It’s not shocking news that the housing market has been less than stellar for several years now. While it’s getting slightly better, according to The National Association of Realtors, existing home sales rose 1%-2% in 2011, it still may not be an ideal time to put your home on the market. But what happens when home sales improve more drastically and you’re not ready to put your home on the market? What might you be missing out on by delaying your home sale? Now is the time make sure your home is ready for prospective buyers.
First and foremost, number one rule, I can’t emphasize this enough…DECLUTTER! Prospective home buyers don’t want to see rooms stuffed to the brim with what they will probably consider junk. While it may be important to you, or maybe just seem important, it’s a strike against you for almost every prospective buyer. Take some time to review your possessions. If you haven’t used, looked at, touched, etc. it in over a year, get rid of it. Obviously sentimental items have special rules but consider how sentimental they are to you now. Did something hold value 5 or 10 years ago but now you can’t even remember why it held that value? One thing to keep in mind is that getting rid of things doesn’t have to mean putting on the curb for garbage pickup. If the item is in good condition, might be something someone else might want or need and if you’re willing to spend the time and possibly selling fee, you might consider placing an ad on craigslist, selling on eBay or holding a garage sale. Most items can also be donated to Goodwill and the like. Not only will decluttering help with prospective buyers but it will make your eventual move easier.
Next, review the condition of your home. If a fresh coat of paint is in order, or maybe there is some mildew buildup in a shower that requires new tile, create a schedule and budget to tackle some do-it-yourself projects. You would be surprised at how far your dollar will go with prospective buyers. Their ability to move into a home without having to do projects themselves will likely go a long, long way. However, keep in mind, you will want to take yourself out of design selections a bit. Choose neutral colors that prospective buyers will feel comfortable placing their possessions in. That doesn’t mean paint and tile everything beige. There are so many beautiful, neutral colors out there that most people would love. If you’re unsure what colors to go with, Fuchsia can provide several color palettes for your review as part of our design services. A fresh coat of paint on the exterior can go a long, long way as well. There’s a reason the phrase “curb appeal” came into being, make sure your home has it. Also, leaky faucets, blocked duct registers, broken light fixtures, etc. should be repaired. Again, prepare a schedule and budget to help you tackle the problems when you can afford both the time and money to complete.
Lastly, review the need for significant remodels or additions. Typically, they do not create a return on investment that will recoup more than the construction costs. The money you put into your home to prepare it for sale should not only be able to be recouped in the sale, hopefully with profits, but also make your home more desirable to prospective buyers. Talk to your realtor to find out the return on investment for remodels and additions in your area. It is likely that it won’t be 100%. So decide what figure you are comfortable with then decide if the time, energy and monetary impact are worth it. Keep in mind, however, that they may say an addition or remodel is almost required. For instance, if you have a four bedroom, one bath home, it is possible that prospective buyers will bypass your home without even stepping foot in it. Starting significant projects well before you are ready to put your home on the market allows you to break them into small phases, potentially some that can be done by your rather than requiring a contractor.
The nice thing about starting to prepare your home now, even if it will be several months to year before you put your home on the market, is that you can control the time and money expenditures in a way that will be of the least burden to you. It will give you time to plan not only what you do but how you do it, giving yourself time to design a space that prospective buyers will fall in love with. Of course, if design isn’t your forte, you can always contact Fuchsia for all your residential design needs.