Prepare your house to sell before you list it

 Before booking your market evaluation appointment to discuss listing strategy, here are a few things you can do to prepare for a speedy sale.  It is your Realtor's job to sell your home but you, the homeowner,have to do your part too.  Some of these thngs may seem so minimal but they will go a long way.

Handle Repairs - Take care of easily fixed repairs that may be potential red flags for buyers. Common quick fixes include repairing drywall, repainting walls and oiling hinges.  Remember, once a buyer sees a problem that will start the "Dominoes Effect" causing them to start searching and nitpicking for problems that may not be there.  Keep a list of any repairs or improvements you have done.  If you had them professionally done keep the receipts to show the buyer.  Let them know that you take pride in keeping your home in top shape.

Check Curb Appeal - Plant colorful landscaping along sidewalks and in containers, and remove any debris or clutter from around your home. Many buyers will preview a home from the outside before deciding whether or not to schedule a showing.  One of the very first things I was taught in Real Estate School is most buyers have already developed an opinion of the house before they even get out of the car.  In fact I have had several occasions where we have pulled up to a house and the buyer said they didn't want to see it.  First impressions are very important.

Declutter - Take this opportunity to get rid of those seldom used items that are cluttering up your home. Remember, it costs to move them so now is the time to let them go!  Rooms with fewer items in them appear bigger and show better.  The "Hoarder Look" is a huge turn off to buyers.  Get rid of what you don't use and make sure what you keep is placed neatly and out of the way.  You want the buyer to picture their belongings in the home not view your belongings.

Start Packing - Store out-of-season clothing, sports gear and small appliances you know you won't need before the move. Too much stuff crammed into cupboards and closets will make your home seem small.  In cases like this less is better.

Downsize Furniture - Consider removing extra or large pieces of furniture that make your home look smaller.  Gigantic entertainment centers and oversized couches make you appear to have an undersized living room.  You may want to stage specific rooms to highlight potential uses for the space.  If you have large furniture that you don't want to part with you might want to consider renting a storage unit for a couple months. 

Depersonalize - This is the most difficult thing for Realtors to get across to sellers but also one of the most important things to prepare your house to sell.  You do not want the buyer to feel like they are a guest in your home.  You want them to picture it as their home.  Tuck away family photos, collectibles and any other personal items.  You might be very proud of the picture your 3 year old Grandson colored for you but the buyer doesn't need to see it.  Almost everyone has a note pad or dry erase board on their refrigerator with a grocery list started.  Take it down.  The buyer doesn't need to see you are almost out of green beans.  It's important to make your home a "blank canvas" for potential buyers to imagine themselves in.

Gather Important Documents - Get documents such as Survey, Elevation Certificate, HOA Documents if you're in an HOA, Copy of your Homeowner's Insurance Policy, Utility Bills for the 12 months (Your Utility Companies will give you a print out).  When the Buyer goes to secure Insurance their Insurance Company will require a Survey and Elevation Certificate.  If you have it for them that will prevent possible delays in closing as Surveyors move at their own schedule.  It will also save the Buyer about $1,000 which you can use as a selling point.  Also providing the Buyer with a copy of your Insurance Policy may cause them to continue with your Insurer which could speed up the closing.  If you are in a Homeowner's Association, HOA, the Buyer will most likely want to review the HOA Rules and Regulations.  Better to give them to the Buyer now than find out a week before closing the Buyer has a 150 pound Dog and your HA limits Dogs to 30 pounds.  Most buyers don't buy a house saying they want to spend $500,000 on the purchase.  They base the purchase on how much money they are going to have to come up with each month to own the home.  Utilities are part of the monthly cost of living in the home.  Show them exactly what you pay.  Having all these documents not only makes the transaction easier but it makes you unique and stand out above other homes for sale.

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