All of life’s major projects take preparation, and selling a home in the Santa Barbara area requires just that. Contacting my office is a pretty good place to begin, because selling a home efficiently and within a reasonable amount of time most often takes extensive knowledge of the local market. A checklist is a good way to introduce the steps you can take to prepare for selling a home. Here’s a quick overview of five of the items I include in that checklist:
1. The obvious first step is identifying any major problems and determining what should be done about them. Decide whether you are going to fix items like roof leaks, rewiring, insect infestations or the presence of asbestos -- or whether you are going to reduce your asking price to reflect any unremediated issues. I can provide input to help you establish where possible value may be added or lost, and what is worth your time and investment to fix.
2. Whenever you return home, take a moment to pause and visualize what someone driving by for the first time will see. Make a solid first impression by tidying the front yard and keeping the lawn neatly cut and edged. Strategically place colorful flowers in planters where that is appropriate. Repair fences and gates, and be certain that they look freshly painted. And if Fido has the run of the place, be sure that his (ahem!) evidence is nowhere to be seen.
3. Stage your home to maximize its appeal – and keep in mind that staging needs to be fresh for every prospect. Remove any unnecessary furniture. That may well mean renting a storage unit to place it and all other clutter into (it’s bound to be a better solution than trying to jam everything into closets or the garage!). Paint walls in light, neutral colors. Remove heavy window treatments to let in as much light as you can (the ‘cheeriness factor’). Keep the kitchen and bathroom as spotless as possible. Make sure that your home smells fresh by opening windows and using flowers, candles or air fresheners; but be careful not to overdo it. I can be especially helpful at this stage, and if it’s indicated, we can discuss whether it makes sense to hire a professional stager.
4. Have the property's value appraised, and educate yourself about the competition. For a bank to issue a loan, your home must compare favorably with similar properties on the market. When we sit down to establish a list price, we’ll need to keep that research and the recent and best comparables in mind.
5. This is my favorite to-do item: Be prepared to go! If a move is going to be in your future, you should begin the hunt for a new home, and be prepared to move quickly once you have an executed offer!