ALLOWING YOUR HOME TO STAND OUT
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Success is in the prep. If you are not selling your home “as is” there are things I advise we do before listing your home for sale. Preparing your home for sale includes some items that equate to tens of thousands of dollars more profit and solicit a buyer who offers more favorable terms. If your funds are limited, know that some professionals are willing to be paid through Escrow, or at the time of closing. Consult with your Realtor about the things that should be complete before listing your home to make you more money AND create the smoothest sale. As a general rule of thumb, know that 80% of the work that you do, should be done prior to listing your home.
Below are some general guidelines and tips to preparing your home sale. There isn’t a “magic bullet” or exact template that all home sellers should follow, every home is unique. Partner with your Realtor to determine what items should be complete prior to listing your home for sale.
Have you seen homes that are for sale that state “seller to offer buyer credit of ‘x dollars’ in lieu of new carpets”? This isn’t uncommon and yet it is not the best selling tactic. Appraisers look to see that all flooring is in decant condition. Any significant fraying or missing carpet, may become a funding condition – which means you (the seller) have to replace it anyways! Replacing carpets that are heavily worn or stained may cause a buyer to pause before making an offer and may reduce an offer much more than just the price of installing new carpet or flooring. By installing new flooring, you stay in the driver seat when negotiating the contract.
Our inventory of homes in Tacoma is mostly older homes, many of which still have original hard or soft wood floors. These charming features of older homes are highly sought after by homebuyers. If your original wood floors have serious wear-and-tear and they are thick enough to refinish, considering refinishing them. If you have to pick and choose where to do this, prioritize primary living spaces, such as the living, dining and kitchen when preparing your home for sale.
For tile floors, only replace tiles that are broken. This too may become a funding condition for appraisers. While you’re at it, schedule the grout to be cleaned! If planning to clean your carpets, hire a professional who can do both.. Do not neglect your tile and grout in the shower!
PAINT – TINTS OF MAGIC
I’ve had clients paint a living room or front door and say “well, I wish I would have done that 5 years ago!” Some even feel compelled to move back in! Paint can transform a space and mask other dated features or less desirable details of the home.
If you have chipping or peeling paint, put painting at the top of your “to-do” list. This could be a lending requirement, which may cause the buyer to offer you less money in their offer, or (worse) be a leading factor in the buyer choosing to walk away after their home inspection. As a side note, homes that were built prior to 1978 could have lead-based paint. If you have knowledge of lead based paint in your home you must disclose this to the homebuyer.
Painting is something that all of us say “I can do that!’ and 9 times out of 10 we were wrong, and wished that we hired a professional. If you don’t have a steady hand or properly tape off transitions, it will look like a 4 year old just painted your house. (I’ve done this, never again!) And it’s not just me that will notice! Let’s say we’re just painting a bedroom – I am much more compelled to say “go for it!” But when it comes to larger spaces or the entire interior or exterior of a home, hiring a professional painter may be the route you want to go.
It’s gotta happen folks. Dust bunnies don’t sell houses and it’s written into the contract that you, (home seller) will clean prior to closing. Hire a professional cleaner before your home is being shown to potential buyers so they aren’t transfixed on dirty window sills or smelly refrigerators (yes, buyers are nosey and will open your fridge)! Here are a few pro tips:
- Remove the screen on your windows and wash both the inside and outside window panes. You’ll be amazed at how much more natural light is brought into the home.
- Clean with vinegar. Odors are a big deal. Although the smell of vinegar is initially strong, it will dissipate and leave your home more odor free. Using strong incense or plug-ins can be a major turn off for buyers who are sensitive to smell.
- Clean the blinds and drapes. If they are in poor condition or dark the space removing them altogether may be advised. All window treatments are said to transfer with the home upon the sale. If you want to keep them, be sure to tell me, so we can include this in the contract!
- Paint your basement. If you have an unfinished basement, specifically one that could be finished (proper ceiling height needed) painting the walls an off white will help it feel more usable and bright.
SERVICE YOUR SYSTEMS
PREPARE FOR INSPECTORS
If you haven’t serviced and cleaned your furnace in the last year – it’s time. Inspectors always take note of this and will recommend it be completed prior to closing.
Do you have moss on your roof? Have a professional roofer clean it. DO NOT pressure wash your roof yourself. If improperly done, granule loss can be significant and worse case, require a new roof. Weather and time permitting, use a powdered solution to get rid of the moss. No physical labor involved! Just apply and wait.
If all of your systems are old, but fully functioning I completely agree with the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We may need to offer the buyer reassurance, and that can come in the form of a Home Warranty.
STAGING – HIGHLIGHTING YOUR HOME
Whether you will be living in your home while we sell or not, proper placement of furniture is necessary to highlight each space and help buyers envision themselves living here. Staging plays a big role in preparing your home for sale. After all of the rigamarole of painting, cleaning and upkeep (all-the-while you are trying to live your normal life!) this final step of preparing your home for sale is often forgotten or dismissed. Don’t let it be. It’s one of the most important steps in selling your home for the most amount of money. Be reminded that your home will receive HD Photos and video. Clutter and/or worn furniture will detract buyers attention from your home and leave potential buyers curious about the quality of the house as a whole, and not excited about making it their own! For more information on how staging pays for itself when selling your home in Tacoma, click here.
- Remove the TV’s
They don’t photograph well. If there is a media room or it’s hung on the wall, perhaps it can stay. But plan to watch the Hawks game at a local pub or friends house until we sell your home!
- Take down your photos
Leaving a few up is fine, but having your stairwell lines with family photos impedes the buyers ability to envision your home as their own. Also they could potentially learn more about you then desired.
- Clear the Countertops
Aside from a few “cute” items and green plants, leave your kitchen, dining and bathroom countertops clear.
The success is in the prep. All of these steps you will be doing at some point in your move! You might as well do them before we sell your home, so your home looks, smells and inspects its absolute best. Not only will you make more money, the entire home selling process will go exponentially smoother and quicker than had you chosen not to take these steps.
Preparing your Home for sale in Pierce County takes work. While we are doing this, we are making sure that your home stands out from other competing homes and gives serious buyers courage to write an offer and make it their own.
I’ll provide you with reputable, licensed, local professionals whom you can count on getting the work done, timely and in a cost effective manner. If you don’t have the funds immediately available to do some of these items, the professionals may consider getting paid at closing for their services.
Here are some homes that were well prepped for market. The sellers reaped the benefits in selling for significantly more than market value and had an very smooth home sale
Lifestyle Home on Berry Street – LISTED for $600,000 SOLD for $713,0000 (July 2021)
Palm Springs in Proctor District – LISTED for $495,000 SOLD FOR 713,000 (March 2022)
Cape Cod View Home in North Tacoma, WA – LISTED for $435,000 SOLD for $500,000 (December 2020)