There is a lot that goes into preparing your home to sell, and it can be tricky to know where to begin. In this video, MovetoTacoma.com creator Marguerite sits down with her friend, colleague, and Seller’s Specialist Sharon to talk about what folks need to know about preparing their home to sell.
There is a lot of information out there about prepping your home to sell, and ultimately the most important thing is to PLAN and PREPARE. Build a relationship with a trusted sellers agent long before you plan to list your home on the market. Working with a realtor who you like and trust, who has your back, and who helps you get everything done truly makes all the difference.
Sharon is a Seller’s Specialist in Tacoma and University Place, and the first thing she does is meet with a client to ensure they have a good rapport. Listing a home can be stressful, and many people are really intimidated by the process. But you totally don’t need to be (especially with Sharon—she is the best!), because if you work with an experienced seller’s agent, they’ll guide you through every step of the process.
Here are the steps that Sharon uses to help her clients prepare their home for market:
1. Set a timeline.
It’s important to know when you want your house to be sold by, and it’s crucial for you to then work with an experienced seller’s agent who can help you figure out how to meet that deadline. A seller’s agent will also do a walk through of your house where they assess everything from your floors to your ceilings. During this step the agent gets a sense of what needs to happen to get the house ready to list.
2. Assess the state of your roof.
This might catch some people off guard but it is VERY important. Do you know the age of your roof? Can you verify that with a receipt or other documentation? It’s a good idea to get a roofing company out to look at the roof to see what type of shape it’s in. Are there issues with moss or water (for example)? These are common roof issues in Tacoma.
Ideally, your roof needs to have 5 or more years left of life in it, and a lot of lenders are not going to lend for a home that does not meet this criteria. (Watch the video above for more info on this.) A roof is a big issue, and not having this squared away can derail your transaction, even in this market.
3. Determine what you need to renovate or update.
It’s important to objectively assess the state of your kitchen. If your kitchen is pretty old and parts of it are non-functional, you’ll need to do more work. You might be able to get by and just do a few upgrades, like painting cabinets and updating hardware. A different look and feel can go a long way, and an experienced seller’s specialist will know what buyers want.
When Marguerite has someone reach out to her saying they just remodeled their kitchen and now they’re ready to sell their house, her heart sinks. Many people will think they need to totally remodel their kitchens before they sell, but sometimes it is not necessary to get the most money for your house. Sometimes you only need a few tweaks!
4. Clean and stage the house.
Most of us know how to get our homes clean and looking put together, but a staged home is very different from how we actually live in our homes. For example, when Sharon does a walk through of a client’s home, she will identify clutter that needs to be removed. You can hide clutter to some extent, but sometimes potential buyers want to open every drawer and closet and of course look in the garage, and you don’t want those places to be filled with random stuff!
Sharon recommends that you rent a storage unit for this type of stuff. You’re going to be moving out of your home anyway, so you might as well get a head start on packing! Sharon also recommends that when you’re going through your stuff you create three piles: one pile for items that you plan to keep, one pike for items to be donated, and one pile for the trash.
5. Remove personal items from the home.
When potential buyers tour your home, you want them to be focused on your house, not getting distracted by who lives in the house. Take your family photos down, and remove things that are near and dear to you. Create a space that welcomes buyers to envision themselves living in the home.
6. Assess your attic space and crawlspace.
Look above your living space and below it to see what’s going on! Hire someone to inspect for pests and rodents, and if there’s an issue, get it taken care of. These types of issues can derail a transaction, so approach preparing your home the way an inspector would. That way when inspection time does roll around, you’ll be ready and “pass” with flying colors!
7. Be prepared for lots of paperwork.
Gather your warranties and any other paperwork you have pertaining to your home. This will help make the process much easier and give your real estate agent additional information to reassure potential buyers as to the home’s solidity.
8. Give yourself time.
This is a big one. Selling your home can be daunting, and giving yourself enough time to manage this process is going to make it all that much easier. Reach out to a real estate agent well in advance of when you plan to list your home!
Thank you for these incredible home selling tips, Sharon!
Want an introduction to an amazing seller’s agent in your neighborhood? You can contact Marguerite here.