What You Should Be Doing to Prepare Your House or Condo for Sale
Putting your home on the market can be a stressful endeavor, no matter when you choose to make the leap. So, attempting to sell during a national crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic may seem like an insurmountable challenge that sellers might want to avoid.
However, based on information from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, there are a variety of reasons why there may be no time like the present to list your property, including:
- Demand for housing in Massachusetts remains high, while available inventory has decreased, potentially setting up a bidding war for your house or condo.
- The median prices of homes that are selling in Massachusetts have increased by double digits.
- Interest rates are expected to remain at near-historic lows, with the average 30-year mortgage rates expected to head toward 3%, making home loans even more attractive and accessible to potential homebuyers.
The market seems ripe for selling your house or condo. Now, all you have to do is get your home ready to list and show. Even in normal times, this is no small feat, but with new COVID-19-related requirements and processes, it might be an even more challenging endeavor.
As your local insurance agent, we want to assist you with your selling process in any way we can, so we contacted some North Shore real estate professionals to learn their best practices for today’s home sellers.
Three tips for getting your house or condo ready to sell
Maybe you’ve just started to consider selling your house or condo. Or, perhaps you and your family have decided it’s definitely time to put your home on the market. Whichever phase of the home-selling process you are in, real estate professionals in the area agree that asking yourself these three questions will help you assess if your home is ready to show or needs a little more fixing up:
- Does my home have curb appeal?
According to our real estate sources, too many sellers put all their energy into sprucing up the inside of their home while overlooking important tasks like trimming back bushes and trees, mowing the lawn, and power-washing the outside of their home. Most homebuyers will do a drive-by of your house or condo before they request an appointment to tour it, especially in a day and age where entering a home for sale requires donning a mask, booties, and gloves. So, making sure your home has great curb appeal is more important than ever.
What are prospective buyers looking for when they cruise past your home? They are certainly evaluating the neighborhood. But they are also assessing what kind of care you’ve taken of the outside of your home, from your roof and windows to your foundation and landscaping. The condition and appearance of your home’s exterior not only give buyers information about how well you’ve taken care of your entire property but are also the key to tempting them to make a virtual or in-person appointment with your Realtor.
- What will the pickiest buyers notice?
You may have gotten used to that drip-drip-drip of your bathroom faucet, but a buyer’s critical eye is not going to overlook that slow leak or any other necessary repairs, no matter how minor they seem to you. Before putting up a “For Sale” sign, our real estate sources recommend taking a walk through your house or condo with a notepad and pen in hand, and putting yourself in a buyer’s shoes.
Write down anything and everything that would turn you off from wanting to live in your home, like a ripped window screen, loose doorknob, scratch in a baseboard, or burned-out lightbulb. Many of these are simple home repairs that you can do yourself. However, while you’re going about fixing up these smaller issues, this would also be a great time to hire the proper professionals to service your furnace and other appliances, clean the fireplace and chimney, clear out the gutters, and check the roof for missing shingles.
- Does my home feel spacious and orderly or cramped and cluttered?
You want to make it as easy as possible for a potential buyer to envision themselves living in your home. This will not happen if your closets and cabinets are overflowing with your personal stuff. Not only is it hard for a buyer to see through all this clutter, but it might also signal to them that your home does not have enough space or storage for their belongings.
Instead, our real estate professionals told us that home sellers need to become obsessed with keeping their houses and condos clean and neat. This means decluttering wherever possible, using a strategy such as the “three-pile method”:
- Pile #1: Stack anything out of season or that may be going with you to a new home in this pile. You may want to consider renting a pod where you can contain all of these things that you plan on keeping but that are currently just taking up space.
- Pile #2: Anything that you want to donate or put in a virtual yard sale goes in this pile. Items that you loved once but don’t find useful any more may make someone else very happy. A bonus of selling items is that any extra money earned can go toward the cost of your pod.
- Pile #3: Things that don’t go in either of the first two piles simply need to go. To dispose of the items in this pile, consult your town’s waste management website; you may be surprised at how much it will take curbside. For those things that your town won’t take away, you can schedule a pickup with a company like Junkster.
Our real estate sources told us that the rooms that home sellers should pay the most attention to when decluttering are the kitchen and bathrooms. The condition of these rooms, in particular, can affect the price of your home. They suggest moving everything off the countertops, organizing all the cabinets, and doing a deep cleaning.
In addition, there are some special COVID-19 cleaning protocols that home sellers should be following, including having disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer readily available.
These three questions—along with advice from your local real estate agent—should help you evaluate whether your home is ready to share with prospective buyers, or if you need a little more time to get your property in peak selling condition.
Your local insurance agent is an essential member of your home-selling team
The Gilbert team is here to assist you in any way we can, from the very start of your home-selling process to when you move on to your next residence. Having been a part of this community for close to seven decades, our network includes not only real estate agents but also lenders, contractors, appraisers, movers, and many other professionals who can be of service to you during your selling process.
In addition, by working with a local insurance agent like Gilbert, you can avoid some common insurance mistakes that home sellers make during the process, such as canceling your homeowners or condo insurance too soon or leaving your home vacant when it’s on the market without the proper insurance to cover any claims that may arise.
Most importantly, we want to make sure that as you move out of your current house or condo and into a new home, you have access to the best home insurance options and prices from the top insurance carriers. Contact us today to discuss your current and future insurance coverage needs as you enter this challenging but very exciting process.