Prepare Your Home to Sell in 2014

Tim Lucas
Military VA Loan editor
Prepare Your Home for Sale in 2014.

A little preparation goes a long way when planning to sell your home. Photo courtesy Dean.

by Ed Kunkel Jr., military Veteran and Realtor®

How well have you been keeping up on your home’s maintenance?  If you need some guidance for where to check, do you still have your home inspection report that you paid for when you bought the home however long ago?  Pull out that report and go through the useful maintenance tips.

If you’re concerned about the condition of your home and want to know what a potential buyer would see on an independent inspection, you should consider getting your own inspection done prior to putting your home on the market. This could eliminate surprises and keep potential buyers interested in your home.

Licensed inspectors can be easily found in the yellow pages or online, but the best way to find an inspector is by referral from your Realtor®.

Attack Repairs Head-on

Don’t wait to make repairs. Fortune favors the prepared.  If the roof has less than 5 years of life left, it will very likely be a condition for repair in a sale, and you should either have it repaired ahead of time, or be prepared to cover the replacement when the home sells.  And again, if you have questions on the best strategy to take for prepping your home, ask your Realtor® for help.

Should You Do the Work Yourself?

You will likely have projects that you’ll want to do yourself to save money, but the question is, do you have the skill and commitment to do them the right way?  This is one critically important question.

The second question is, do you truly have the time and energy to devote to seeing the project through to completion?

If you’re in the mindset of getting as much ‘sweat equity’ accomplished as possible, ask for guidance from tradesmen, contractors, and handymen that you know or that your agent knows.  Even if you have to pay for their consulting services, it may be worth the trouble to get the tasks done correctly.  Nothing is worse than re-doing a project that was done wrong, and paying to have it done after you’ve already committed time, money and energy trying to do it yourself.

If you want to hire a professional, interview more than one and check references.  Get some referrals from your agent as well.

Landscaping the Home You Plan to Sell

Another critical topic is landscaping.  Seed your lawn over the fall. It will help make your lawn more full and green when spring comes around.  Also, take the time to cover your flower beds with dark plastic sheeting to minimize weeds.  Get as much grunt work done now, so you can focus on flowering and blossoming your yard when winter ends.  Experts suggest that you wait until later in the winter to prune your plants.

The Neighbor’s Unsightly Yard

Do you have next-door neighbors that don’t carry the same pride of ownership that you do? Will their yard distract a potential buyer from choosing your home?

Take a cautious approach to resolving this situation. First of all, what is the living situation of the current resident?  Is it an owner that occupies the home or a renter?  If it’s a renter, is the owner aware of the neglected condition of the home or property? If you know the owner, perhaps let him or her know about the items that look to be in disrepair.

If it’s the owner who lives there, think about what you could do to help. Would it be more cost effective to invest some sweat equity or even money to help your neighbor settle some unsightly issues to help you be able to move forward?

Think Outside the Box

Sometimes thinking outside the box will resolve this.  Have your Realtor® help you make sense of what is a reasonable approach if you’re at the point of investing your own money in curing the problem.

Hopefully, these ideas I have shared with you are helpful to helping you in your endeavors.  I’m full of more ideas if you ever want to ask me questions, or even better, call me for an interview to get you ready to pursue your goals and dreams with buying or selling a home.

Ed Kunkel, Jr. is a Managing Broker/Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty in Olympia, Washington. Visit Ed here. Ed’s Military History: Veteran – U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve; Highest rank, E5; 11 years combined military service.