The Best Paid Job Is Prepping Your Home For Sale

Dated: 02/26/2018

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Even in a hot seller's market like today, there are homes that linger on the market. Those owners are the ones who neglected to follow the advice in this blog.

When you are ready to move, making repairs or deep cleaning is the last thing you want to do as you search for a new home, and dream of greener pastures. I mean, why bother since you won't be living there much longer anyway. But if it nets you another $10,000 or more for the hours you put in, that translates to a $300 per hour job - or more! Maybe now is the time to bring in your Realtor and ask him/her to be brutally honest. An outside pair of eyes is useful.

Declutter

You're moving anyway, right? So start packing now. A good rule of thumb is pack up anything you won't be using for the next few months and get it off-site in storage. Stacking boxes in the garage is NOT an option - unless you don't want top dollar. Then strive for packing up every 4 out of 5 things around the house. You only need one beautiful, big accessory per surface and an empty surface is fine, too. You are selling space so get your stuff out of the way. That includes all unnecessary furniture and exercise equipment. Less furniture makes the rooms appear more spacious.

Depersonalize

And while you are packing, focus on removing your personal items - family photos, sports team paraphernalia, religious icons, trophies, certificates, collections, toys, exercise accessories and personal toiletries in the bathrooms - put the things you need daily in a travel bag and plan on putting it in a drawer when you leave the house. Plan on living like you are in a hotel. Your goal is to make it look like no one lives there so buyers will take the time to visualize living there. Overly personalized homes make buyers feel like they are intruding so they will do a quick-see and leave. Or worse! They'll spend all their time looking at your photos trying to guess what the owners are like - instead of looking at the home!

Minor Repairs

Most of the work will be done by you, since the work to be done is so minor that no handyman will bother taking the job. This includes things like fixing that leaky faucet or hose bib you have ignored for so long, as well as, cracked tile, missing weatherstripping, missing outlet cover, holes in walls or doors, missing fence boards, sticky locks, cracked windows, replacing the furnace filter, pull hair out of the drains (plunger or Drain Weasel), make sure all appliances are working. When a buyer sees one thing in neglect, they subconsciously think there are 9 more that they haven't found yet. No one wants to buy a neglected home, so don't give them ANY reason to think it is.

Deep Clean

Your best friend right now will be Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It will get scuff marks off paint, rust and dingy feet stains off showers and tubs, drip stains on siding and rain gutters, hard water off chrome - pretty much anything else that other cleaning products have missed. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. Use steel wool and soapy water to easily remove hard water from your shower doors. You are comfortable with a certain level of your dirt, but buyers will not. And believe me, they will notice things you have come to ignore. If you can't do a deep clean yourself, consider hiring a maid service one time. It will be worth the money. And don't forget the windows. That is another task you can hire out and it will be money well spent.

Carpet

Be honest with yourself. If your carpet is obviously old and a professional cleaning won't restore it to "looking new." Then consider new carpet. New carpet is one of the few big expenses that pays for itself - and more! Buyers tend to ask for a price reduction 3 times the amount of what carpet really costs when asking for a carpet allowance. So you might as well do it when you can control the cost. Even if you "price" it into the asking price and say as much in the listing, you should still expect that dreaded "carpet allowance" concession request. Pick a neutral color and do all the rooms the same.


Paint

If Mr. Clean Magic Eraser didn't restore your walls to original condition, then paint is the other major expense that pays for itself. Even if your paint is in good condition, consider hiring a painter if you have multiple colors in the various rooms. The same neutral color throughout the house will help sell the home faster.

Follow this advice and whatever advice your Realtor offers and you will no regrets because your house will sell quickly and for the highest possible price.

Oh, but you might have one regret. You'll wish you had done this on a regular basis while living there, because your home will look better than it ever has before. Cottonwood Heights

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Michael Barth

Michael Barth is a full-time Associate Broker/Realtor with an extensive knowledge of the communities along the Wasatch Front. As the former owner of Sundays Child and Kona Ice he brings over 20 years ....

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