How to Sell a House

Preparing For the Spring Real Estate Market – Part 1. Getting Your House Ready For Sale

The best time to sell your house is spring and early summer.  There are more homes for sale in Eastern Colorado and there are more home buyers looking for deals.  According to the National Association of Realtors sales in April through July out pace the entire rest of the year.  If you have been considering selling your home, preparations should begin in January or February.  As you are about to see, there is a lot to do…

Curb Appeal – Your Home’s Outside Appearance

Quietly stand in the street in front of you home (don’t get hit buy a passing car) and look at your house.  Don’t look with the eyes of a weary homeowner, but rather look with the critical eye of a prospective buyer.  What do you see?  Here is a list of items that may need to be addressed:

Easy and Inexpensive:

  • Power wash home exterior
  • Power wash driveway
  • Wash windows
  • Mow the lawn and edge the sidewalks
  • Trim the hedges
  • Clean and rehang the gutters and downspouts
  • Spot repair shingles, siding, shutters, etc.
  • Paint the front door
  • Buy and display some bright flowers in pots and gardens
  • Keep your garage door closed

More Extensive Work:

  • Paint the house
  • Replace old and worn shingles
  • Repair and paint or replace the fence
  • Repair crumbling foundations and walkways
  • Fill potholes and reseal driveway
  • Replace/repaint mailbox

Do all of the same things in the backyard including getting rid of any old cars, RV’s, boats and broken down garden furniture while the house is on the market.

Now Open the Garage

Is this where your nightmare begins?

Easy and Inexpensive:

  • Power wash the floor
  • Remove clutter (at this point you may be thinking about renting a storage unit, that’s a good thought!)
  • Neatly hang tools and equipment
  • Repair holes in walls
  • Tighten and lubricate garage door

More Extensive Work:

  • Paint/Reseal floor
  • Paint walls
  • Hang and paint drywall

An empty garage gives the impression of lots of available storage space – so aggressively remove clutter.

Your Home’s Interior

Now go stand in the front door and peer inside.  This is the first impression prospective buyers will get of your home.  Is it clean? Free of clutter? Welcoming? Time to get busy!

Easy and Inexpensive:

  • Clean, Clean, Clean! (You may want to consider hiring professionals every other week while your home is on the market)
  • Shampoo Carpets
  • Wax floors
  • Wash windows
  • Remove clutter, stacks of stuff, toys etc.
  • Fix cracks and holes in walls
  • Repair loose wallpaper
  • Open windows and blinds
  • Repair dripping faucets
  • Remove mildew and discolorations
  • Replace cabinet knobs and hardware
  • De-clutter kitchen countertops
  • Clean out and store almost everything in your closets
  • Make all beds everyday
  • Replace/repair light bulbs and fixtures
  • Service HVAC
  • Re-caulk sinks and tubs

More Extensive Work:

  • Repaint in neutral tones
  • Replace Carpet
  • Reseal floors
  • Upgrade cabinet doors
  • Replace grout and/or tiling
  • Repair causes of leaks in attics and basements

Many people hire home inspectors to evaluate a house before purchasing. It’s a good idea to keep receipts for any extensive work that you do.  For example, if you repair a leaking roof, the prospective buyer (and their home inspector) can see a reputable contractor performed the work.

The amount of elbow grease you put into preparing the house for sale will easily come back to you when you sell.  The issue of spending money on extensive repair/construction work is a little more difficult to estimate.  If you spend $7,000 re-carpeting your home will you recover those costs?  Should you offer a $5000 carpeting allowance instead?  These types of questions should be discussed with your realtor, which brings us to the next article in the series, Choosing Your Realtor and Setting the Price

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