With the spring real estate market right around the corner, potential sellers are starting to get their homes in shape for photographs as well as virtual and in-person tours. When we start advising a home seller, we create a list of recommended improvements and repairs. We then help decide which are the “must-do” items, based on factors such as time, scheduling and cost. Add on to this the past 10 months of sleeping, eating, working (or looking for work), schooling, and exercising at home; this means that chores and maintenance tasks may have taken the back seat to everyday survival. We also know that preparing a home for selling can be daunting in a non-pandemic world. Bearing that in mind, we’ve distilled the two home preparation tasks that can make the difference between a great sale and a major headache.
Clean your house It’s really as simple as that. Even a home with beat-up furnishings and dated appliances will benefit from a serious cleaning and tidying up. When confronted with messy, untidy, dirty homes, most people are turned off completely. If everything is neat, clean, and sparkling, it allows the eye to imagine the potential buyer’s life in the space. Mess and dirt distract. They send the very worst visual message; yet more than anything, they devalue and slow a transaction. A seller can roll up their sleeves and get scrubbing (for free), or else spend a relatively small amount of cash to hire professional help. Paint Yes, a good old-fashioned coat of paint in a neutral color can radically transform any indoor or exterior space. As with a messy home, home buyers can feel repulsed by an awkward shade of paint. Peeling paint gets similar “ugh” responses. These days, many sellers are taking advantage of virtual staging (we wrote a blog on it here), which solves the paint problem—at the initial stages. But when real, live people arrive at the home and see the difference between the virtual walls and the actual walls, they’re likely to run for the hills (and towards a neutrally-painted home). Depending on your finances, your paint change can range from a DIY job to one financed by our 0% interest loans from Compass’s Concierge program. Painting is truly a must for a well-prepared home for sale. And if you’re struggling to choose a color, Liz recommends Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist and Ellie recommends Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray.
A note about paying for preparations A seller can do much to enhance a property for marketing purposes, but often paying for them is not a possibility. With many people furloughed or laid off due to the pandemic economy, this speed bump can seem more like a mountain. Compass Concierge has been extraordinarily helpful in this regard, and sometimes even the cheapest fixes can make an enormous difference. Read here for more info on the Concierge program. The takeaway When a buyer visits a property these days, chances are they have visited it virtually online. A home that is, in reality, messy and/or painted with distracting colors is almost certain to deliver negative reactions that may lead to no offers, price reductions, and too much time on the market. Avoid these pitfalls by cleaning and painting your home and you will have a much better chance at a quick and lucrative sale.