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Homeowner Pre-Listing Activities

Before Listing your home for sale, I recommend you have a pre-sale home inspection. A $300-$400 investment on the front-end of the process can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars if these same items would be later highlighted through the buyer’s inspection process. As the seller, it would greatly benefit YOU to catch any major issues and address these before they becomes a potential “sticking point” with a buyer. Identifying and addressing these issues before a buyer’s inspector identifies them will cost you less money to address on the front-end. Once their home inspector identifies issues in the post-offer phase, the buyer has several options; They may walk away from the contract, they may try to renegotiate a new purchase price, they may attempt to squeeze further concessions from you, or you agree to repair/replace the items on the inspection report which will now cost YOU more because you are now required to hire licensed trade personnel to fix the issues identified in home inspection report. (Had these items been repaired prior to the buyer’s home inspection, you could have repaired them yourself or with a handyman). Of course, all home inspectors have their own biases, preferences and styles and the buyer’s inspector may still identify other issues that your pre-sale inspection missed. However, you will have less stress and peace-of-mind knowing some of the more obvious issues have been repaired.

Before you List your home for sale – Pre-Sale Inspection:

Before Listing your home for sale, I recommend you have a pre-sale home inspection. A $300-$400 investment on the front-end of the process can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars if these same items would be later highlighted through the buyer’s inspection process. As the seller, it would greatly benefit YOU to catch any major issues and address these before they becomes a potential “sticking point” with a buyer. Identifying and addressing these issues before a buyer’s inspector identifies them will cost you less money to address on the front-end. Once their home inspector identifies issues in the post-offer phase, the buyer has several options; They may walk away from the contract, they may try to renegotiate a new purchase price, they may attempt to squeeze further concessions from you, or you agree to repair/replace the items on the inspection report which will now cost YOU more because you are now required to hire licensed trade personnel to fix the issues identified in home inspection report. (Had these items been repaired prior to the buyer’s home inspection, you could have repaired them yourself or with a handyman). Of course, all home inspectors have their own biases, preferences and styles and the buyer’s inspector may still identify other issues that your pre-sale inspection missed. However, you will have less stress and peace-of-mind knowing some of the more obvious issues have been repaired.

Preparing your home so it’s more attractive to buyers:

When presenting your home to prospective buyers, first impressions are crucial. Buyers have been judging your home the moment they saw it (keep in mind that 93% of the people viewed pictures and information about your home on the internet, well before they even took a step onto your property). The actual in-person home preview is an opportunity to provide the “wow factor” and solidify that first impression. It is critical that you switch your mindset from being the home owner to that of a home buyer. The reality is that you probably have become “immune” to the condition of your house, it is familiar and comfortable to you and you likely overlook items of concern that others will notice. As you switch your mindset, some of this may cause you to feel uncomfortable and possibly anxious. You may find that you are asking yourself, “Why do I want to fix this now”? “Why would I invest any money for these repairs/updates if I don’t get to reap the benefits”? The reality is the investments you make on the front end will provide you with a return in multiples on your pre-sale repair/cleaning investment.
At this point, you’ve already made the decision to sell. The bottom line is…. Do you want to receive top dollar or multiple offers on your home? Do you want potential buyers to quickly fall in love with your home? Do you want to sell your home quickly? You need to recognize that it is no longer about what you prefer in this house, but what buyers prefer. Unless the buyer is an investor who plans rehab your home and flip it, the vast majority of buyers want a home that is well-maintained (inside and outside), clean and clutter free with a delightfully fresh smell.
Home buyers want to know that the house they are buying has been well maintained and cared for. You want to give the impression that you have been meticulous in the ongoing care and regular maintenance of your home. Ultimately, when you have a home buyer previewing your home, you want to create an environment that evokes wonderful memories, positive feelings and great emotions as they envision their new lives as they live in that home.

Below are some tips that can help you get Top Dollar offers on your home:

Inside Items:

  • When de-cluttering your home, consider putting the items in an off-site storage unit. This includes thoroughly de-cluttering all closets, cabinets, and under the sinks.
  • Remove family photographs – It’s critical that you depersonalize your home.
  • Paint walls, floorboards and windowsills where appropriate.
  • Thoroughly clean all windows (inside and out). If you have broken window panes or windows with broken seals, consider repairing/replacing them.
  • Thoroughly clean all floors, sinks, toilets, showers/tubs, and mirrors. Apply caulk where necessary.
  • Carpets, draperies and furniture should be clean and spotless. Consider replacing any carpets that are stained or worn out from foot traffic.
  • Clean all grout and replace any grout that is missing.
  • Ensure all appliances (refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, washer/dryer are sparkling clean.
  • Replace HVAC air filters and clean all dust and obstructions from the vents.
  • Ensure all lightbulbs and light fixtures are in good working order.
  • Bring in the light! Ensure there is plenty of light. Open drapery or make sure each room has a nice lamp to brighten up the space.
  • Ensure all electrical switches are working properly.
  • Replace old and outdated ceiling fans.
  • Check ALL toilets, sinks, showers, & faucets for leaks. Repair as necessary.
  • Organize your clothes in the closets. If possible, utilize a consistent type and color of garment hanger. Hang clothes neatly on the bars and neatly arrange shoes. Neatly fold towels and blankets in the closets.
  • If you have an older style thermostat, consider replacing it with one that is programmable.
  • Smell is the most direct of all senses and the potency of smell triggers powerful and emotionally charged memories. Therefore, after all of the cleaning, painting and sprucing up, pay particular attention to the home smell? Does it smell pleasant? Is this a fresh smell? Would others find this pleasing? Consider placing diffusers or air fresheners with pleasant and mild scents around your home.
  • Sounds also evoke emotionally charged memories. Immediately prior to leaving your home when you have home buyers previewing your home, turn on some soft music. You want to appeal to their senses by creating an inviting and welcoming atmosphere.

Outside Items:

  • Ensure the most desirable and inviting curb appeal.
  • Keep front entryway super clean and freshly painted.
  • Create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere with new plants and flowers around the entryway, patio or entertaining areas.
  • Trim bushes, remove dead branches from trees, and mow lawn regularly. Edge the lawn around the sidewalks, driveway and porch entry to ensure straight and clean lines
  • Replace old and dying bushes. Fill in bare spots in the lawn with dirt and a cover of grass seed.
  • If you have underground sprinklers, ensure they are all in working order.
  • Remove weeds and debris from the plant and flower beds. Apply a new layer of mulch.
  • Remove clutter and other junky items from your yard.
  • Front porch lights clean and in working order.
  • Paint/touch-up areas that need to be repainted.
  • Clean out garage – put unnecessary items in storage unit. You can make a great first impression with a fresh coat of paint on the garage floor. If the garage items aren’t absolutely necessary, move them to the storage unit with your other household items.
  • Clean off the garage shelves.
  • If you have a back porch/entertaining area that is dirty or has mold growing on it, have it cleaned with a power washer.