Downsizing for a move to senior living often means selling your home, something that requires a fair amount of diligence to get the most from the sale. If it’s been years since you’ve been in the real estate market, here are expert tips to help you prepare your home for sale.
Make repairs and updates
No home is perfect and you probably have a number of repairs and/or improvements that should be completed when you prepare your home for sale. Start outdoors fixing or improving the roof, siding, porch, deck and patio; trim trees and bushes; and clean up the garden to add curb appeal. You might also want to consider some of the extra touches described in Better Homes and Gardens’ 26 Easy Exterior Updates to Boost Curb Appeal on a Budget.
Once you’ve finished preparing your home for sale on the outside, you can then move on to the inside. We recommend making a list of everything that needs to be done (e.g. fixing nicks and cracks, replacing appliances, cleaning or replacing flooring). A list will help you stay on track and determine projects you’ll hire a professional for and complete yourself. Your list should include a fresh coat of paint in every room. According to the Bob Vila’s Solved! Should I Paint My House Before Selling It?, painting interior walls can add as much as 3% to the sale price, and it’s a project you can probably do yourself. When painting it’s also smart to choose neutral colors and make a point of painting rooms or walls with unusual colors that may not appeal to some potential buyers.
Find the right real estate agent
Another key to a successful sale is finding the right real estate agent. It’s best to find a real estate agent sooner rather than later. Not only can you move on with selling your house quicker, but a real estate agent can help you identify repairs/improvements that need to be done to prepare your home for sale.
One of the best ways to find a great real estate agent is to ask friends, family and neighbors who have recently sold a property who they recommend and why. Another option is to take stock of for sale signs in your neighborhood and jot down the names of agents. If you have time, you might also attend open houses in your area to meet agents and get a feel for their expertise, style and competence. For an in-depth look at choosing a real estate agent Realtor.com’s How to Find a Real Estate Agent: Where to Look and What to Ask offers great tips.
When you’ve narrowed down your list of potential realtors, arrange for an appointment to speak with them in-person or by virtual meeting or phone. Use the opportunity to learn about their experience and have your questions answered.
Although some real estate agents have experience representing buyers and seller, some may only be experienced in buying or selling. Therefore, it’s too your advantage to go with a real estate agent who has extensive selling experience.
Consider staging your home
Staging is another excellent option to prepare your home for sale. While presenting an uncluttered and clean home for potential buyers is essential, staging takes the process further, so all the best aspects of your home can shine, and its flaws are minimized. Based on the fundamental rules of interior design, staging often involves several steps that make each room appear its best.
Removing most personal items (e.g. keepsakes, family photos) is one of the first staging steps to prepare your home for sale. This is also a good time to determine the belongings you do and do not want to take with you. Our blog post, Downsizing Tips That Aren’t Overwhelming, can help you sort through your stuff. In bathrooms and kitchens, staging requires spotless and empty counters as well as clean cupboards and appliances.
Rearranging and, possibly, replacing furniture is another staging step that’s done to prepare your home for sale. This step helps potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the home. This is also a good time to update décor with simple additions like colorful throw pillows, new drapes or shades, better lighting and new rugs. Also pay attention to details like cleaning fingerprints off molding and light switches, washing windows and glass light fixtures and replacing burned-out light bulbs.
If you aren’t sure where to begin with staging, your real estate agent should be able to help and there are also professional home staging experts available to help prepare your home for sale. According to Forbes’ Is Home Staging Worth It?, the cost to stage your home professionally ranges from approximately $600 to more than $2,000 with a national average of just over $1,400. On the upside, staging can help your home sell faster and even increase offers by as much as 5% compared to similar homes that weren’t staged.
When you do what it takes to prepare your home for sale (i.e. repairing/improving both the outside and inside of the home, finding the right real estate agent and staging your home) it will pay off and you’ll be in a better position to enjoy living in a carefree resort-like senior living community, like Lutheran Village at Miller’s Grant.