Once homeowners decide to sell their home they have lots of things on their mind. They may be buying another home and want to sell their current home quickly. They may also not be sure what steps they should be taking. This is where a good real estate agent can help. Sellers need to follow a process to prepare their home for showing to potential buyers.
Jacki Mayo Managing Broker of The Mayo Home Team in Anacortes, Washington provides some of her best tips on getting ready to sell your home.
BIM: What would you say to someone who asked for tips on preparing their home to sell quickly in a competitive real estate market?
Jacki: The biggest thing is a change in mindset. You must go from the “home mindset” to “house mindset”. The home is the place where you have lived and have memories. It’s also the place where you may have a family that is used to doing all kinds of things in that home. The house is the thing you are selling. It is the product that you are offering a market. You must look at it like a buyer looking for a house. The buyer will want to see certain things and a messy kitchen for example is not one of those things. So, it takes a change in mindset and it takes the family understanding that change in mindset too. Then once you have the mindset in place the hard part is done. From there it’s a matter of implementing certain steps. With that mindset, it’s easier to look at your house and see what a buyer might see and how it might impact their thinking.
BIM: Mindset makes sense. Once that is in place where do we go from there? You said something about implementing steps? What are those steps?
Jacki: Yes, De-cluttering and de-personalizing are where I tell most people to start. It means taking some time and cleaning up any clutter if needed and that naturally flows into de-personalizing. You want the potential buyer to see their own life happening in that house. That’s the key. The house should be staged though. You want the buyer to see a few things there for them to spark their own ideas. But not anymore than that. It’s best to remove any personalization so the buyer can imagine their own stuff and their personality in the space. Which means taking out family photos and personalized welcome mats and that sort of thing.
BIM: When de-cluttering how far does the seller need to go? Do they need to get rid of a lot of stuff?
Jacki: It depends on how much is there in the first place. Some people live minimally as it is and don’t like a lot of clutter. Some people have a house stuffed with all kinds of things. Those people probably need to get some things out of the house. Donate some stuff, get rid of old items, have a yard sale and even put things in storage if need be. They can leave a basic framework of furniture and a few items so the house is not empty and buyers can get an idea of what they could do with the house.
BIM: Is a storage unit a common solution?
Jacki: It is fairly common. It’s a temporary solution. That supersized overstuffed chair that one of the family members loves might not be the best thing to have there when buyers come through. One other thing to keep in mind is that it’s a good idea to get things that are a treasured possession out of the house too. A buyer could come along and fall in love with it and want to buy it along with the house. So, it’s best just to get those things out of there so you don’t run into that issue and have it come up in negotiations.
BIM: How much cleaning needs to be done?
Jacki: The house should be quite clean. If you were selling a car you would get it washed and detailed so it was spotless inside and out. Well it’s pretty much the same concept on a much larger scale. You want to shampoo carpets, clean windows, floors, and counter tops. Everything should be dust free. Going back to the mindset idea. Drive up to your house and imagine you have never seen it before. What do you see? Things you had not noticed in a long time will jump out at you. That bush that needs trimmed. The dust on the shelves, etc. All that needs to be cleaned so the home really stands out to buyers.
BIM: Great. If all that is done, it sounds like the house should really be attractive to buyers. Is there anything else?
Jacki: There is another thing that commonly needs to be addressed and that’s repairs. Over the years things build up that need to get fixed around a home. A leaky faucet here and a creaky hinge there. Those things that the home owner may not even notice anymore will jump out at a buyer. They are an instant turn off for a buyer so make sure to go through each room and make a list of items that need repaired and get a plan in place to fix those things. Some repairs could even come up in negotiations and cost you in the long run so fixing them now is best.
BIM: Great. Thank you for all the tips. How can people learn more?
Jacki: They can visit my website. http://www.islandhomes4sale.com There is more information there on this topic and others related to buying and selling real estate.