By John E. Baer, SRES, SRS
It is so important to get your property in its best possible condition prior to offering it for sale. Here are some universally accepted steps you need to take to prepare your home for sale:
Disassociate yourself with your home. You have lived in your home for years, and it’s become part of you, however you got to make that break. Say to yourself this is not my home, it is a house – a product to be sold much like a car in a car dealership.
Depersonalize. Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. You want buyers to imagine their own photos and items and they can’t do that if yours are there.
Clean, Clean, Clean. Thoroughly dust everywhere. Polish your appliances and faucets and wash your windows.
Clear out the clutter. You want buyers to focus on how awesome your space is, not how messy or cluttered it looks. This includes removing practically every item from all surfaces.
Repaint the walls neutral colors. Tones like tans, light gray and off-white allows buyers to focus on the spaces themselves.
Let there be light. Open blinds and shades to let in natural light. Remove heavy dated window treatments that block natural light.
Get rid of bulky furniture. Furniture should fit the scale of the room.
Organize your closets. Storage space is a huge selling point, and if your closets are stuffed to the rim, buyers will think you don’t have enough of it.
Make repairs. You want your home to be in the best condition possible. Take care of major defects that could discourage buyers.
Improve your landscaping. Curb appeal is crucial to a good first impression, so make sure your exterior is immaculate. Mow the lawn, prune the shrubs, weed the garden, plant flowers.
But here are a number of tasks or steps that take time and which are not frequently discussed when preparing to sell your home:
Take a look at homes for sale on listing sheets to see how attractive homes look.
If you don’t anticipate selling your home in the spring or summer, but rather plan to list it in the fall or winter, make sure to take photos of the outside when the grass is green and the hedges and garden looks its best.
If you have lived in your home for many years and have more items than you anticipate taking with you to your next move, you may want to rent a dumpster. To help you, consider hiring some high school or college age students to do the heavy lifting.
If you are like most people you may have old records of bank statements, medical records, financial records, or other items with personal bank accounts, Social Security numbers, etc. that need to be shredded rather than recycled. What you should know is that in Westchester County has a mobile shredding service that moves from town to town which you can find on the County website. And which is free.
Many people choose to advertise furniture or other items on Craigslist. Be aware that there are scammers looking for these advertisements. They will claim to be a buyer and will send the seller a fake cashier’s check that looks authentic in an amount in excess of the purchase price. The fake buyer (scammer) wants the seller to “just go ahead” and deposit the check. Finally, the scammer requests that the seller return the excess money, typically in cash, by wire transfer, or via Western Union. The return payment might go directly back to the buyer (scammer) or to a third party, such as a fictitious mover the buyer claims will pick up the items. The end result is the deposited check is no good, the seller has wired money to the scammer, and no one comes to pick up the advertised items. Advertising items for sale is fine, just do not fall for this scam.
And most importantly, pick the right real estate agent. Selling your home is a transaction valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and often more, so take the time to choose your agent wisely. You’ll be giving yourself the best chance at achieving the best possible result for the most important persons in your world – you and your family.
John E. Baer, SRES, SRS is a NYS licensed real estate salesperson associated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Westchester Properties of Scarsdale and Larchmont. He can be reached for questions at 914/600-6086 or at 914/844-2059. His website is www.WestchesterHomes.info.