There’s a lot of work that goes into getting your home ready to sell. It’s one of if not the biggest financial transaction you’ll make in your life. You want to make sure that when you’re ready to sell your home, you have a good idea of the steps you need to take to prepare.

A Common Misunderstanding

A common misunderstanding of first time sellers is that it takes a lot of money and potential renovation to get your home ready to put on the market.  It is true to that improvements to your home can add value in the long term. If you are making major updates to your house just because you want to sell in the future, it’s important to know exactly how to prioritize. It also helps to understand what things you can skip altogether. There is no point in spending a lot of time and energy on updates that won’t bring back a return on your investment.

Less Is More

Wondering how to get a home ready to sell? In many cases, less is more. It can be overwhelming in the beginning when you start thinking about exactly how to sell your house.  But even a few minor improvements can make a big difference.

At the end of the day, you want to create excitement for your buyer when they come to view your property that results in an emotional pull toward your home. This is how you are going to be able to maximize your profit. When a potential buyer arrives for a viewing, they usually know within the first ten seconds or so whether your home interests them or not. Things that play a role in this thought process can sometimes be directly linked to the layout and furniture placement. But repairs or upgrades can be attention grabbing as well.

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

So, as a seller, where should you begin? It may seem tempting to just dive right in and make as many updates to as many areas of your house as possible. But regardless of the property you’re selling, the most important first step remains the same, and often is not the first thing that comes to mind: start with a home inspection.

What’s Involved In a Home Inspection?

A home inspection typically takes about two to three hours to complete. A home inspector will do a very thorough assessment of the structure as well as major systems of a home. Doing a home inspection is a great way to get some tips for getting your home ready to sell. This is because in addition to the structure and major systems, it will also assess the exterior of the property and the foundation. A home inspector will take a look at the attic, the basement, the insulation and the garage if your property has one. They will also look at the electrical, plumbing and central air and heating systems.

Home inspections typically don’t evaluate pools or check for pests. But it is possible to have these evaluations done independently. In California, a termite inspection may be a good idea as well, due to the prevalence of termites in the area.

One of many important tips for getting ready to sell your home is to start with a home inspection

 Why Get A Home Inspection?

There are two main reasons why it’s important to get a home inspection when getting ready to sell a home. First and foremost, getting a home inspection done will allow you to prioritize your updates. A home inspection can pinpoint specific areas that are the most in need of repair. This allows you to make sure you’re using your time and money exactly where it’s most necessary.

Secondly, a home inspection before selling will allow you to provide more information to potential buyers before they even make an offer. This means that they in turn can make a more informed decision on their offer price. On the other hand, with no home inspection having been completed before the property goes on the market, buyers will be more likely to include related contingencies in their offer. This may mean that they might not offer as high of a price in the first place.

Smoke Alarms And Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector will almost certainly come up in the process of any home inspection. The laws around smoke alarms vary by state. Carbon monoxide detectors are mandatory by law in 26 states across the country.

When the home inspection is complete, you’ll be able to make any necessary repairs. After this, there are still some other minor updates that can help you generate the best possible sales price for your property.

But before you get started remember this: the trick when figuring out how to get your home ready to sell is to keep it subtle.

If you are trying to figure out the best way to get your home ready to sell, working with an experienced Realtor® can be advantageous. They will be able to assist with pricing and creating a marketing plan for your property. They will also be able to give a professional opinion on what updates would be the most worthwhile.

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Focus On Replacements

Focus your attention on making replacements to anything that looks outdated, like windows and doors. This is a much better use of your time and money than an upscale addition or pricey renovation. When it comes to single-paned windows, it’s a good idea to get replacements. Replacing these will signal that your home has been well maintained.

Two of the most important areas of the home to prospective buyers are the kitchen and the bathrooms. But of the two, updates to a kitchen tend to get a better return on investment. So if you have to choose, it’s a safe bet to assume that energy directed toward the kitchen will turn out to be the most rewarding when you sell. Worthwhile fixes that you can make to your kitchen include tasks such as updating cabinets.

