7 New Year's Pledges for Home Sellers
Repeat to yourself: "I pledge to…"
1. "Avoid drastic design changes" – Unless you plan to turn your bold color palette into a more neutral one, then it's best not to try and anticipate what buyers want in design and décor. The best approach to freshening up your home for sale is to simplify and depersonalize the look and feel so that potential buyers can picture building their own lives there. If you think repainting a bright purple wall, replacing an old toilet or buffing and restaining kitchen cabinets would help the home sell, by all means make these types of updates. Just be sure to keep your personal preferences in check. Your real estate agent can help you prioritize and remain objective.
2. "Stop neglecting the drippy faucet" – This applies to any repairs you might view as minor but actually could be a symptom of a larger system problem. Addressing things like plumbing leaks, poor ventilation and cracks in walls helps everyone avoid surprises from the inspection report and avoid the delay or even cancellation of a sale. When you have the information, you can either make the fixes or work with your agent to adjust pricing during negotiations with the buyer.
3. "Price my home reasonably" – It's understandable to think your home is the best on the block and worth more than all the others – especially if you've invested in key upgrades and remodels. And, frankly, you might be right. But the only way to truly know is to consider recent sales of comparable homes in your area. Your real estate agent can provide you with the latest information and help you list at a competitive price that's appropriate for your area and the local real estate climate.
4. "Make my home inviting" – This starts with creating curb appeal. The condition of your home's exterior is a big part of getting buyers in the door. Maintaining the yard, sweeping the porch and driveway, replacing the tattered welcome mat, replacing missing house numbers, and removing clutter all are things that can help improve curb appeal.
5. "Thin out the clutter" – The best time for making tough decisions about what stays and what goes is BEFORE you put your home on the market. By the time the for-sale sign goes up, the home should be clutter free. You can either toss things you don't want, sell these items, or move the more personal ones to storage. The types of items to remove include your prized knick-knack collection, clothes overflowing from the closets, and family photos. You want all closets and cupboards to appear as spacious as possible. When they're jam-packed, it gives the impression that storage is limited even if that's not the case.
6. "Clean like I've never cleaned before" – Think about under, behind, around and between. It's easy to focus on cleaning the major surfaces, high-traffic areas, and areas that are visible. But what about the dust on top of the refrigerator? How about the slats in the window blinds? Have you cleaned the cabinets under the kitchen or bathroom sink recently? Did you notice the cobwebs behind the guest-room door? Look high and low for the dirt.
7. "Nail down my next step" – Don't let your new plans and new place get lost in the shuffle of selling your old place. Determine where you'll go next before your home goes up for sale. Are you prepared to move if your home sells quickly? Although it might not be typical, a quick sale is certainly possible. On the other hand, are you prepared if your home doesn't sell quite so quickly? Be sure to talk with your real estate agent about your relocation needs and timeline.
Find a local RE/MAX agent who can tell you all about his or her own resolutions for helping you meet your real estate goals.