If you are selling your Southern Maryland Home, I’ll bet that you want to make as much money as you can. But, are you willing to do what it takes? If the answer is yes, continue reading to see what you can do to maximize the return on your biggest investment. The goal here is to create a home that is move-in ready, appeals to as many people as possible, and to remove all of the “red flags” that could scare away potential buyers. How do you accomplish this? Be proactive. Show that you care about your home, have completed routine maintenance, and have taken the time to show off it’s best features. Here’s how we actually accomplish this:
1 Pre-Inspect (& Make Repairs!)
When someone makes an offer on your home, they will most likely include a contingency for a satisfactory home inspection. They’ll hire a professional to check your house out top to bottom and then they’ll send a list of repairs that they want you to fix prior to settlement. So, why not take a proactive step to rectify any of these potential problems before the buyer ever has to discover them on their own?
By ordering your own home inspection, you’ll have a chance to see what buyers and their inspectors may see when they get to this step in the process. Not only that, you’ll be able to make these repairs prior to it getting that far. The buyer will still probably get their own inspection, but the result will be a far better report that results in less items that could scare away the buyer and that will be requested during the contract period. This timeline can be tight since it’s not uncommon to have a 30 day contract to close period. Getting these things done in advance can not only save a future deal but it can also save you a ton of stress when things are already hectic!
2 Roof, Septic, Well, Termite, and HVAC Certificates
The biggest items that buyers look at during the showing and inspection process are the roof, septic, well, and hvac. On top of that, many buyers and lenders also require a termite certificate. This topic also falls under the inspection category but can be taken a step further. Doing so, could help the sale – BIG time!
These big expenses can quickly scare off potential buyers. Showing off the fact that they have been pre-inspected, serviced, and/or certified can go a long way in earning the buyers trust and ultimately their offer.
- A roofer will check out the age, condition, and components of a roof. They will recommend any needed repairs and then provide a certificate when they are completed (or right away if no repairs are needed.)
- I not only recommend that you get a septic certificate, I also recommend that you have it pumped to show that routine maintenance has been completed.
- It’s not uncommon to have a well fail a bacteria test. But, it sounds scarier than it is! Sure, you don’t want bacteria in your well water and it can make you sick – no doubt! But, the fix for a failed test is usually pretty simple. Unless there is an underlying issue or failing system, the fix for a failed test is to have it treated and retested. The test is usually around a hundred dollars and if it fails, the treatment is generally less than three hundred dollars. It’s worth every penny for your health and for the peace of mind it will bring a buyer to see a clear test in advance.
- This is the word that NO ONE wants to hear – TERMITES! Eek! Ok, yes that are bad! So, let’s assess to ensure that your home does not have any issue and then treat and repair damages if there is an issue. Not only will this be a huge deal to any prospective home buyers, a clear termite certificate is also a common requirement of many lenders and with many loan types.
- Have your HVAC system serviced! Annual servicing is recommended by most heating and air companies to ensure your system is working well, efficiently, and that any issues are taken care of before the repair turns into something even bigger. Seeing that this has been completed, will set your buyers mind at ease. Not only that, but if there is a home warranty involved, either purchased by you as part of the deal or by the buyer after the fact, many companies won’t honor that warranty when something goes wrong if the buyer cannot show that it has been serviced within the last 12 months.
3 Spruce up the curb appeal
Wow them from the first moment! When they pull up in their car, you want them to fall in love! Set the tone for a great showing by making the front of the house and the yard look well kept, clean, and colorful. Keep the yard mowed, weed the flower beds, add some mulch and plant or pot some colorful flowers around the walkway and front door. Check the paint on your front door, trim, and windows. Make sure that nothing is pealing and it all looks fresh and clean. Repainting the front door and the shutters can completely change the look of the house. Don’t be afraid to check out HGTV for some color ideas. Buyer’s love inviting, and sometimes bold colors when they approach a home. It makes them feel happy and excited for what’s to come when they check out the inside. Also, don’t forget to pressure wash and seal any cracks in the concrete or mortar! You want to not only freshen up but also ensure that these minor issues are corrected before your first buyers stops by.
4 Pack & Stage
You’ve probably heard this before – “You’re moving anyways, so you might as well go ahead and pack it up!”. It’s not just something people say, packing up your odds and ends can go a long way to creating a more invited space that buyers can envision their lives in. You want to de-clutter and de-personalize. You want them to be able to envision THEIR lives in your home, not yours!
After you’ve packed up all of your non-essentials, take a look at the space and re-arrange any furniture or decorations that could show off the space better if moved around a bit. You want to make sure that there are clear pathways to move from space to space that make sense. Pay attention to how things flow and how you are drawn towards the areas of your home that need to be showcased. For instance, do you have a great view or back up to a peaceful setting? Make sure that all doors and windows have a clear pathway to them and are not blocked by furniture. Make the path to them feel natural. Do you have a great fireplace or other architectural element ? Do the same as you did with the windows. Clear the path to them and allow buyers to easily stroll towards them. Need some help with this? No worries! I have teamed up with some great home stagers that can help us through this process.
5 Hire a professional cleaning service
A home can feel “lived in” to you while feeling dirty to someone else. Ever feel ok with your own dirt but not someone else’s? Let’s not take offense here, ok? Let’s go ahead and get a good scrub down to eliminate dust and dirt from all of those places that often don’t get that deep cleaning. Another thing that most people don’t realize can turn a buyer off in seconds – ODORS! That’s right. What you cooked last night or that pet you love so much, can help a buyer make up their mind as soon as they step foot through the door. It sets a bad tone for the entire showing and could drastically change the mood or open mindedness of the person viewing your home. So, let’s just bite the bullet and get it cleaned by a professional!
There you have it! The big 5 things that I recommend doing before you list. BUT LET ME BE CLEAR – We can start working on the sale of your home before these things are completed. We can start the “Coming Soon” process, which I’ll tell you more about in our consultation. These are just some of the things that you can be working on while I’m drafting your marketing materials, planning your full listing campaign, and generating “pre-list” interest. Getting you top dollar in the least amount of time is my job, but it certainly helps when we make it a team project! You completing this task list can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your bottom dollar.
Christina Porter Wolfrum
Cell #: 240.587.1687
Alt office #: 410.535.6291
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