A Splash Of (Neutral) Color

Some of the updates that can have the biggest return on your investment when you get your home ready to sell may not be the most obvious. Instead of immediately going for the power tools, consider picking up a paint brush. A new coat of neutral colored paint can do wonders to refresh your space. Painting a room white is not only neutral, but will have the additional effect of allowing it to look open and airy.

Two other relatively low cost upgrades that tend to generate the greatest return are insulating the attic and replacing the entry door. Again, these are things that may not be seemingly obvious. From a buyer’s perspective, both are things that will be nice to have in good shape when they get their new home. It’s one less thing for them to think about as a new homeowner.

Once you’ve given your place a new paint job and are done updating the attic and entry door, what’s next? It’s time to get outside.

Get Outside

Curb appeal is crucial to creating buyer demand for your property. The outside of your house is, after all, the first thing your prospective buyer will see when they visit for a viewing or open house.

A well-maintained lawn, trimmed bushes and colorful plants and flowers will all work to create a positive emotional reaction to your property from prospective buyers. A fresh coat of paint also helps just as much outside as indoors. Consider also some special touches. These could include putting up a new mailbox, or installing a new address plate or house number. Adding exterior lights to the entryway is also another option. A well-lit entrance also signifies a place of safety and a sense of security. This can be an added plus in the mind of your buyer.

Putting some attention on the exterior of your house is also worth it. There are often larger returns on these types of updates than others. Stone veneer is another great update choice for outside. It is relatively low cost, but can often look almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

What Not To Do When Getting A Home Ready To Sell

With so many potential update options to choose from, how can you avoid wasting any money or time? It’s true that most upgrades will add some kind of value to your property. But there are a few things you can avoid altogether to maximize your return.

Decks are the exception. They are almost always going to add value to your property. But most midrange and upscale additions likely aren’t worth your while if the sole purpose is for selling. (If you plan to live in your home for a few more years and could enjoy the outcome of a major renovation yourself, it’s different). But for the most part, large additions likely won’t be worth it in the long run if you’re looking to generate the most from your sale. It is true that the outside of your house is important. But fancy patios or fire pits are extras that very likely won’t bring you much bang for your buck.

Stylistic choices are another area in which to tread with caution. You should avoid spending too much time and money on a particular style in the kitchen or bathroom. Specific stylistic choices for these important areas of the home could actually turn off buyers. You also never want your home to appear overly dated. When in doubt, neutral and timeless is always the way to go.

Preparing For A Viewing

When it comes time for a viewing, make sure all your personal belongings, such as photos and souvenirs, aren’t visible. It’s important to ensure your home does not appear cluttered. But perhaps more importantly, you don’t want your home to look overly personal. Photos and mementos that are of sentimental value to you are meaningless to prospective buyers. Your goal when getting your home ready to sell is to create a space that possible buyers can picture living in. If it looks ‘lived in’ already by the time they arrive, buyers will have a much harder time imagining your home as their own.

The importance of de-cluttering doesn’t just apply to areas that are visible either. Organization of all spaces is essential, including your closets. Closets should be tidy and relatively clear so as to create the idea of lots of storage space. You want your house to look as open and neutral as possible. This is to allow a buyer to imagine what they could do with the space if they were living there.

A list of what to prioritize and what not to do when you get ready to sell your home

The Bottom Line

Major renovations or lofty home improvement projects may not be the way to go to get the best possible return on your home sale. Instead, focus on the little things. They may seem small, but they can have a big impact on your final selling price.

Ready to sell your home? A reliable Realtor ® who can provide insight on the specifics of your property can be incredibly helpful. A local expert who understands buyer demands and desires in your area will be able to help you create a strategic plan for any updates your property may need before you sell.

At SoldNest, our real estate agents work on salary as opposed to commission. This means that you will never experience a high-pressure sales pitch from us. Instead, we want to help you with each and every step of your home sale, from day one to closing day. Our goal is to provide valuable tips as you get ready to sell your home. We know it’s a challenging and sometimes stressful task. We also know that the right digital marketing and targeting can generate a much higher sales price than the standard advertising practices of most traditional real estate agents.

If you have questions about getting your home ready to sell, we can help. We’ll provide an accurate home value so you can know how much your home is really worth. By paying less for better service, you’ll be well on your way to getting your home ready to sell.