Getting your house ready to sell is quite the undertaking – but if you plan and organize your process, you can get this completed in just a few days. Even if you’re considering selling in more than a year, these steps will save you time and money and setting you up to maximize your bottom line AS WELL AS protect you from any transaction mishaps that can occur because you DIDN’T get your house ready to sell.
Some of these steps may seem like no-brainers — but with the many, many homes I show to my buyer and investor clients – apparently there are some sellers with no brains!! LOL! Okay, just kidding. (Actually, no, I’m not kidding! Oi!)
Given the status of the proverbial “hot” market experienced in the Northern Virginia, DC and MD real estate regions, there are sellers who believe that they need do NOTHING to get their house ready to sell. So they don’t. And this is what creates the two markets within a market – the HOT market and the NOT market.
We all hear about the house that got 20+ offers, and bid up $50,000! Wow! Yep – i happens – for the sellers who took the time to complete the four steps I’m talking about below. Then – there’s the market is COUNTING ON THE WIND BENEATH the market’s wings to sell his/her house – and does nothing. And – it sits there, probably goes through a price drop, or they end up having to give up a lot to the buyer that they otherwise would not have had to if they had taken the time to get their house ready to sell.
So here are the four steps:
1 – Declutter
2 – Paint
3 – Flooring
4 – Fixtures
That’s it. Really. That will do it. HOWEVER, as we know, the devil is in the details (I don’t know why he’s there or his little demons, but they seem to like to camp out there and cause problems!)
I say DECLUTTER–some sellers seem to picture: PICK UP my clothes and towels. Nope! It’s a lot more involved than that. It includes, dumping, donating and selling items that you no longer use or want. Digging deep into your basement or attic and pulling out the old and forgotten crapola that you just have been putting off in dumping or selling them. Decluttering is the Mother Load of deep cleans!
It makes NO SENSE to put items you’re NOT going to ever keep in the future into a storage unit, then pack them, put them on a truck to move into your new home — and THEN think you’ll have the energy or time to sort and sell and dump later. Get this step accomplished with purpose first — even months or years before you are thinking about geting your house ready to sell.
Paint – ahhhh – the Grace of selling. A new coat of paint covers a multitude of defects, dings, scuffs and the like. It just makes the buyers want to bring all their stuff that they didn’t declutter into your recently decluttered and painted house to set up house. And- there’s nothing like the light scent of fresh paint that says – Buy Me!
Flooring – hopefully you can get away with a spring cleaning on your floors – sweep, vacuum, wet mop (for hard surfaces) and a good professional carpet shampoo. If not, then plan this in your budget to get some new flooring installed. It’s also the time to simplify your flooring — instead of 5 types of flooring on the main level, lets get it down to just one — and on the MAIN level, you want to go with a hard surface — my choice in the 2020’s is Luxury Vinyl Plank — it has the look and feel of wood, but without the expense.
On bedroom levels, go with a builder-grade carpeting (unless you consider your home is in a luxury community, then bump it up).
NOW LET ME STOP HERE FOR A MOMENT
There’s a difference between the way we LIVE in a house and the way we SELL a house. When I’m talking paint, carpet and fixtures (below), some home owners start shopping and designing as if they are going to stay in the house for another 10 years. YOU’RE NOT! You’re selling and so don’t get wrapped up in the designer colors, upgraded flooring, gutting the baths and kitchen — when you’re going to turn around and sell it in the next few months. (This is not to say, however, that your baths and kitchen may not need updates. It depends — just sayin’.)
LEMME BE BLUNT – you had your chance to do all the redecorating and fancy schmancy designs, etc., if you did – great, I’ll be over with a sign right away.
But if you didn’t, (AND MOST SELLERS HAVE NOT) we’re just freshening up your house to make the masses want it and the multiple offers (hopefully) come in. At the stage of getting your house ready to sell – it’s about preparing, not redecorating and refurbishing. The goal is to sell! So let’s get the final task…
If you have any brass in your house – it screams 1990s, maybe even Disco music! Time to change them out. Fixtures include lights, faucets, doorknobs/hinges, and cabinet hardware. Pick a style and finish and stay with it throughout – brushed nickel, antique black, etc. Don’t try to “mix it up” in this department. What’s selling the most at the hardware store, deco outlets? Don’t try to put your personal tastes into it – let the consumer have what they want.
Whos is Anthony Carr?
I’m a seasoned, stable real estate professional and I’ve counseled investors, sellers and buyers to purchase, sell and increase value in hundreds of properties since 1995 in the Northern Virginia, DC and MD market. I wrote a book several years ago, “Real Estate Investing Made Simple: a commonsense approach to building wealth” (https://rem.ax/3iGY4tF), after working as a real estate editor for several years (where I wrote hundreds of columns on the subject) before diving into this game we call real estate!
My website: https://www.anthonycarr.net/about