7 Things to Do Before Listing Your Home for Sale

Stephanie Oliver
Published on May 15, 2021

7 Things to Do Before Listing Your Home for Sale

Getting ready to list your home for sale? Brace yourself for the challenge of appealing to as many potential buyers as possible, gauging the real estate pulse of your real estate market, and creating an attention-grabbing property listing. Yes, there’s a bit more to the selling process than merely relying on that “for sale” sign. However, with a small investment of your time and money, your home will be all set for reaping more rewards. Perusing this list of seven things to do before listing your home for sale will help your real estate listing fetch a higher sale price than what you initially hoped for and evoke the oohs and ahs of a larger buyer pool.

1. Sign on with a stellar listing agent

The very first thing on your home sale to-do list? Pairing up with a listing agent. Home sellers often make the mistake of taking the time and investing the money to fix up their home for sale even before having spoken to someone who can point them in the right direction. But it’s critical to chew this over with someone who has a deep understanding of your local market’s dynamics and the psychology of property marketing. The condition of your home, the neighborhood it is located in, and your competition are entirely unique. Therefore, the awareness about what buyers want and which property features sell best in your area will come in useful when the time comes to do any work.

That said, don’t just blindly enroll someone who most recently sent you a flyer or someone your friend’s uncle’s co-worker’s cousin chose to hire. Be sure to talk to several real estate agents before picking one who you decide will be a good fit.  

2. Declutter your heart out

We get it. It’s hard not to roll your eyes on this one. But try to think of it as getting a jump start on the packing. Plus, before listing your home for sale, you need to present it in its best light, and countertops of paper, piles of clothing lying around, scattered toys, or pet items hardly help the case. A clutter-free home speaks volumes about its owner, conveying to the buyer that the property was well cared for and in excellent condition. Secondly, stripping the whole square footage down to the basics will a greater emphasis on your home’s spaciousness, flow, and most valuable features. In other words, buyers will be able to focus on the actual home. Of course, giving everything a nice, big clean should go without saying.

Minimize your own presence in the home

In an ideal showing, your prospective buyers can see themselves calling your house “home”. Getting all signs of the previous owner’s everyday routine out of sight will help bring this vision to life. Plus, you will protect your personal information. 

This, however, might be the point where the whole situation gets too real, and the realization that you would soon have to let go of your home might hit you hard squarely on the face. While it is hard not to give in to sentimentality, try to shift your standpoint from a homeowner to a home seller and give yourself some time to process. 

3. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes

While on the subject of shifting the perspective, it’s helpful to try to put yourself in the buyers’ shoes. Before you start with ani home modification, repairs, and staging, do your research on what current buyers want. Anyone shelling out top dollar will have equally high expectations. Review online publications, and consider the layouts, color schemes, materials, and fixes that yield the highest ROI. Knowing what your buyers will be comparing your house to will give you a considerable edge before putting your home on the market. You can also pretend that you are the buyer. Do a walkthrough on your home, and think if you would be interested in purchasing it yourself. Looking at everything with a fresh pair of eyes could help you reveal any red flags or eyesores that could put the buyers off and figure out what would add value to your property.

4. Fix everything before listing your home for sale

Yes, it’s time to buckle on your tool belt and tackle any minor repairs, or otherwise call for professional help for the major ones. Inspections aren’t merely due diligence – they are your leverage when re-negotiating, especially in a buyer’s market. Fixing whatever needs fixing before you list your property for sale will attract more interest and help you avoid a deal falling apart over some issues you could’ve fixed right from the start. Repair anything obvious and eye-catching, and focus on home improvements and repairs that add the most value. However, avoid any extensive remodeling work before you sell. People have different tastes, and you may not get the full return on your investment of an extensive remodel. Finally, don’t forget about your curb appeal, and then extend the idea to landscaping. This way, you’ll make sure everything is ready for the showing.

5. Portray a lifestyle that buyers want to have

Home staging has proven to be a highly effective marketing technique because it turns the property into something that will appeal to the larger buyer pool and sell quickly. Besides depersonalizing and decluttering your home, this will include:

  • Keeping the décor neutral. Steer away from any shocking color palettes, but an all-white or all-beige wall as well. Also, avoid divisive décor, such as any political or religious items, as well as any other items the buyer could find offensive.
  • Furnishing your home. Unfurnished rooms tend to feel a lot smaller than they actually are. Plus, the buyers are more likely to notice any flaws when a house is vacant and get an impression that it needs a lot more work. On the other hand, remove any ill-sized, damaged, or incompatible pieces of furniture and arrange the rest so that it flatters the space.
  • Staying timeless. Pillows or curtains that add pops of color to the interior are great, but make sure to avoid anything too trendy. If you need someone who can draw the line and point you in the right direction, a professional stager is a wise decision.

6. Think S.M.A.R.T.

Selling your home in 2021 will be different from the years past. COVID-19 might leave a big question mark in your mind, but the real estate industry is doing very well. However, with people trying to avoid close contact with one another, technology is ten times more important now than it was before in real estate industry marketing. Well-executed video marketing and quality videos have become a game-changer. Listings with a fair price and an attractive video are bound to outperform those with static photography every time. Videos provide much more info on the property, and consumers tend to engage with your content more. But thinking S.M.A.R.T. also implies that you should think about adding smart technology to your property. High-quality media and collateral offer unique incentives and add value to the buyer.

7. Timing is everything

So, you’ve spruced up your home, and everything is ready to put it on the market. But have you considered timing? For starters, timing your listing can help you make sure that you will have enough time to make all of the arrangements for your upcoming relocation. It takes some time to work out the details of your long-distance move, but make no mistake; some planning, prep work, and professional moving help can make a huge difference and ensure an easy relocation to any part of California.

Furthermore, listing at the right time equals a faster sale and, very often, for more money. Moreover, you’ll need to rewind the timeline a bit. Consult your agent to find out more about that sweet spot when there are more buyers than house inventory. Working backward a bit and analyzing the market will tell you when the sales are typically at their highest. It’s in your best interest to avoid competing with more homes to sell your listing.

However, this doesn’t mean that your home will sell instantly. Make sure that, when the peak hits, you’re all set up and ready to go. Determining the average time on the market before listing your home for sale will help you with this. Finally, there’s the period between the preparation stage and the closing date. So, make sure to consider the prep time necessary to get the home ready.

Meta description: Preparing to put your home on the market? Keep reading to find out about the seven things you should do before listing your home for sale.

This article was contributed with kindness by Lindsay Denton, who writes with a specialty in real estate, remodeling, and home improvement.

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