Whether you’ve owned a personal home for your family, or you previously bought a residential property to let it out as a real estate investor, sooner or later, it’s time to put it on the market. When you’re giving that strong consideration, it pays to put yourself into the shoes of the potential buyer.
While you or your renters might live in the property full-time, take a step back. If necessary, even walk out the front door, close it (make sure you have the keys), close your eyes to clear your mind and then open the door again. Walk-in and look for anything that won’t appeal to a potential buyer.
Things should start jumping out at you. If they don’t, get a friend or neighbor to run through the same process and highlight everything they see. This creates an initial list of points to spend time addressing.
Looking deeper, here are a few other things to do when preparing a property for resale.
People walk into a new place and often see the homeowner’s clutter. This isn’t good! Remove unnecessary items to make space feel a little less personalized. Even pull out furniture that’s not needed to make it easier to walk from room to room.
Focus on natural and artificial light. Are any of the rooms too dark presently making them seem gloomy or uninteresting? Do the windows have blinds or curtains? How recently were they cleaned? What about the lighting arrangements? Are they bright enough to illuminate the whole room? Would it be beneficial to switch to brighter LED bulbs instead?
Not everyone gets their water heater system or electrical/gas systems checked on a regular basis. It often just gets forgotten about until it’s too late. Therefore, it could be a while since your home systems have been checked or any maintenance performed on them.
It’s a good idea to have a maintenance call go out to thoroughly look over the existing systems. This way, you can confirm to potential buyers that this has been done which gives them peace of mind. It also should avoid a scenario where a purchaser moves in and an essential system dies on them almost immediately. That could create a headache for you as the seller if they complain about it.
Using a service like Pascoe’s Plumbing who can verify that the home’s systems are fine and replace any parts that are needed will avoid a headache later. Pascoe’s can give you a free quote on any work you think might need doing, so you can be sure that it’s needed before calling anyone round.
As a professional, you probably don’t get much time to keep the home spotless. As a result, some things just slide a bit here and there. That may be fine for you, but when wanting to prepare a home for resale, it then becomes a problem.
Hiring a cleaning company to give the place a top to bottom spruce up is a good idea. Whilst it won’t likely get you a higher offer, it will avoid losing offers or making the property harder to sell than it needs to be. Properties that stay on the market too long become problematic to sell later.
Tend to the Outdoor Areas
Don’t forget about the outdoor areas.
The front lawn/driveway matter because it creates the first impression as visitors drive up and park. Plants should be tidied up to remove where they’ve become overgrown. A clear line between the edge of the driveway and any plant life or lawn should be given more separation to make it visually attractive.
With the back garden, declutter any patio furniture so it feels more organized. Cut the grass and tend to the plants to attract keen gardeners who can see themselves spending time there. Make the outdoor space enhance the experience of touring the indoors; not detract from it.
Cooking certain foods leaves a lingering odor that doesn’t stay in the kitchen but wafts into other parts of the home. Whether it’s grilling some bacon or putting together an aromatic dinner the night before, it can create a problem the next day when there’s a showing. Don’t expect hastily used air freshener to solve the problem either…
It might seem pedantic but make smart choices about what you’re cooking the day before. Maybe even eat out if the real estate agent indicates that a promising buyer is coming to look at the property. Every little bit helps.
It’s worth putting in the extra effort to improve the appearance and fix major issues before putting the property on the market. While small things might not bother us as the owner because we’re used to them, that cannot be said for potential buyers. Going the extra mile matters and can be the difference between getting the right price and not receiving an offer at all.