Is Your Home Actually Ready to Sell?

Have You Done These 7 Things?

By Sarah Ward

Wondering whether your home is really ready to sell? Take it from me, Sarah Ward at College Area Realty, your home is not market ready until you’ve done these seven things!

1. Remove Clutter

EVERYONE hates clutter, especially potential buyers who will be trying to see themselves and their belongings in your home. If you are selling your home, then you will be moving, so start packing even if you won’t be leaving right away. I recommend renting a storage unit and filling it with your nonessentials – meaning those things you don’t use every day. Storage units can be very economical if you find one that offers a deeply discounted or even free first month’s rent. Using a storage unit is preferable to using the garage, which will be inspected by potential buyers. I can help you find a storage unit facility offering a special. The goal is for your home, including your garage, to look like a bright, airy, and uncluttered model home. Go through your home with a critical eye and remove all unnecessary decorations, knick-knacks, paper, and other items to your newly rented storage unit.  Create a light, airy, and welcoming space for potential buyers.  Without a doubt, getting rid of clutter is the best thing you can do to prepare your home for sale, and, doing so makes moving much easier when the time comes!

2. Make Minor Repairs

Every home has a few items that need fixing—maybe a leaky faucet, a slow-draining sink or tub, or a gate that doesn’t latch properly. Before you list your home for sale, I recommend thoroughly examining your home and making those minor repairs.  While it is almost certain that any serious Buyer will have a home inspection performed during escrow to identify any potential problems with your home – and if any are found, the Buyer will make a request for you to either repair or pay to repair those items - I believe that fixing minor repairs in advance of listing your home will reduce the number of items that come up during that inspection and will create the impression that your home has been well cared for.  If you are uncertain whether a particular item should be repaired or if you aren’t acquainted with a handy man, just give me a call.  I will be very happy to do a walk-through, to answer your questions, and even to assist you with arranging for a handy man!

3. Identify Any Buyer “Turnoffs”

Flaws are another thing that every home has, but when you’ve lived in the same place for a while, you tend to become blind to those flaws.  This is usually because you’ve learned to live with them and just don’t see them as “turnoffs” anymore.  But rest assured, a Buyer will notice those flaws right away and could be completely turned off to your home, which is something you don’t want to happen.  One easy way to identify these Buyer “turnoffs” is to bring someone with fresh eyes into your home.  That person can be me, Sarah Ward over at College Area Realty. We pride ourselves on providing property preparation assistance to all of our clients, including advice on how to remedy potential Buyer “turnoffs” before the first Buyer enters your home.

4. Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint

There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint. Yes, the old adage is true. A fresh coat of paint makes the whole house feel new and clean, and also makes a great first impression with Buyers. Fresh interior paint is a must.  Cover up that neon pink in your daughter’s room or that burnt orange accent wall, Buyers want a blank slate! And, while it’s always good to go with neutral colors, avoid white, which looks sterile and tends to make a room reflect itself in the worst kind of way. My advice is to choose a taupe, leaning either brown or grey depending on the tone of the other finishes in your home. Here are my top picks:

  • Neutral Grey: Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore (my entire house is painted this color, which is offset with white trim, and everyone loves it!)

  • Brownish Taupe: Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore (HGTV’s Christina El Moussa says they use this color in every room for many of their flips!)

As far as exterior paint is concerned, that’s a more expensive proposition so you don’t want to make the investment unless necessary.  Ask me to conduct a property preparation walk through, and I will let you know whether the exterior of your home needs fresh coat of paint or whether freshening up the trim will be sufficient. 

5. Power Wash Hardscape

The first thing a potential Buyer sees is the exterior of your home - and we’ve all heard about the importance of curb appeal.  Power washing the driveway, walkway, front porch, etc., of your home is an easy way to make it look fresh, clean, and inviting. Don’t overlook your backyard – here in San Diego, Buyers are looking for that “oasis” backyard, so power washing the back patio and other hardscape is also necessary. You will not believe the difference a good power washing will make!  Your hardscape will look like new.  And don’t worry too much about the water consumption involved.  Power washing doesn’t take long, but the effort is so rewarding.  If you don’t own a power washer, that’s not a problem.  You can rent one from almost any home improvement store or just give me a call and I will bring one to your house and help you get everything cleaned up. 

6. Manicure Your Landscape

Another important aspect of curb appeal is your home’s landscaping.  Here in San Diego outdoor spaces are at the top buyers’ wish lists. Make sure your trees, shrubs, and bushes are neatly trimmed and the lawn is kept mowed.  Add a few splashes of color with annuals, either in flower beds or in color bowls near your front door. Once again, don’t forget the back yard!

7. Make Each Room a Dedicated Space

Buyers want to know the purpose and use of each room in your home. I once sold a house where the dining room was being used as a kids play room. Even though it was completely obvious that the room was actually a dining room (rectangular room off the kitchen near the living room), I can’t tell you how many potential Buyers who viewed that home told me that they didn’t like the home because it didn’t have a dedicated dining room. Even though I told every Buyer that the home DID have a dining room, it was just disguised as a play room, not one of those Buyers was able to see the play room space as a dining room. If your home has a “mixed-use room”, turn it back into a dedicated space before listing your home.  Whether that space could be an office, a guest room, or a workout room, choose just one of those uses so Buyers can envision themselves using it for that purpose. 

If you’d like my help preparing your home for sale, give me a call (or text me) at (858)431-6043 or email me at I’m happy to help in any way I can. 

Read more about the high level of service College Area Realty provides to all of our sellers here