Interview real estate agents who typically represent sellers and buyers within your neighborhood.
We highly recommend listing your property for sale with an agent that is very familiar with your neighborhood. An agent that has an office nearby is a great first step, but at least you would want to work with an agent that intimately knows the real estate market and the subtle nuances about the properties in your neighborhood.
He will know what locally required inspections are needed, whether they be HOA requirements or Fire Department regulations or local County level mandates. A bonus will be that this agent can help coordinate local service providers to get your property fully compliant and prepared to sell at the highest price. Being able to fully emphasize and market the neighborhood attributes and facilities is going to net you a higher value than ending up with an agent that may need a GPS to find the area’s Recreation Center. Plus, you want someone who knows the current market trends unique to your neighborhood for accurate pricing, plus they’d be more likely to know other agents in the area with interested buyers that could shorten the number of days on the market.
Get a home inspection from a licensed inspector.
If you have your home inspected by a qualified home inspector prior to listing you will have the liberty to make repairs with your desired vendor on your time frame, or, if you don’t want to get involved making repairs, the issues can identified upfront in the listing and the price factored accordingly.
Most every buyer will hire their own home inspector during their due diligence period in escrow. Rather than scrambling during escrow to meet the buyer’s demands for repairs or renegotiating your price after deficiencies are discovered, being able to hand them a copy of an inspection report (and a list of repairs completed) before they make an offer can save you a lot of heartache during the escrow period.
Have your lot inspected for defensible space by the fire department.
Most properties are required to be at some level of compliance with the local fire department’s regulations at time of sale. Knowing what is required and possibly having a compliance certificate in hand is a strong selling feature. Of course, getting any work done before the snow falls will make your life easier than having to deal with issues months after escrow closes. For instance, Northstar homes for sale must be inspected by Northstar Fire Department and obtain a certification prior to closing.
Have your home inspected by your HOA.
Just as above, with a letter of inspection and approval, buyers know they are in compliance when ownership is transferred. Any noncompliance with the HOA can be corrected on your time, not in the rush of an escrow. Again, better to make repairs before the snow falls. Northstar homes for sale must be inspected by Northstar Property Owners Association (NPOA) prior to closing escrow.
Make repairs and replace damaged items.
Correcting certain defects as discovered by any inspections is mentioned above, but then there is the issue of first impressions. It can be the little items such as a scraped front door that when refinished will make your home more appealing. Where to start and where to end is subjective and ultimately up to you. No home is perfect and it is difficult to guess what might turn off a buyer. Some buyers want only “Turn Key”, they want to just move in and enjoy. Whilst some buyers will expect to make small changes to personalize the property there are others looking to completely remodel.
How much effort you should make to entice as many buyers as possible is a matter of judgement. However, the more deferred maintenance that is obvious will likely turn off more buyers that it will attract.
Spring clean your home and garage and have your windows cleaned.
Everyone wants a clean home. Any marks, smudges, or traffic stains will remind buyers this is someone else’s place. We want people to feel comfortable and to be able to imagine the house as being theirs. A clean, uncluttered home is always more appealing to a buyer.
Get the asphalt driveway sealed.
A freshly sealed driveway gives a good first impression. It sends a signal that the owner has cared for the home and that buyers will want to see the inside.
Contract for snow removal.
A snow removal contract can be prorated in escrow. Most importantly people need access to the home. We also recommend getting a hand shoveling service for the entry and in front of garage doors. It can be a big turn off to have to schlep through a pile of snow to gain access to a house.
Have tenants move out or take off a short term rental program.
Most buyers will want to view a home in person before making an offer. Trying to coordinate showings with occupants (long term renters or vacationers) is difficult at best, and now with COVID-19 showing requirements it has made this even harder. A vacant home can be previewed easily by agents and then showings to prospective buyers can be made to happen when it is convenient for those buyers, a consideration when a lot of the buyers are in the area for a limited amount of time.
Sometimes less is more. By uncluttering a home, perhaps by removing extra furniture or minimizing some decorative items, the interior spaces will appear larger. There is a niche industry in our area of staging homes for sale, however our office is unique in that we are equipped to stage homes making them look their best in photos, videos, and for when the buyers visit the home in person. Staging can be a minor effort or sometimes quite extensive, depending on the home.