This is the first in a series on Selling a Home in the Iowa City Area. It’s not uncommon for sellers who work with me to call to ask for advice on what they need to do before listing their homes for sale. Often they are first time sellers who didn’t know where to start, or alternatively had lived in the house a very long time and needed advice on how it works to sell a home in a very different real estate market than they remember. This series will cover some of the questions I’ve had from sellers in Iowa City.
Preparing Your Home for A Quick Sale
Declutter and Clean
Those are the two words you’ll see in every article you read on preparing a house for sale. That sounds easy enough, and yet apparently it isn’t. It’s hard for sellers to see their houses or condos from a neutral standpoint. (in other words, to put their buyer’s hat on). They love their homes as they are and often times need an outsider to come and tell them what needs doing. If you’re a seller who falls into that category, then calling a good agent should be your first step before you consider listing your home for sale.
Painting rooms in fresh, neutral colors is the best thing you can do to expedite the sale of your home. It’s a fact that homes that sell fast sell at a higher price – Painting your house is the most affordable way of ensuring a good return on investment, (ROI), when you list your home for sale.
Clean or Replace Carpets / Floors
Whether you clean or replace the carpets depends on a number of factors. If your carpet is worn, or has seen a lot of action from small children or pets, then replacing it is probably the way to go. Replacing a carpet isn’t as affordable as painting though, so talking to a real estate agent is a good idea before taking this step. You want to be sure it has a positive impact on the sale. If it doesn’t then it might be better to go the cleaning route.
Catch Up on Maintenance
As home owners we don’t always stay on top of maintenance items in the home – And buyers notice everything! Chipped paint, leaky faucets, doors that don’t close easily or squeak. These are all routine maintenance items that can be fixed quickly and really help with the overall well-maintained picture that sellers want to present buyers when their house goes on the market.
Spruce Up Outdated Fixtures
This one gets you points for effort. Buyers like updated, move in ready homes. Even if you haven’t done a lot of updating you can still make a good impression by adding a few simple updates for effect. New light fixtures in important rooms like the kitchen and living room is a good example. New faucets in the bathrooms or kitchen another. The idea isn’t to spend a lot of money, just to spruce your house up a bit with some eye catching accents.
How About That Curb Appeal?
What buyers see when they get out of the car in front of your house is important. A well-maintained yard is a must. Then there’s the entry way. That should also be clean and inviting. A pet peeve of mine is trash cans in front of the house. That’s fine when a house is not on the market. When it is, then the trash can needs to be in the garage if possible, and if not then at the side of the house out of sight.
These tips will help sellers in Iowa City get started on how to prepare a house before listing it for sale. Even in the active market that we currently have in the Iowa City area, it doesn’t pay to cut corners. One observation I can make from my experience as an Iowa City real estate broker is that buyers in general have very little vision. The majority of buyers are looking for move in ready and need to be able to imagine themselves in your home. They won’t be able to do that if there are too many distractions. Preparing your home properly before listing it for sale is a very important first step to getting your home sold!