Summer will be here before you know it, and if you’re planning to get your house ready to be sold during the upcoming warmer months, John Vesco, Broker Owner of RE/MAX Homestead in Havelock, and Eric Thompson, Owner and Resident Real Estate Specialist of Thompson Homes Real Estate Group in New Bern offer suggestions to prepare your home for showings that will cost less money, reduce headaches and hopefully lead to quick closings. Spring and summer are traditionally great times to sell your home because warmer temperatures make people active, and there is also the advantage of being able to move during the summer and have your children in a newer school in the fall:
1. Seller’s mindset has to change
You are selling a product, Vesco says. And buyers have a wish list, not a to-do list. Curb appeal – cutting the grass, painting the front door, and power washing the house may make a difference in how much you get for the house, but the Devil is in the details. You can prep the house and make it pretty, but you need to focus on maintenance and keep an eye out for things like flaky wood. Sellers need to be responsible for this work and cost, not the buyer. Ceiling fans and filters need to be checked especially when a property is being appraised for possible government loan approval.
2. ‘Depersonalize’ your home before showings begin and clean siding
Eric Thompson agreed with the idea that sellers must change their attitudes and almost put themselves in the shoes of the buyer when it comes to things like “depersonalizing” a home before it is ready to be shown – removing some family photos, perhaps adding items to empty rooms and accentuating feelings of more space in kitchen areas. A hunter who enjoys having his mounted kills on the wall might do pretty well to remove them before a showing.
“What you want to focus on is omitting distractions. Unfortunately, I see even some that slip through the cracks online (in photos). As we would say within our team is that ‘you begin to live in your home as though you a guest.’ So naturally, you are still the owner of the property, you just clean up every day because you never know when another showing is going to happen; so, no dishes in the sink, beds are made, those types of things,” Thompson said.
He also stressed that in his opinion it is very important to consult with a real estate professional before selling your home and what little thing may bother you about your home might not be present or important to the buyer. Professionals can also be available to prevent a rush to try to get the house ready in the eyes of the seller.
“That is sometimes the back end of what people tend to do. That will put your stomach in your throat as a real estate professional to show up and know that (a buyer) has put a $20,000 vinyl fence in the backyard, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, the appraiser is only going give us a $1,000 adjustment for that.”
In addition, he said, you should check for not-so-obvious spots of mold/mildew on siding and remove them. He explained that photos taken to be uploaded to real estate sites can cause the spots to rear their ugly heads after sharpening the images during editing.
3. Get a pre-listing home inspection
Vesco says inspectors may, “hit you for more than you are required (to do).” Pumping a septic tank before one of these inspections is also a good idea he says because it will come up during the inspection and it will cost the seller anyway. Sellers may be in a rush to put a property on the market and somebody may put an offer in and then they want all the changes covered. Buyers might come in and try to renegotiate price and closing costs over such oversights. He says equity can be eaten away when a seller has to catch up to what a buyer may want instead of having it turn-key and ready to go before showings and inspections.
4. Start preparations as early as a year if you know you want to sell near summertime
Time and effort ahead of the showing and sale are of paramount importance, according to Vesco. A person may have a rental and they view it as a cash cow so they don’t put any money into it. If they do decide to sell the property, all the maintenance that was deferred can come to bite them, he says. A buyer can use this to his or her advantage and immediately come in with a lower asking price.
5. Get rid of your clutter with spring cleaning
If I know I am moving, Vesco continues, get rid of your clutter. If you know you haven’t touched it in three or four months, store it, throw it out, give it away or move it to another location. You are going to have to move your stuff, it’s going to take time with the clutter and it’s going to be expensive to hire movers to do it. I would also power wash because of all the pollen. Spring cleaning would make a difference. And make sure you get debris out of your gutters. If there is anything that needs to be painted, paint it. If you haven’t painted your house in five years, you need to paint your house. If carpet is frayed it probably should be replaced, he says. Thompson also agreed that eliminating clutter is one of the most important things you can do before you show your home.