Preparing & Repairing Your Home

Deciding to sell your home is an exciting choice. It may also feel like a big decision, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. We are here to help you decide if conditions are right for you to sell. Whether you have questions about market conditions, pricing your home we’ve got you covered. We’ll share tools and information on where to focus your efforts so you’ll feel confident about your decision to sell.

Preparing & Repairing Your Home

Home buyers have high expectations, and if your home doesn’t live up to those expectations they will move on quickly. Where to start? We have the information and tools you need to determine where you need to focus your preparation efforts to move through the journey smoothly.

How to Prepare to Sell Your Home

There are a lot of details to take care of before you list your home and show it to prospective buyers. To help guide you through preparing yourself and whipping your home into shape, we’ve outlined the five basic stages of preparing:

• Prepare yourself
• Repair and replace
• Declutter

It’s time to get yourself focused, then roll up your sleeves and start repairing, improving and staging before you invite buyers to view your home.

1. Do Your Homework
Have most important property documents ready, to include:

Escritura (Title Deeds)
Nota Simple
Energy Performance Certificate
Yearly IBI tax payments
Water & Electricity bills

2. Repair and Replace
This is the time to fix all those little items that you’ve had on your “to do” list for years. A latch that doesn’t work, a leaky toilet, a leak under a sink, or an electrical outlet that doesn’t work might seem like small items but potential buyers are apt to see them as a sign that the home hasn’t been properly maintained, which means more work for them if they buy it.

Pre-Sale Home Inspections
Walk your entire property inside and out and identify problem areas that should be repaired or upgraded, then prioritize those fixes within your budget and the time frame you have established for selling.

The Work That’s Worth It
There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive “polishes” and “touch-ups” to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen. In preparing your home for the market, be judicious about how much money you spend. Buyers will be impressed, but they aren’t likely to give you enough extra money to pay for extensive renovations. Consider the costs and benefits of upgrades before you hire any contractors.

3. Declutter
Decluttering involves “editing” the items in a space so it’s less cluttered and more functional. Home staging involves transforming each room into an attractive “vignette” that appeals to a wide range of prospective buyers. Spend some time evaluating the inside of your home; then make and execute a plan to declutter and stage before you’re ready to show your home.

First, declutter to minimize or eliminate distractions that could otherwise take away their focus on the things that really matter. For example, your kid’s soccer trophies may look impressive as you sit in your family room but really are just going to be in the way of a potential buyer visualizing the potential of the space. Our advice: pack them away.

Decluttering can be tricky. You’re still living in your house so you need your stuff. Decluttering is not converting your house to a campground. It is selectively pruning anything that distracts buyers from seeing what they are getting with your house.

Toss or sell anything you aren’t planning on taking with you. Clear out closets. You might be a packrat but overstuffed closets send a signal to buyers that the house doesn’t have enough storage. Garages, most basements, storage areas and laundry rooms all need similar treatment.

As you declutter, start planning your next task in the home preparation process: staging. Simply put, staging is the art of helping the buyer envision living in your home. This idea is to make the house inviting and welcoming so that buyers see past your furniture and mementoes and envision themselves owning and enjoying the house.

4. Staging
Staging is one of the most powerful ways to make buyers want to buy your home. It can be as simple as cleaning, removing extraneous items and repainting. Or it can require a clean sweep that involves storing belongings off-site, redecorating, and even renting furniture and art to make your place show well. Here are the basics of staging each room in your house, including your outdoor spaces.

Make It Inviting
Staging helps potential buyers envision your house as theirs. To do that, they need to see the details of your house. Your goal in staging is to entice visitors to linger in each room so they can absorb its features and see its benefits.

• Consider the view from each doorway. How can you encourage visitors to step in each room? A small scenario often works, such as an arrangement of an easy chair and lamp that is partly visible from the door.
• Fresh flowers only partially visible from the door will entice visitors to enter the room.
• Make sure seating is arranged so it is open to visitors, not with backs to them, which can discourage them from entering the room.
• If your furniture is badly outdated or worn, consider storing it and bringing in a few bright, clean rental pieces.

Here’s a tip you might not have thought of: Walk from room to room in your house with one or two other people to replicate the experience of guiding a potential buyer or buyer couple through your home. Note which rooms seem crowded when three people are standing in them and make notes of the ways you could make those rooms seem more spacious. Ask each other what makes crowded rooms seem crowded and remove those items.

Clean, Clean and Clean Again
Don’t underestimate the importance of cleaning while you are decluttering and staging. Really scrub and polish every single area from top to bottom, ferreting out dust and dirt in every crevice. When you’re cleaning the windows, don’t forget the sills, space between the window, and the screen or storm window. Pay special attention to bathrooms, especially grout. Use a cleaner formulated for this job. Regrout, or replace broken tiles. Scrub and polish woodwork.

Don’t forget to look up. Remove cobwebs and dust moldings, replace burnt-out light bulbs, dust existing bulbs and polish light fixtures. Doing a thorough job ahead of time will make keeping the house in show-ready shape a breeze later.