Saturday, September 26, 2009

3 Low Cost Tips for a Sure Sale: Preparing Your Home to Sell

As home prices begin to slowly rise, homeowners think about preparing their homes to sell. The goal of taking some time to prepare your home is to sell in the shortest time for the most money. A good place to start is contacting an experienced Realtor®, a few months in advance, for advice on how to prepare your home.

Where do you begin?

1. Clean and De-clutter. The least expensive, yet the most important task, that people underestimate is a thorough scrubbing of the home. When you are selling your home, you need to cleans every corner, bleach out spots or replace grouts in kitchen and bathrooms. Aluminum, mirrors and windows must shine. Clean walls, or touch up paint, and lastly clean carpets.

If you have been squeezing by furniture, you need to remove a piece furniture to open up the room. Clear out as much as possible to make the home look bigger. Clear off counters and table tops. Visit a few open houses to see what works. Remove all personal photos or items. Think Model Home, impersonal. Preparing a home to live in and sell, are two very different things.

2. Curb Appeal. Mow and edge the lawn or weeds. With the water regulations, you may need to add some Ammonia Sulfate to your lawn and water a bit more to green it up. Check with your local nursery for more information. Right before listing the home, add some colorful plants out front.

3. Repair or Replace. Some homeowners begin with a home inspection by a qualified home inspector, before putting it on the market, to correct any issues that may be used to negotiate the price down. A few hundred dollars in an inspection and repairs, may save the homeowner thousands of dollars in the price.

While quite often homeowners know where the problems are, but may not have the money needed to deal with them. To save money, they may try to do the repairs themselves. Simple repairs may be okay, but often you need an expert to fix the problem. Otherwise, you may fix it so no one else can fix it. Then it may end up costing more in the long run. Anyone who has ever looked under a kitchen sink and thought replacing a garbage disposal would just be a easy fix, a matter of unscrewing a few screws and screwing on a new one, can attest to this.

If you do not have the money to make the repairs, the price may need to be adjusted or credits may be given to the buyer. So knowing up front what you need to do will save time and money.

Another issue that impacts many homes in San Diego County due our expansive soil includes cracked foundations. Signs that may turn buyers away such as cracks in walls and flooring should be investigated before trying to repair or cover them up. The expert's report may say it is nothing, putting the buyer at ease, or it may say it will cost thousands of dollars to repair. Either way, the law requires that you disclose material facts like this to the buyers. While you may not have the money to make the repairs, this has to be disclosed. The buyer has a right to know what they are buying. This may impact the price, but save you a visit to court.

Other issues that need to be disclosed, if you have knowledge of it, include unpermitted rooms. If you are uncertain, it is up the buyers to investigate. However, knowing up front, could save time with FHA or VA buyers who may not qualify for their loans as a result of unpermitted rooms. See my blog FHA & VA Buyers Be on Look Out--10 Most Common Home Problems .

Using these 3 simple tips will help you sell your home faster and for top dollar. For other home selling tips see my blog Price Wars and Beauty Contests--8 Simple Tips to Win.

--Virginia Hall
ABR, CRS, e-Pro, GRI
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage