Dated: 02/02/2018

Views: 200

A guide, how to prepare your home to sell quickly at the best price possible.

Prepare Your Home To Show

Remove Clutter

First of all, no matter what anyone says,  it is difficult to sell a home.  It is not just the paperwork, endless showings,  the stress of dealing with a demanding buyer and/or agent, the worry of the loan falling through at the last minute, inspections, appraisals,  etc...  But the time and energy it takes to make the home ready.  That being said, the time you spend preparing your house is the most important part of selling.  The better you are prepared, the better the odds of it selling quickly and the higher the chance of it selling at or near full price.  And that is what you want, correct?  To sell your house, Fast!

The first step is always to take out the clutter.  This includes pictures, books, extra shoes in the closet, DVD's, CD's, trophies, and most of the personal items that we all love to collect.  There are a couple of reasons we do this first when a potential buyer comes to your house they are not interested in you.  I know that sounds kind of rude, but it is true.  You are not for sale.  Your interests, your opinions, your hobbies, your beliefs are not on the auction block your house is.  The buyer is trying to imagine themselves in their new home with their spouse and children.  Where will they put their favorite chair, will their new flat screen TV that they are going to buy once they finish the purchase of their new (your old)  home look good on the wall in the living room or should it go downstairs in the family room.  They do not care that you went to K-State or WSU or KU.  Or that you love football, basketball or hockey.   By the way, none of those things are bad.  Buyers simply looking to find a home that they can hang their stuff on the wall, not yours.

The second reason you do not know who will come into your house.  And even though they will probably have a buyers agent with them.   If someone comes into your home and decides to steal there is not a lot anyone can do about it.   That being said, so far, I have not heard of this being a problem in my hometown of Wichita.  However, you can avoid this altogether by putting away your valuables, little toys, cd's, things that are easy to take.  Remember the point of this whole process is to move.  So the most logical step is; start packing.  Keep out only a few books on your bookshelves to make the books look decorative, not overflowing, and then keep the one or two books you actually plan on reading in the next couple of weeks by your bed or favorite place to read, the rest put into storage.

Items like CD's and DVD's place in a storage bin that you can put in the garage or basement.  That way you can retrieve them when you would like to listen or to watch that evening, but then immediately return it to the bin so you do not have to worry about it later.  This is also true regarding children's toys.  Have the children pick out their most favorite toys and make sure that they stored them back in their toy box or on their shelves when they go to bed.  That way, when you get a call that someone wants to show the house and you are at work and do not have a chance to run home and check your kids' rooms they should be ready because you checked the night before.  Then in the morning, all anyone has to do is make their beds.

Be sure to pack pictures, especially family photos, religious icons, all posters, schools, and sports teams.  The only things that should be on your walls should be art.  Any art is fine as long as, it is not so different that people stop to look at your walls and forget to look at the house.  Remember it is always selling the house and moving on with your life.  Keep things in perspective!  For more ideas about de-cluttering check out this website.


Bathrooms need to be cleaned daily.  I know that is hard, especially if you have children.  But nothing turns off someone more than a dirty bathroom.  This is true of the kitchen as well.  Run the dishwasher often because they will look in your dishwasher and put dishes away, do not place them in the sink.  You want to have the house look as if you are expecting company because you are!

Cleaning does not only include the inside of the house.  The outside needs to be cleaned as well.  The front porch should be swept and pay attention to spider webs, dust, and dirt around the front door and windows.  The first impression is very important and the first thing the potential buyers see is your front yard and the front door.  Make sure that it pops as best as you can!

Upgrade Appliances

If you have not upgraded your appliances in the last several years maybe it is time.  If your home is a higher priced it is likely a necessity.  Look into replacing at least the stove/oven and microwave, or the vent hood.  A new refrigerator would be a good investment as well if possible.  If this is not possible because you simply lack the funds then make sure that they are functioning and clean.  If you plan on taking the appliances to your new home.  Make sure that this is clearly stated in the listing agreement if you use an agent and is clear in the marketing of your property.

Paint and Carpet

Probably one of the cheapest improvements one can make in their home is new paint.  It freshens up the look of the entire house.  It can also update the home by changing the colors and make them more trendy.  A great way to do this is to visit new homes for sale.  Look at the what the builders are doing and copy.  Again, always remember do not get too creative.  You need to continue to think neutral.  Even if it is not a color you like, remember you are not going to live here much longer if you do it right.

Carpet is a little more expensive and troublesome.  If the carpet is still in good condition then invest the time to hire a professional carpet cleaner.  Depending on the square footage of the house this can be done reasonably affordable.  Make sure that if you get the carpet cleaned, do it before the house is available for showings.  You want to have it totally dry before people come and walk all of the carpets with their dirty shoes.  You request that the prospective buyers take their shoes off and provide covers for their feet.  You will see this often in new homes.  If the house is vacant you can lay down plastic on the carpet and mark pathways through the house.  It works great!  And surprisingly people will remain on the plastic and not walk directly on the carpet.  If you need a recommendation for a good carpet cleaner, this is my recommendation.  Click Here and ask for Tim, tell him Daniel Wampler recommended him.


Fix the repairs found by inspector

It is not a bad idea to have a property inspection before you list.  Currently, it is not common practice, but it is still a good idea.  In the Wichita market, the price for a property inspection with a termite inspection for a property with less than 2,000 square feet is currently (Nov. 2017) $250.00. It is not a large investment.  You can fix what the inspector points out and then include the actual inspection report for any potential buyers online with completed repairs.  It is a great service to them and helps prepare you for any problems that might be discovered by the buyer's inspector.  If the inspector finds something that is beyond your financial ability to pay for, or you just do not want to, you can disclose it on the Property Condition Report and let potential buyers know ahead of time.  That way when they make an offer you can tell them that you will not be able to fix that repair and they need the cost of their offer.  My favorite inspector, who I have been working with for years, you can find here.  Home Inspector!

Pricing Strategy

The most obvious way to price your house is to look at what other houses in your immediate neighborhood have sold.  By looking at the past you can predict, in most cases, what will happen in the future.  There are several questions you need to ask yourself in order to price your house with comparable sales;

  • What is the bedroom and bathroom count of the homes in your area that have sold in the last 3 to 6 months?

  • What is the square footage?

  • What is the condition of the comparable sales compared to yours, upgrades, new windows, etc... (Remember, the new roof doesn't count, that is a necessity for your house, not a new feature that will raise the value of your home. Same with new plumbing, or electric panel, these are requirements, not special features.)

  • What about the location of your home in the neighborhood?  Is your house on the busiest street in the neighborhood?

  • Have you maintained the yard, shrubs, trees, fence, and driveway?

All these things matter when you price your home.  If you look at the most recent sales in the neighborhood and they are between $150,000 - $169,000, do not get too excited if you drive by these houses and they look better on the outside then yours.  You have a couple of options; either you improve the property or you lower the price to reflect the condition.  At this point, you need to decide how much you need to spend in order for you to sell your house at the best price.  If it's going to cost you more to fix than you will make there is no point in spending the money. Just sell at the lower price point and offer it "AS IS."

A lot of people ask about offering an allowance.  The problem with that is, the allowance will cost you more, in most cases, than just getting the work done ahead of time.  Also, it will take longer to sell your home then your neighbors down the street whose home is move in ready.  Why should a buyer buy your fixer-upper if they can buy your neighbors home that is good to go for a little bit more? If you are in such a hot market that there are very few homes then it might work to sell "as is" or offer an allowance, but if there is any competition you might just have killed your chance of ever selling.

Once you have looked at all the comparable sales in the area for the last 3 to 6 months, pick the three that have the most similar features as yours.  From them come up with a price range.  You want to come up with a range not a single number because no one really knows what your home is worth.  It is worth what a willing and able buyer is willing to pay.

Once you have a range then you must decide how fast you want to sell your home.  In order to sell it fast, it must be one of the nicest listings available or a good deal.  You can price it above the price range if it is really nice and you feel it is better than your competition, however, if you have no showings or offers in the first 10 days you need to consider a price reduction.

It is amazing what a small price reduction will do for a house.  A while ago I had a listing in a nice part of town.  I felt the appropriate price range was between $169,900 and $179,900.  It was a nice house, clean, and had some very nice features that I thought would show great!  The sellers wanted to be more aggressive and list a little higher.  They wanted to start at $185,000.  We agreed on the condition that after 10 days if we do not have any showings or offers that we lower the price.  Once everything was ready we listed the property for $185,000, placed out the marketing, websites, flyers, ads on Facebook, Craigslist, "Just Listed" postcards, letters to neighbors,  and we waited for the first showing.  It didn't happen!  The seller called me the following week and asked me to lower the price earlier than planned.  I agreed, of course, and in one day of the price change, we had 3 showings and 2 offers.  The one we took was full price.  The third buyer was interested in, however, we already had an agreed upon price from the first offer.

The price really does matter just as much as condition and staging.  For more information on pricing, here is a link to an article I found that has some other ideas.  Click Here!

If after reading this you still would like help, check out this website.  It will give you an idea of what is going on in your neighborhood.  Find Your Home's Value Here!

After you do your research and you find yourself to have more questions than answers you can call me directly at (316) 644-4845.  You can see me on Facebook, Click Here!  And if you would like to see reviews I have reviews on Zillow, Click Here to see reviews.

Daniel Wampler is a licensed Real Estate Professional located in Wichita, KS.  He is easy to reach and loves working with both buyers and sellers in all price ranges.  If you have questions or concerns regarding selling your home or if you are in the market to buy a new home he is happy to help you.  Call, text, or email.

Daniel Wampler of eXp Realty, LLC.  [email protected], (316) 644-4845 

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