Spring is a time for new beginnings. This year we decided to make a clean start in a new home.
Our mortgage lender asked us to sell our current home before closing on the new one. We strongly preferred to time the two closings within a week of one another, and we knew our house would show well when the custom landscaping started blooming in spring. Therefore, we decided to list our home in early March with hopes of a mid-April closing date. It was a bold maneuver, but we were up for the challenge.
Our home is 21 years old. To compete with newer homes on the market, we knew we needed to bring our A-game to our multiple listing service (MLS) debut.
We met with our real estate agent six months in advance to brainstorm, and we decided to focus on seven major things to prepare our home for sale.
We Replaced the Big Kahunas
By that, I mean the roof and carpet. We knew our home’s original roof and carpets, at 21 years of age, were going to be concerns for any buyer. We wanted to get these issues out of the way.
Cost: $7,900 ($6,900 for the roof, plus $1,000 for the carpet)
We Fixed Items We Knew Would Come Up During the Inspection
We walked around the house, noting renovation issues with windows, flooring, outlets and faucets. We replaced many light bulbs, as well as batteries in smoke detectors, caulked where necessary in bathrooms and window sills and replaced broken screens.
We Staged the Interior of Our Home
We purchased throw pillows for the living room and reed diffusers for the kitchen and bathroom. These small items made our MLS pictures look nice and the house smell pleasant.
We Made the Front Porch Look Inviting
We painted the faded wooden door a lovely shade of deep bright blue, hung a brand new wreath, replaced the door handles and added a shiny new silver-toned kick plate to the bottom of the door. Where the porch previously only had two plain-looking wooden chairs, we added four pillows, a white side table and a vase with fake flowers. We also hired a contractor to pressure wash the front exterior. All of these changes greatly improved our home’s curb appeal.
We Did a Deep Cleaning
We hired a cleaning crew to come over for an entire day to clean the house very, very well. They washed windows, cleaned bathrooms and baseboards, mopped floors, dusted everywhere and wiped down cabinets. Basically, they cleaned every surface of the interior of our house.
More on Renovating: 30 Ways to Upgrade Your Home Without Blowing Your Budget
We Researched Competitive Listings
We wanted to list our house at a great price so we could have initial showing momentum. Too high and the house might sit on MLS for a while without showings. Too low and it might sell so quickly we would regret asking such a low price. We chose to list our house at an average price for homes with similar qualities (taking into consideration square footage, lot size, upgrades and neighborhood amenities). We settled on a listing price of $315,000 for our 2,400-square-foot home on nearly a half-acre. Similar homes were selling for between $305,000 to $325,000.
We Significantly Decluttered
We went through every room with the goal of donating, throwing away or storing over half of everything. We rented a storage unit a mile down the road and began taking over truckloads of items, including large pieces of furniture to make our home’s interior look more spacious. All donations went to the local Rescue Mission.
Cost: $525 to rent the storage unit for three months ($175 per month)
We listed our home on March 9, and it went under contract on March 14 for $313,000, which was just $2,000 less than our asking price. We have no doubt that investing $9,235 in updates to our home’s appearance contributed to the fast sale.
If you are thinking about selling your home, consider making strategic updates before listing it to ensure your best chance at making a quick sale.
Click through to read more about the best places to sell a home in America.
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