Selling your property is one of the biggest decisions around your personal equity you will make in your lifetime. Despite the weight of the decision, people generally spend more time getting their car ready for sale than their home or land. This lack of preparation causes homes to sit on the market far longer than they should and sell for lower prices.
While finding a competent broker is important to get your listing presented properly, making it visually pleasing is what actually gets potential buyers to pull the trigger. Your broker would much rather focus on how to market your home than try to defend the price while explaining why the fences are broken or the lights won’t turn on.
Before you pick up the phone to call a broker, you should take note of these five essential pre-sale fixes you can make to increase your home’s potential.
1. Fix Your Fences
Fences don’t last forever, and a broken down fence is a clear indicator of deferred maintenance. A good fence does not automatically add additional value to your property (after all, if your property has a fence--it should be a good fence), but a bad fence will most definitely de-value your property and could be point for negotiation or a lower offer.
A broken fence also has a negative connotation in regard to your property’s safety. If the fence is broken, buyers may unconsciously feel less secure about themselves or their ability to contain animals.
2. Paint, Oil, or Stain Your Exterior
Adding a fresh coat of paint, oil, or stain to the outside of your home gives it an instant facelift. It not only stands out more in pictures when potential buyers are scrolling through online listings, but it also gives them a great first impression in person. The exterior of your home is the first thing people see before they go inside so it’s important to set the stage for the rest of the showing.
Log homes with sun-bleached, dried out logs, or facia with peeling paint causes a buyer to wonder about the cost of upkeep & maintenance and factor that into their decision to buy. A log home should be oiled regularly and signs of neglect by the current owner creates doubt and uncertainty in a buyer. An investment in your home’s exterior will likely be a key factor in getting the most money out of your home.
Clutter in your home or around your property distracts from key elements in photos, videos and tours. I’m not talking about your personal items or things you use regularly, but rather items that are no longer needed or lying around in disrepair.
Interior clutter makes your home look smaller and buyers will question if it’s large enough for their items. Clear your refrigerator doors and kitchen counters of unnecessary clutter. Bathroom counters should be cleared of clutter as well. Kitchens and bathrooms should be neat and orderly in order to project their functionality.
If you have outgrown your home or have “collected” a lot of clutter (inside or out), it would be a good idea to de-clutter prior to listing your home for sale. Having a yard sale or making a few trips to the dump before you list will assist with the appeal and ultimately the sale of your property. Waiting until you start packing to get rid of unwanted items could ultimately block the sale of your home or contribute to lower offers. If there are items you just can’t bear to live without, consider renting a storage unit for things you don’t need everyday.
4. Replace Burned Out Lightbulbs
Replacing burned out lightbulbs is one of the cheapest ways to elevate the interior of your home. Imagine if a buyer walks into a room, flips the light switch, and it doesn’t turn on. That’s a strike against the home. Sure, it would be just as easy for the buyer to replace, but they’re already investing in the property… chances are, they want to mitigate additional costs.
Burned out bulbs are also going to be immortalized in the photos, videos and virtual tours that buyers use to weigh your home against others. Don’t let an easy fix stand in the way of your property shining bright against the competition.
5. Pay for a Home Inspection
Getting a home inspection prior to listing will help you identify any major or minor problems and eliminate surprises or renegotiations in the middle of a sale. It also shows buyers that you are aware of any problems and have already made considerations for them in your listing price.
Let’s face it--no home is perfect. Revealing and dealing with your home’s issues prior to listing is the best way to get in front of potential stumbling blocks. Waiting for a buyer’s inspection objection report to address problems and renegotiate a contract often spells doom for a successful sale. Sellers often become defensive when a buyer raises objections after a home inspection. Knowing your home’s faults in advance is the best way to be proactive and keep a contract on track to closing.
Eliminating buyer objections is the best way to get in front of problems. An inspection report may reveal 50 items that need to be addressed with your home. 45 of those items might be able to be fixed or repaired easily by you--eliminating future objections. If an item proves to be more money to fix than you have an interest in spending, offering a buyer concessions or allowances in the listing gets you in front of the problem and increases your chances of getting a better offer—leading to a successful sale!
Home Repair Resources
While some fixes to your home are easy to do yourself, others require a professional. When you have any questions about what repairs you should make, your broker is a great resource to point you in the right direction.
If you’re considering listing your property in Western Colorado, send me an email. I can connect you with home repair specialists in your area to help get your home ready to sell.