Are you or your senior parents planning on selling a house this summer? If so, be sure to have it ready to sell before you put it on the market. That's such a crucial time period and not one to waste. How can you prepare it?
Go through the house and remove all personal items that you possibly can – photos, statues, special decor, unusual lamps. When the prospective buyers come to look at it, you want them to be thinking "how will my family and our belongings fit in this house." If they see your personal items, that can prevent them from successfully accomplishing their goal and they'll move on to the next home.
Clean, clean, CLEAN – both scrubbing clean and smelling clean. This is always so vital but especially for those homes that have had pets, smokers, or aging parents with constantly closed windows. Odors remain in carpets, curtains, and sometimes even the walls. Have as much cleaned as possible. I also like to buy several of those deoderizing solids (my favorite is apple/cinnamon – but there are also citrus scents, vanilla, cookies baking, and more). I would put them in every room and when you walked it, the house just smelled so great.
Stage the items left in the home – whether it's a full house of furniture or just a few items left behind for staging. When we sold one house after we had moved out, it had a bedroom where the dining room used to be so we turned it back into a dining room because that's what buyers were looking for in that market. But I also made sure we noted on the sales info that it could be used as a downstairs bedroom in case any multigenerational families came to look at it. We bought several tall and lovely faux plants on sale at Walmart and placed them in various rooms to give them a nicer look, along with a corner table and lamp artfully placed in various corners to make each room look warm and inviting. We got several great comments as feed-back from other real estate agents and their clients.
Leave lights on and, if possible, curtains open 24/7. We used to live near several model homes and noticed they always did that and their homes looked wonderful day and night. Thus, I wasn't surprised to see this recommendation several times in various articles on the topic.
Don't forget the outside. Make sure to have it mowed regularly. This is definitely NOT the time to save time or money by going a few extra days between mowing and trimming. Have it done at least once a week.
Flowers at the front porch lend a wonderful curbside appeal that seems to say, "Welcome" to all who come.
You can find more excellent tips from Realtor and Bankrate. And check out this article from Meg Ross of Keller Williams - 101 Ways To Prepare Your House For Sale. I'm saving that one too!
He brought me forth also into a broad place ; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:19
While doing real estate research this week, I happened upon a very interesting article, Preparing for a Home Inspection. It's a good list for everyone who has to sell their home, and especially so for those of us in the Sandwich Generation caring for our aging parents' real estate needs and helping them sell their beloved homes when health needs dictate downsizing. In that situation, we're already juggling more than we'd like and speed can definitely be important. Having a checklist means one less stress of trying to remember what to do next.
I'm a BIG fan of checklist to dos for everything (I LOVE Listary and Evernote for those), and this would be a great list to add to either of those. Along with the writer, Adam Gallegos, I would add the encouragement to do all these BEFORE ordering any kind of home inspection. But once you've done all this, if the house isn't moving as quickly as you need it to, you could order your own home inspection and give a copy of an overview of the report to each person who looks at the house. Since many buyers request these anyway, it can be a great way of offering a "bonus" to an interested buy of your senior parent's home without actually costing you more than you already planned to spend.
Another excellent preparation step you and your senior parents can take is to remove any item(s) from the house that they do NOT want to include in the sale of the house. I read this idea in a book years ago. When we were relocating and had found the house we eventually bought, I asked our agent to put a note in the offer that the curtains should all stay. He laughed and said, "Of course they will." But having read that not all sellers do leave items, I insisted. And guess what, the buyers said, "No!" It wasn't a dealbreaker for us. They did leave blinds and I was fine about that.
But I learned a vital lesson that day. If the buyer wants something specific, be sure to put it in the offer and hope they say yes. AND if the seller doesn't want something included, be sure it's removed from the home before showing. I wasn't mad about those curtains but it did bug me a bit. And I've read stories of buyers who were so mad about something not being included, the whole sale fell through. That's the last thing a caregiver needs to deal with in the midst of other health crises, isn't it?
How about you and your Sandwich Generation family? Got any great tips to help us when it's time for our aging parents to sell their home? We'd love to hear.