Sellers always want to know the best way to prepare their home before selling to give them the most value. But, they don’t want to dump a ton of money into a home they’ll be leaving. As a buyer’s & seller’s agent, I see both sides. I understand the seller’s perspective. I also see what buyers notice when they walk up to a house for the first time.
That’s why I’m giving you a list of seller hacks to prepare for. You don’t want to be handed a to-do list by your Realtor 2 weeks before you list your home. That causes stress & unexpected expenses you were not prepared for. Thinking about selling this spring? Here’s what you need to do in order to add the value you want without breaking the bank.
Seller Hacks: Landscaping
The FIRST thing that buyers notice when they pull up to a house is the exterior & landscaping. Duh. Is the yard maintained? Has the roof and gutters been cleaned off? Does it look like the seller cares about the entrance of their house? All questions that run through the buyers heads. While you don’t need to pay for an expensive lawn care service or to sod your entire yard, you do need to spruce it up.
Plant some flowers once the last frost has happened.
Rake any leaves and debris from the yard.
Clean your gutters out, or hire a professional to do this.
Touch up window boxes.
Once the grass starts growing, maintain it.
All of these to-dos should be on your to-do list anyway! You want the first impression of your home to be that of pleasant surprise. Invite friends over to help on a warm Saturday or hire the neighborhood kids to help after school! You don’t need to budget for landscaping, but it is a really important feature. Consider adding a landscape company to the budget for a few months in order to leave the work & worry to someone else!
Seller Hacks: Major Systems
Depending on the age and functionality of your major systems & appliances, consider having them serviced or replaced. It’s always a good idea to have your systems serviced each year. If you haven’t in a while, have technicians come out to inspect the system. The buyer’s inspector will do this anyway, and you won’t want to be surprised if there are unknown issues.
Another consideration, if your systems are older, is to replace them. I’m not saying that you have to replace a fully functioning system, especially one that’s serviced regularly, but think about it. When a buyer hears that a system is on its way out, they will most likely be asking for a credit from you for when that time comes. If a seller has just replaced a system, that’s a huge selling point that adds tremendous value for buyers.
Seller Hacks: Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and a huge attraction for most buyers. This is my favorite of my seller hacks because I’ve seen how it can transform the space. When a kitchen is outdated, or unclean, it doesn’t give a buyer that warm, welcome home feeling. Easy ways to update your kitchen:
Replace & update cabinet hardware
Paint your cabinets (unless you have beautiful, expensive wooden ones)
Replace your light fixtures with warmer lights
Add some herbs to your window or counter top for an organic touch
You don’t have to do a full kitchen reno – you’d be surprised how these little details change the space! Take a before and after picture to see the difference!
Sewer & Well Inspections
Most buyers perform their own septic & well inspections, if applicable, when buying a home. However, as the seller, it’s always a good idea to perform your own inspection & have your septic pumped prior to listing your home.
It gives you peace of mind that no surprise major issues will arise if the buyer chooses to perform their own inspections. What’s more is that you have trust in the inspector who you choose, instead of going on the word of the buyer’s inspector. It also shows the buyers that you are willing to spend a little extra to perform your own due diligence, which can increase their trust in the rest of the inspections with you.
Although it may seem silly to perform your own inspections before your buyer does, but it can end up saving you $$!
Odds & Ends
As both a buyer’s & seller’s agent, I see a lot of homes. The goal for a seller is to sell, and the buyer to buy. In order to complete that transaction, the buyer has to be attracted to the seller’s home. Here are some pro tips I’ve learned & seen that can make this process an instant success:
- Finish odd jobs: started a DIY project or value-adding home improvement? Finish it! Buyer’s don’t want to walk into a house and see a half-finished job that they will have to fit into their schedule. Finish it yourself, hire someone, but don’t show your house without it being completed.
- Weird smells, no go: Have dogs/ cats? Bathe them, wash the carpets, blankets & fabrics they lay on. Musty, old rugs or carpets? Get rid of them. Trash? Take it out. Fill your house with fresh scents with candles, stovetop potpourri, or fresh flowers.
- Safety hazards: if you can see or smell mold or mildew, it’s going to be a no from me. No buyer is going to buy your home with mold – so clean it up! Get it mitigated by a professional & keep the report.
- Simplify, declutter & organize: this is a huge one. During pictures, open houses, & showings, clean your shit up. Do not leave toys, random papers, food, or dishes around your home. Treat it as if you’re throwing a party & clean. No one wants to cluttered surfaces, messy spaces or uncleanliness. Tidy up!
Once you’ve listed your home, it’s showtime. Keep your home fresh, clean & tidy. While there are plenty more seller hacks, these are the main ones I like my clients to focus on. Once I walk-through your home, I’ll give you a list of the to-dos you should do in order to get your home in selling shape! Once you list, you never know if the next person to walk through that door will be putting an offer in, so don’t give them any reason to think twice!