Preparing Your Home To Sell in Colorado Springs
Know your market when preparing your home to sell.
Every neighborhood is different and it is very important than any agent you interview for the position of marketing your home for sale, is prepared to discuss the local and neighborhood market conditions as well as prepare a market analysis for your home.
Suggestion: Hire an experienced agent that understands the local market and can provide frequent updates to ensure your property remains appropriately priced for a quick sale. For more detailed information visit Know Your Market for Your Colorado Springs Home.
Price your home right the first time.
The most important step in preparing your home to sell is to price your home correctly from day one. National Association of REALTORs statistics shows that the most activity on a home is in the first three weeks the home is on the market. If the seller chooses to list above market value, in order to get back into the market, the property may need to take drastic price reductions.
Suggestion: Visit Pricing Your Colorado Springs Home to Sell for more detailed information about pricing your Colorado Springs home.
We have all heard of the term, but do we really understand what it means. Well, curb appeal is the first impression that a buyer receives when they first see a house, often from their agent’s car. When preparing your home to sell, sellers should strive to improve the curb appeal to entice the buyer to take the next step, to walk into the house. Curb appeal includes the condition of the yard, flowers, an inviting entryway, and the sense that the home is well cared for by the sellers.
Suggestion: Before placing your home on the market, look at your home with a critical eye or ask a good friend to pretend to be a buyer. Look for the peeling paint, the crooked gutter, the crushed downspout, spider webs, and the sneaky weeds. These are the type of things that tell the potential buyer that there may be similar issues in the home. Add a seasonal decoration to the door and sweep the dust and leaves often.
This term may be overused, but it is critical when trying to sell a home in Colorado Springs. It is very important to stage the home so it appeals to the larger buying population. We like to remind our sellers that you stage a home to sell it; you decorate a home to live in it. Now is the time to stage.
Suggestion: When preparing your home to sell, the number one thing you can do for staging is to remove excessive furniture to open the room. Most buyers are looking for large open spaces that give them the feeling that their furniture will easily fit into the room. Make sure to clear obvious pathways to the different rooms to include overhead plants, shelves, and lights. The next buyer in your home may be 6 inches taller than you and the low hanging objects become obstacles to them. Remove family photos, personal awards and certificates to protect your family. Remove any hazards like slipping area rugs, doorstops, etc., anything that may become a trip hazard.
General maintenance of the home inside and out, give the buyer a feel for how the sellers took care of the property.
Suggestion: Six months to one year before you plan to list your home, have a friend, that will be honest with you, provide constructive criticism on the general upkeep of the home – mostly cosmetic items. Walk around the home and allow them to point out items that maybe you have overlooked because you are so used to the condition that you don’t even notice, like discolored or missing switch plates, dirty baseboards, missing cabinet knobs, etc.. This is in addition to the pre-inspection and should be completed well in advance of listing the home, so you have time to complete bigger tasks like painting, replacing carpets, or replacing a roof.
One of the most stressful times during the buy/sell transaction is the inspection period. For older homes, it can result in a renegotiation of the sales contract and in some cases may result in the buyer canceling the contract. A pre-inspection is invaluable when preparing your home to sell.
Suggestion: Hire a qualified home inspector to inspect your home as if they were doing it for the buyer. This simple step that may cost as much as $400, but can save you $1000’s in negotiating power during the inspection notice. Knowing up front the items that need to be corrected and taking the time to correct them before receiving an offer, or identifying these items in the property disclosure, will help relieve much of the stress during the inspection period for the transaction.
Monitor Your Competition.
Knowing what is happening to your competition in this market is very important. Tracking price changes and properties under contract and solds will help you to understand the market conditions on a daily basis.
Suggestion: Monitor your competition frequently on a third party search tool such as the property search tool used by Murray & Associates, or allow us to configure a custom property website populated by the Colorado Springs MLS with criteria matching your property and your competition. The MLS property website will notify you, via email, of changes to your competition.
In a recent survey conducted by National Association of REALTORS, nearly 94% of the buyers start their search online. The more internet presence your Colorado Springs home has, the greater the chance that a buyer will find your home during their search.
Suggestion: Hire a Colorado Springs real estate agent that markets their properties heavily on the internet for the most exposure to internet buyers as possible. In about two to three months, an agent should be able to reach 6000 to 8000 instances of an address when conducting an advanced search on the address using Google.
Besides the obvious safety issues found during a home inspection, such as loose handrails and trip hazards, we are also concerned about the safety of each family member.
Suggestion: We highly recommend that personal photos and memorabilia with names of family members are stored while the home is listed.
Pets are a tough one because we know your pets are part of the family and often have free reign of the home. Speaking from experience, when agents are escorting buyers in your home, they don’t want to worry about the pets, they want to focus on their buyers. It can be very upsetting for all parties if a pet escapes out the front door and runs loose. Additionally, friendly pets can be a distraction preventing the buyer from experiencing your home as if it were theirs.
Suggestion: It is best to take your pets with you during scheduled showings. If this isn’t possible, you should have your pets in kennels in an out of the way area such as the garage or basement. If you have a dog that barks while strangers are in the home, you may consider getting a bark collar to prevent them from barking during showings.
If your dog(s) are outside, make sure there is a barrier between the dog and the buyers when they step outside. This can be a gate at the stairs to the deck or have your dog on a leash preventing them from reaching at least ten feet from the door. Appropriate signs with instructions on the doors are always appreciated, especially by the buyer’s agent.
We know it is difficult to confine cats, but many buyers have allergies to cats. It may be best to find a temporary home for your cats when your home is actively showing. If this isn’t possible, make sure it is clear to the buyer and buyer’s agent if your cats can go outside or from room to room. Store the litter box in a room that is not frequented, like the furnace room in the basement, and make sure to clean it out every morning. It is also recommended to walk in every room in the morning to make sure there are no pet accidents in corners or other places.
Pet odor can be a problem as well. Make sure the carpets and furniture are professionally cleaned by someone that treats for pet odors.
A room freshener can be used, but sparingly. If the room freshener is very strong, it will raise a flag for the buyer and make them or their agent suspicious.
Smoking in the home while it is listed, is an absolute no-no. Those that do not smoke can tell immediately when someone has smoked in the home. This is especially a problem when the sellers smoked in the home for many years – the odor lingers.
Suggestion: There is no sure way to get the smell of smoke out of the home unless you remove all upholstered furniture including mattresses, curtains, blinds, and even carpet, and even then, you may need to paint every wall and ceiling. If you do not go to this extreme, expect your home to be on the market longer with negative feedback on the odor. Price your home below your competition and maybe below market value.
Making your home available for showings is key in this market, where the buyers have so many choices. Ideally, showings will be scheduled in advance, but occasionally, the home is spotted by the buyer when they are driving to another home, and decide they like the neighborhood and would like to see everything. So you need to be ready on a moments notice.
Suggestion: Prepare the home for showings daily. Clear a spot under each sink for a plastic tub for the daily use items that don’t need to be on the counter. In the event of a short notice showing, use a larger tub for dirty dishes, towels, toys, etc. and place it in an out of the way area in the garage. Encourage young children to participate, promising them a treat when the home is sold.
By Nancy Murray
Murray & Associates, Keller Williams Colorado Springs