Tis the season for holiday gatherings and gift giving… When putting this article together, I seriously considered putting a picture of a big snowflake or some “Clark Griswold-like” decorated house, but I figured you all get your fill of these types of visuals throughout the holiday season. So I chose this picture (A beautiful home in the Masters section of RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve in Upper Providence Township, PA) because this month’s edition is about looking past the holidays and on to a Spring market that will be here before we know it. More importantly, lots of home sellers are asking this question of me right now. In fact, about half of my client meetings from Halloween to the New Year are to discuss prepping their home. So what can you do to be prepared? Here are 5 tips:
- HOME VALUATION – You should absolutely get a home valuation estimate from a licensed REALTOR. I know many of you out there are real estate hobbyists but respectfully, the resources available to the general public (Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, County Public Records) only tell part of the story and can often be wrong. In most cases, only professional agents have the correct information & market knowledge you need to make an informed decision about the value of your home. This is super important since it is the baseline for all of your preparation activities. For example, if margins are tight then you’ll want to refrain from going overboard since you won’t recoup that money when you sell.
- THE “POP-BY” – Have a REALTOR come by and take a look at the home well in advance. Not much is more frustrating for a seller to have spent their winter months doing their own prep only to have their agent come in when’s it’s time to list and tell them they need to do this or that (or they wasted money on this or that). To boot, this could lead to missing valuable time on the market if a change needs to be made.
- DECLUTTER – Any REALTOR is going to tell you to get rid of, hide or organize all the stuff in your home. Depending on the amount will dictate the proper method here. If you’ve lived in the home for a long time and you have a basement full of stuff then selling your home might be a good excuse to finally rid yourself of those unwanted possessions. In most cases, buyers don’t want to see all your stuff, even if it is organized and neat. If you simply cannot part with it, then it might be a good idea to temporarily put it in a storage unit.
- REPAIRS & IMPROVEMENTS – Hopefully, you have kept up your home and don’t need any major improvements, but even the most meticulously maintained homes often could use a little primping. Don’t forget, most agents work with sellers AND buyers so they’re used to seeing things through their eyes. Sometimes the work is simply slapping a coat of paint up and sometimes it requires more. If your home does need a larger project done, then your agent will usually be able to help and get you a contractor.
- DON’T FORGET THE OUTSIDE – First impressions count! Curb appeal is a real thing, so don’t forget the outside of your home! Make sure any remaining piles of leaves from the fall are gone and that your landscaping looks sharp. Here’s a pro tip: If you want to give the buyer the impression that your home isn’t well maintained, then let them catch a glance of leaves sticking out of the top of your gutters. This is an instant turnoff! A good exercise is to go out to the street, walk up to the house and try to see what buyers will notice. Look for things out of place and messiness. The old adage is true that you only get one chance to make a first impression and this is no exception.
If this seems overwhelming, do not despair: A simple call to a realtor can get you well ahead of the game so that when you’re ready to list your property, you can hit the ground running.
Unlike many REALTORS, I write my own stuff and would be happy to showcase your question in my next installment. Go ahead…Ask me anything or leave a comment in the section below!
Seth Lejeune – 610.804.2104 – firstname.lastname@example.org / Berkshire Hathaway – Fox & Roach
Seth is a licensed REALTOR and small business owner based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.