Spring has traditionally been the kickoff to the home selling season, but coming off a year when there didn’t seem to be an off-season, those old rules may no longer apply.
What does apply, however, is that if you are considering putting your home on the market, there are things you should do BEFORE that happens.
- Meet with a Realtor. As a homeowner you have a product—your house—and the best way to sell it is to know what the market for it is and how best to price and package it. That’s why a hyper-local Realtor should be your first step in getting ready to sell. He or she can tell you what similar homes are selling for in your area, what cosmetic things you should consider doing to improve its sell-ability and walk you through some of these other suggestions.
- Declutter. Letting go is hard to do but necessary when it comes to preparing your house to market. Less stuff makes it seem like your home has more space and makes it easier for potential buyer to imagine it as their home. If can’t entirely let go, then relocate those files, knickknacks, boxes and hardly-ever-worn clothes to a storage unit. The cost of renting it will pay off in the long run.
- Work with a stager. In a recent report by the National Realtors Association, 47% of buyers’ agents cited that home staging affected most buyers’ view of a home and 82% said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. That’s the effect you want so that’s why I provide a free consultation with a stager as part of my service when listing a house with a client. Often the suggestions concern rearrangement of furniture, areas that need to be decluttered, decorative touches to add to curb appeal and an inviting welcome.
- Make needed repairs. You want to eliminate as many objections a buyer might have BEFORE you start showing your home. This again is an area a Realtor can help you with in determining the repairs you should tackle and even referring you to experts to get the job done!
- Consider upgrades. This again is a judgement call, best made with the advice of your Realtor. Market conditions will determine how much, if any, upgrades are needed. First place to look would be worn or stained carpets or fresh paint on dark or marred walls. On the other end of the spectrum are major renovations like updating your kitchen or master bath. But again, in a seller’s market like we saw in 2021, those type of upgrades might not have been necessary.
- Clean, clean, clean. If you don’t already, this might be the time you hire a professional as well as specialists to tackle things like the carpets and windows. Ask your Realtor to do a smell check. Often when we live with odors from pets or moisture, we become immune to them. But I can tell you, a bad house smell can often be the biggest turnoff to a potential buyer so insist your Realtor be brutally honest with you. Better to address the situation BEFORE you start getting that feedback from buyers’ agents.
- Increase your curb appeal. Do a drive-by and see what potential buyers might see—overgrown shrubs, moss on the roof, cracks in the asphalt driveway, bald spots in the lawn. Since homes with high curb appeal tend to sell for an average of 7% more than similar homes with an uninviting exterior it’s worth your time and money to clean things up and spiff them up as well with decorative planters, colorful flowers, power-washing, a newly painted front door or an updated garage door.
- Get an inspection. Again, this is a judgement call, depending on the status of your home and how competitive the market is. Once a buyer’s offer is accepted, he or she will conduct a home inspection but if you’ve already done so, you’ll know in advance what issues might surface and can address them ahead of time if you wish. The fewer surprises once things get rolling, the smoother your home selling process will be.
- Consider putting your house on the market sooner rather than later. While typically sellers wait until late March or later to hang out the For Sale sign, inventory right now, especially in Lake Oswego, is at one of its lowest so it might be good advice to get in early.
If you’re thinking of selling your home, let me be your first step in order to make all the other steps that much easier and more productive. I’ve been helping people buy and sell homes in Lake Oswego for over 30 years and I’d love to put that experience to work for you. Give me a call at 503.939.9801, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or check out my website and I’d be happy to meet with you.