Are you planning to sell your home this year? Market conditions are great for sellers. Chicago continues to experience a seller’s market. A seller’s market indicates more buyers in relation to the supply of homes available. The median sales price is higher and the days on market is lower. Of course, market conditions vary for the different neighborhoods and suburbs in the Chicago area but overall it’s a great time to sell.
If you are planning to sell your home this year, there are steps you can take now to prepare your home for the market.
Preparing your home to sell often starts with decluttering. You are moving from having your space reflect the way you live to making it attractive to potential home buyers. You are also preparing your home to be photographed for internet marketing.
Go through each room in your house. Kitchen and bathroom counters should be cleared as much as possible. Organize and clean out drawers, closets, the basement and garage. Edit, if necessary, the amount of stuff displayed on bookshelves and pictures. You are looking to de-personalize your space and make it feel as spacious as possible.
One note, don’t pile a bunch of boxes in the basement or garage that take up a significant amount of the space. It interferes with the buyer’s perception of the available space in your home. This is a good time to purge and donate those items you don’t want rather than move them along to your new home. It might also be worth renting a small storage unit.
In addition to decluttering, you will want to do a “deep” clean of your home. One of the biggest turn-offs for buyers is a dirty home. A dirty home to some buyers is an indicator of other maintenance that might have been neglected. You will also need to maintain the cleanliness while the home is on the market. If you are not a good housekeeper (or don’t have the time), it may be worth the cost to hire a temporary cleaning service.
In addition to dirt, you want to do a smell test. Heavy cigarette smoke and pet smells will cause your home to sit on the market and probably decrease the value of your home to buyers. If you can, address the issue before putting your home on the market.
COMPLETE UNFINISHED PROJECTS AND REPAIRS
This is a good time to complete those projects started but not finished. Buyers notice everything. You don’t want anything to diminish the value of your home in the eyes of those viewing your home. So, if the roof was replaced or fixed years ago and there are still water stains on the ceiling, paint the ceiling. If the sink is leaking, call the plumber or fix it. It might also be a good idea to get the furnace serviced.
Finally, check your basement for any signs of foundation cracks or seepage. I’ve shown homes where there is seepage in the basement. The problem might be minor, but buyers won’t necessarily see it that way and neither will the home inspector or appraiser. Foundational issues could also create problems with potential buyers getting financing. Schedule a foundation inspection and find out for sure if there is an issue. Deal with it now rather than later.
UPDATE OR FRESHEN YOUR HOME
Another part of making your home more attractive to potential buyers is making your home feel less dated. Paint the walls with a neutral color, get the carpet steam cleaned or replace it if it is really soiled. There are also some cheap updates like new bedding and towels, replacing the kitchen faucet, a new bathroom vanity or how about new pillows for the sofa. Edit any accessories that scream dated. Lastly, remove the old wallpaper or wallpaper borders. A small investment in updating can increase the appeal of your home to buyers.
Don’t forget the exterior of your home. Many buyers will see your home online and drive by before having their agent schedule an appointment. If the outside of your home is a turn-off, many won’t ever make an appointment to see the inside. Spring time is great for pulling the weeds, cleaning the gutters, trimming the bushes and adding fresh mulch. A good power wash can make a big difference for your siding or deck. You also want to check for peeling paint around the windows or doors. Oh, and don’t forget the backyard.
If the plan is to buy a new home, you will want to talk to a lender about getting pre-approved now. The last thing you want to do is sell your home and then have problems getting a loan for your new home. Getting pre-approved early will let you deal with any possible issues and let you know how much you’ll be able to spend on your next home.
GET MARKET VALUE ANALYSIS
Finally, you will also want to get a market analysis of your home early so there won’t be any surprises there. It’s still important to price your home right and you want an estimate of how much you can expect to net from the sale.
Preparing your home now will reduce some of the stress that comes with selling your home. These items are not meant to be a huge investment. However, a little money and time spent now can help your home sell faster and for more money.
As stated above, this is a great time to sell. If you are thinking about selling your Chicago area home, please give me a call so we can discuss.