There are a lot of reasons to be selling a home, and if selling your home is in your plans, there’s a lot you can do to get your home ready—even if you don’t plan to sell until next year.
By the way—next year is an election year, so if you are planning on selling—now is the time. It is a seller’s market, prices are excellent, and demand is high! Election cycles create an unknown market atmosphere, which can easily slow things down while people wait for outcomes.
We suggest starting with a “To-Do” list. Here are 6 things you can start doing now, so when the For Sale sign goes up, you and your home are set up for success!
1. Connect with a professional real estate agent
Realtors help provide comprehensive market information for your community and your home. Facts are facts, and to price effectively, we give you all the information you need to be confident in the right price. Over-pricing can cause delays in selling, and can ultimately go down a road of finally selling for less money than you could have received if priced right from the start. There is magic in right-pricing—and real estate agents know the area, the sales trends, and the specifics needed to consider based on your individual home. The Internet go-to real estate sites rely on broad assumptions from large areas, and have complex algorithms that don’t take your home attributes and nuances into consideration. There are wild swings in accuracy—and there is no need for that if you have a knowledgeable agent who has in-depth knowledge on your local housing market and keeps up with trends on a daily basis.
Florida Plus Realty’s agents can help you evaluate what home fixes and updates to invest in that bring you dollar to dollar returns. Our agents have decades of experience in Central Florida real estate, and can offer suggestions of local businesses and contractors who can help you get any work that’s needed done well and efficiently.
2. Broken? Fix it! Looking shabby? Replace it!
Grab a piece of paper and a pen and take a walk around your home—inside and out. Take note of the things that are broken, out of place, or not looking top notch. Your agent can help you target the things that are important to buyers. A tidy, well maintained home sends a message to buyers that your home has been loved over the years. When it comes to small repairs like a leaky faucet, bad light bulb, or loose toilet handle, take the time to remedy these things—then your buyer won’t be tallying them up on their offer price.
Some quick hits that make a big impression: replace old fixtures, check your lighting – overhead, ceiling fans and wall sconces, replace outdated mirrors, towel bars, and maybe even the TP holders! Look at your wall plates and cabinet hardware – more quick and easy replacements. These are some touches that make sure your home feels more modern and up-to-date.
3. Clean! Clean! Clean! And Then, Clean Some More!
You know what turns potential buyers off faster than a bolt of lightning? A dirty or cluttered house! Clean and organize every nook and cranny of your home, including the closets, the attic, and any other space a potential buyer will view. If you have lived in your home for many years, start early, one drawer at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Organize, toss, and donate to charity. Consider bringing in a cleaner whose specialty is deep cleaning for home sales—it is less expensive than you might imagine.
Pets? You love them, and we love them, and maybe your buyer will—but maybe they won’t. Eliminate as much evidence as possible before you start showing the house. If possible, take your pets on a walk or a ride when your house is being shown.
4. Remove Yourself and Cut that Cord!
Take a walk around the house and carry an empty box. Fill the box with anything that says, “This is MY house.” Remove picture frames, photos, knick-knacks, trophies, mementos, collections, and personal gifts. Potential buyers need to be able to envision the home as their home, and it is challenging to do that when they are looking at an array of your personal items and photos.
Don’t stop there! Declutter every room, one-by-one. If it’s not serving a purpose, then get rid of it! That includes accessories, tchotchkes, and even furniture. If you don’t plan on including something attached to the house, remove it and replace it. An example. Your grandfather’s hand-carved mantle over the fireplace is a treasure you want to take with you: take it down now and replace it with a standard mantle. If a potential buyer sees it, they will expect it to be there when they move in.
5. Cinderella Needs to Get Ready for the Ball!
Consider your home “Cinderella,” and she needs to get ready for the Ball! Plan on keeping your house “listing ready,” so that you don’t have to worry about each buying appointment that is made. You also want to put the best slipper on when the photos and film are being taken for social media, real estate sites, and marketing material. Online is where the majority of buyers start their search.
There are many inexpensive things you can do with little effort to improve the look of your house. A fresh coat of neutral paint appeals to most buyers. If the carpet hasn’t been cleaned, get it professionally done. Detail clean and wax your kitchen and bathroom floors. New throw rugs, bathroom towels, pillows for beds, and other small touches, are well worth the cost.
The front yard is the first glimpse potential buyers get of the home—check your curb appeal. Drive around the neighborhoods in your area and see what you find striking—flowers, plants, rock beds—a first impression is highly important.
6. Establish a Deadline for Yourself!
In the 55+ markets in Florida, peak season begins when the weather starts to cool. Snowbirds come back in October, and season ramps up to frenzy by Jan – May. In our demographic, however, people head to Florida when they retire, and there is no season for that. Once people are free and ready to start their best years, it doesn’t matter if it is the heat of summer, or the chilly 60 winters.
The most important thing is to sell your home when you are ready, and when your house is ready to go on the market. You want to give yourself a reasonable deadline that makes you feel comfortable. Then, stick with that deadline. This way, your house will be at its best when it hits the market!
When you are ready to sell your home, no matter what time of year, give Florida Plus Realty agents a call for a free consultation and home valuation. Regardless if you are just starting to think about selling, or ready to pack up and move in two months, our specialists care about your personal circumstances. We tailor a selling and moving plan around you.
Our team of real estate professionals are here to help. So, give us a call or stop by one of our local offices for a cup of coffee and conversation!