Embracing spontaneity may be good for last minute spots tickets or a dinner out with friends, but preparing your home to sell on the fly – not so much. The spring market is generally one of the more active times of year in the Chicago real estate market. And by spring, we real estate agents often mean as early as January and certainly after Super Bowl, which happens to land the first week in February in 2019. With the holidays around the corner, spring will be here sooner than you realize.
Preparing your home to sell for top dollar may take a little more time and effort than you expect and if you parse it out before the spring, it’s certainly more manageable. It’s an especially good idea if you want to focus on finding your next home, rather than preparing your current home to sell. I’ve created a list of 5 things you can start working on now to get your home ready to sell next year.
PURGE AND DONATE
Moving can be expensive, it doesn’t make sense to pack and pay to move items that have sat unused and will have no use in your new home. This is perhaps the biggest task and one that can end up feeling very cathartic once you’re through. Go through closets and sort any items you want to get rid of into donate and sale piles. Clothes are a big one, toys, paper work (be sure to shred sensitive info), furniture and even kitchen gadgets that you don’t use. If you need a place to start, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo is a great place to start and work with a method to get to a clean living space. There are so many great charities that benefit from these items and some even pick up direct. Added bonus is the potential tax deduction you can get for your taxes, another good reason to get this done in 2018. Check out Donationtown.org is a great site that help navigate where and what items to donate and your accountant to learn more about tax deductions.
This is an easy area to save money if you’re doing it yourself, or if that’s not appealing, hiring a professional will be well worth it. Think inside appliances, under the couch and bed, fan blades, blinds, cleaning windowsills, descaling showerheads and dusting off bathroom exhaust fans. Areas of your home that you’ve just gotten used to but buyers with a fresh set of eyes might see and feel your home is not well maintained. Doing a thorough and deep clean allows you to get into maintenance mode, which is less work on a weekly basis. This is also a great time to get your HVAC unit serviced and cleaned.
Chances are it’s been a while since you had your home inspection. It’s a good idea to be proactive and get a licensed home inspector to go through your property and provide a report. If there are any issues to address before going on the market, this is the perfect time to schedule licensed professionals to come and repair. This is also helpful if you’re considering selling as-is and be able to provide an updated report on the status of the property. Sharing this information with a buyer goes a long way in establishing trust and transparency, which can make buyers feel more comfortable putting in an offer on your home.
This goes hand-in-hand with the inspection report. If you don’t want to do the full home inspection, it’s a smart idea to fix anything you know is not working properly, as it will ultimately come up in the buyer’s inspection report. If there are larger issues that need a licensed professional, like electric or plumbing, please hire a professional to complete that work. With smaller items like a misaligned door latch or tightening of cabinet knobs, those are easy enough to take care of yourself. If there’s a longer list, hiring a handyman to take care of everything at once is often money well spent.
Undoubtedly there’s always a list of items you intended to do after you moved in, but never got to. Maybe it’s adding backsplash to your kitchen, replacing your carpet or getting your cabinets painted. Sometimes there’s an area of your home that you could re-configure to make more appealing to a buyer. For example, adding some bright pillows and a rug completely change the feeling of this outdoor deck, into an inviting space that buyers can imagine enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at the and of the work day. Freshening up your property to look it’s best is a low-impact way to get your home show-ready. If you’re entertaining for the holidays, this is also a nice opportunity to enjoy the updates before you sell.
Following these tips now helps you avoid the overwhelming feeling of taking everything on at once and also helps you focus on your next move, which is ultimately the most important.