A lot goes into selling your home, especially if you’re getting ready to PCS. I have a few tips and advice to help make this process smooth and easy for you and your family!
When we sold our house before our PCS move to Japan, it was such a smooth process. At our first open house, we received two offers for the house! And while the house was in Escrow, the inspection came back with no problems and the appraisal was a piece of cake.
Looking back, I know there were a few things that really helped make the process of selling our home a walk in the park- and I’m going to share it all with you now.
Once you decide to sell your home, the reality is that it is no longer your home. Ok, I know you’re probably thinking, “What do you mean!? I haven’t even sold it yet, it’s still my home!” But just hear me out because believe me, it was really hard for me to train my mind to think like this at first too.
Have you ever gone in a model home, or seen homes in magazines? Isn’t it interesting that they always look like a place you can see yourself living in? That’s what we’re going for!
You have to think of what can please the buyers eye so they want to make an offer on the spot!
1. Declutter & Depersonalize.
Decluttering is the first stepping stone to help make your house presentable for open houses and showing when the time comes.
As soon as you make your decision to sell, you have to DEPERSONALIZE EVERYTHING in the home. This means taking down family pictures, decorations that are not neutral (we’ll talk more about this later) and clearing out items that can make a space look small.
A decluttered home sells faster than a cluttered home because it creates the illusion that your home is bigger than it is. It also gives the buyer a sense of trust that if the house is clean and clutter free, then it has been taken care of.
So take advantage of this time to go through items in each room/closet and donate anything that is of excess, you don’t use anymore and that take up too much space. The less items in a closet will show the buyers that there’s a lot of storage space.
Anything else you want to keep like pictures, seasonal items or any other excess, you should store them in bins or boxes in the garage and out of site until you move.
2. Decorate in the neutral.
Not everyone likes bold beautiful colors, so please everyones pallet you need to decorate you house in the neutral. How, you say? Well for starters, make sure your wall colors are neutral colors; ie. white, beige, light brown, light grey, etc.
I would suggest a lighter color neutral so that the natural light can bounce through you house, and create a more open feeling in the home.
If you have bold color curtains, I would probably take those down for now. I’m sure they’re beautiful but you don’t want to take a chance; switch them out for off white curtains or take them down all together.
As for decorations, keep it SIMPLE. If you have a bookshelf that takes up an entire wall, then store the books and shelf away (unless it’s built it). If you have a lot of items/decorations on top of your kitchen counter, pick 1 no more than 2 items that you want to display.
Also, try to keep walls bare with one large picture as a focal point.
3. Clearing items that can make a space look small.
Another trick to maximize your space is to move furniture around. Try to get an “open concept” in your home.
For instance, I had two large couches and two single chairs in my living room arranged in a semi-square look. In order for my home to have the “open concept”, I had to put my largest couch in the garage and rearranged my living room so that the two armchairs are across the medium sized couch; which left a large area for people to easily walk through.
I know it sounds silly, but taking furniture out of a space and rearranging it will help your house look more appealing to a buyer.
And if you are having trouble coping with removing furniture from your rooms like I did, just remember that it is only TEMPORARY and you will be able to have your favorite set up at your new home.
4. Create a clean environment.
Once you’re all done decluttering, decorating and clearing things out, top it off with a good vacuuming/mopping. You won’t believe how doing this small task can make your home look and feel like a “model home.” Make sure to do this before EVERY open house or showing, it makes a great statement when people first see your home.
5. To stage or not to stage.
There are two ways you can show your home- empty or furnished. We opted to show our home while it was still furnished. I’ve heard that it helps a buyer see themselves living in the home, rather than an empty home where they need to use their imagination.
All of the above steps will help set you up for step #6, and help you get ahead of the game when it comes time to “stage” the house. In our case, our realtor stated that she would stage our house for free; but since we did the steps listed above, there was no need for staging.
6. Do your math.
Sometimes it’s good to get some new appliances and upgrade items in your home for a sell, it can help make the place look new and can add to your appraisal value. That being said, sometimes it’s better to keep things as is so you don’t waste money in the process of selling. Confusing, I know..
For instance, we upgraded our carpet floors to hardwood and we also upgraded our front yard landscaping. We knew that hardwood would look better than our old carpet and that the front yard landscaping would help tremendously with curb appeal.
Before we did those upgrades, we looked at how much we owed on the house vs how much we anticipated we would get from selling. We found that we would be able to both do the upgrades and still have money left over (and more) after paying off the cards used for those upgrades. So for us, it was worth it.
Just make sure you outweigh the costs of upgrades vs the cost of your home. If you feel like the upgrades will help create value in the home then make sure you do your math.
7. Look at your competition.
Hop on Zillow or any similar Realestate website and get to researching. You want to look at houses in your area that are up for sale and who have sold in the last 3 months. This is what appraisers do to find out what “comps” (competition/competitors) your house has.
This is extremely important because no matter what anyone offers to buy your house for, it will all come down to the appraisal. so make sure you look at how much houses are going for in your area and how much they’ve sold for in the past 3 months.
It will also help you get your “asking price” at a decent amount that will be both competitive and appealing for buyers in the market.
9. Get some appeal.
The first couple of things that draw people to anyone’s home is the curb appeal, kitchen and floors. Now, if you don’t have the budget to upgrade those things, there are a bunch of things you can do yourself on the cheap!
Cleaning up your front yard from leaves, mowing the lawn and clearing the front porch is always nice to see when people first approach a home.
Painting your cabinets and changing out nobs can give any kitchen the sense of being “upgraded.”
If you have carpets get them shampooed, and if you have wood floors make them shine! It’s an easy and fast upgrade for your floors.
8. Unbiased opinion.
After you’ve done all of the above, it’s always best to have an outside look at your home with different eyes. People tend to overlook things that they would otherwise notice if it wasn’t pointed out by a friend, family member or stranger.
Have someone close to you (friend, outside family member, neighbor) come by your home and look around. Tell them to point out anything that they see as an eyesore or turnoff in your home, so you can fix it.
If they do point something out, you have to try your hardest not to get offended by it. After all, what they see is what others will see so in reality, they’re helping you out a lot.
10. Get a great realtor.
Our realtor was AH-MAZING! She was very prompt, helpful and informative. When you’re looking for a realtor, make sure you are comfortable with them, and make sure you go over any questions or expectations you have with them. This will help you see if they are the right fit for you.
And there you have it!
I hope this will help get you and your house ready to sell before you PCS. Wish you all the best of luck for selling your house.
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