Getting Your Beach Cities House Ready For Sale
Tips, Checklists & More Tips!
It's a classic dilema - how much time, money and effort should you put into getting your house ready to list, and will you get that money back? Here are some tips, checklists and bonus tips.
Renovate or spit polish?
“Polishes” and “touch ups” are what you should be aiming for when getting your house ready to list, not extensive and costly renovations. The more extensive and costly the changes, the bigger risk you run not getting your money back and making choices that might not appeal to everybody.
On the other hand, updating a kitchen might be a good investment. It really depends on the neighborhood and the timing of the sale.
As a beach cities real estate expert, I understand buyer expectations in your specific neighborhood, and I can advise you specifically on which improvements to make, and which improvements will get you the highest return on your investment. I also have a rolodex of professionals to help you get your improvements done.
Easy curb appeal improvements
Strong curb appeal can go a long way toward making up for other shortcomings with your property. If a buyer falls in love with the cute, clean and manicured house walking up the front walk, you've immediately shifted the internal conversation that prospective buyer is having in his or her head moving forward in the tour.
And don’t forget your backyard, too. A well-manicured front yard and a neglected back yard makes buyers wonder where else you're cutting corners. Here is your curb appeal checklist:
- Have the lawn edged, cut short and watered, and make arrangements to have this done weekly while the house is up for sale
- The same goes for trimming the hedges, weeding the lawn, weeding the flowerbeds and pruning the trees – in front AND in back
- Check your foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling
- Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint
- Clean and align gutters
- Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles
- Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking
- Re-seal your asphalt driveway
- Close your garage door and keep it closed
- Remove boats, RV’s and unused cars from your property
- Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door and new hardware
Looking good on the inside, too
Now that you have made a favorable impression on potential buyers with your curb appeal, don’t disappoint with the inside. A few simple “touches” and “polishes” here likewise translate into favorable impressions and higher offers. Another checklist:
- Thoroughly clean every room and remove all clutter, including excess children’s toys (edit down to the barest of essentials and then remove some more!)
- Make arrangements to have a professional cleaning service come in every 1-2 weeks while the house is up for sale
- Items you rarely use, but intend to keep, should be packed up and moved offsite (see Bonus Tip #1 below)
- Mend cracks, leaks and signs of dampness
- Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint and tiles
- Consider painting dingy, soiled or strongly colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as beige or off-white. Paint the ceiling and trim white for a sharp and clean contrast. Neutral colors make rooms appear larger and help prospective buyers picture their own belongings in your house.
- Use the same neutral palette strategy for floor coverings that you replace
- Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork
- Inspect and repair your plumbing, heating, cooling and alarm systems
- Repair dripping faucets and showerheads
- Buy and display showy, new towels in your bathroom(s) and kitchen
- If your kitchen needs major updating, give it a lift with new cabinet hardware, new curtains and/or a coat of neutral paint..
Bonus Tip #1:
The fewer belongings in your house and garage, the larger your space will look. Consider renting off-site storage for extra belongings while your house is on the market. Remember, buyers will also ask to see your garage. Stuffing the garage to the rafters will only give buyers the impression that the house is too small for an average family.
Bonus Tip #2:
Hold your moving sale BEFORE you put your house on the market.