ready to get this started. But first you have a list of 50 things to get the house ready. Landscape the yard, put in vinyl windows, paint the whole interior, scrape off the popcorn ceilings.... Woah! Let me stop you right there. Yes, these are actual things I've heard. Some are good, some are in no way needed. Just because you think the work may be needed doesn't make it so. Many variables play in what makes upgrades or repairs worth performing prior to going on the market. Your agent will typically know best, but here are some pointers.
PUT A PIN IN THE
Do you have an undeniable desire to put that new roof on or replace all the old aluminum windows? Well just hold up there buddy. Most projects of great magnitude that do not constitute an actual defect in the home are probably best to wait for the inspector's opinion on. Now, if the roof is failing and there is a big blue tarp that can be seen from outer space on it, then yeah, fix it if you can. But if it just seems old and you're not sure, fixing it will probably not bring that much revenue back into the proceeds from the sale. Better to wait for a professional opinion.
The Market: Is the market hot? Are you in an area where people are clamoring over each other to get that beautiful old craftsman? A hot market can make your life a little easier. Buyers may be more likely to accept a home with crazy trees painted on the walls due to late night artistic inspirations. Or they may not mind if your cat has demolished every window screen in the house. But just the opposite can be true as well. In a cooler market you may need to look closer at those artistic trees and consider painting the rooms a nice neutral color. Replacing the ragged screens may be a necessary step as well.
ITS THE LITTLE
Think of all the little things around the home that make it yours. The nic nacs, the family pictures, those crazy sculptures that Aunt Marguerite bought you.... Now get rid of them. Joking. Okay, while you may have been looking for an excuse to rid the world of those sculptures, a big suggestion is to declutter and depersonalize your home. I'm not saying to strip it down to just the basics, but keep it simple and general enough that anybody will be able to visualize themselves within it. A general rule for decluttering is only three things per surface at the most. Decluttering will surprise you. You'll find your home to be much more spacious, hey you could fit a lot of nic nacs in here. Depersonalizing helps buyers avoid that weird feeling of trespassing in someone's home. Put away photos or anything that probably speaks just to you. Then buyers won't feel awkward or intrusive, their imagination will be allowed to explore the space freely.
Clean Like The Sale Depends On It: Because it just might. I feel like this shouldn't even need to be said, but make it sparkly. Get that house so clean inside and out that you'll consider buying it again. Steam clean the carpets, mop the hardwoods, wipe down the light fixtures, and for heaven's sake, replace the burnt out bulbs. Don't just limit cleaning to the interior. Wash the windows on the outside, clean the mailbox, throw away that scraggly old door mat and invest in a new shiny one that says "Welcome". Trust me, buyers will feel welcome.
Keep in mind these are just suggestions and probably only scratch the surface in some cases. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or need more detail.
PULL THE WEEDS
SPREAD THE BARK
Its amazing how just a little bark and some elbow grease can make a yard look presentable. If you're already the owner of a beautiful landscape then there is no worry, but if the yard is a little worse for wear you may need to touch it up. No need for a huge overhaul, landscaping is one of the easiest ways to throw money away on preparing your house for the market. Think simple: Pull weeds in beds, mow and edge the lawn, trim hedges (especially if they're close to the home), and spread fresh bark. You're not trying to fool anyone here, you're just trying to touch it up for photos and tours.