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 Thinking of Selling Your Home in the Spring?
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Tue, Feb 1st, 2005 11:55 pm

Are you thinking of selling your home this spring? Well, the time to start planning for it is NOW!

One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make when he or she is thinking about selling their home is failing to plan for the sale in advance. There really is more to selling a home than putting a sign in the yard and waiting for a contract. If your plan is to list your home for sale in May or June, then you need to be laying the ground work to prepare your home for sale in January or February.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

- Does your home need repair work or improvements that could turn off potential buyers?

When you are about to sell a home, it’s tempting to ignore needed repairs and tell yourself, “it’ll be the next guys problem.” However that rain damaged basement, leaky roof, or worn out 1970’s shag carpeting might be the deciding factor that keeps dozens of buyers from making an offer. The end result is a “next guy” may never transpire and your home ends up setting on the market unsold for months until you finally make the needed repairs.

Generally when this happens, you still end up with the cost of the repair work that you were hoping to pass on, but get a lower sales price because the property was “stigmatized” by not selling within the first few months. At the same time, you also have to keep paying the mortgage(s) until the home sells and have the expense or work of maintaining the property- mowing the lawn, cleaning the home, etc.

- Are there improvements that could be made to your home that would increase the value beyond the cost of the improvements and help it sell faster?

If you could spend $2,000 on your home and earn an additional $10,000 wouldn’t you want to do it? Things don’t have to be broken or worn out to negatively impact your home’s value or your ability to sell it. It’s amazing, but sometimes $500 in landscaping or a quick touch-up on the outside paint can increase buyer traffic from 2 people a week touring your home to 20 people a week. A few updates inside can mean the difference between a full-price contract the week you list your home and a discounted contract several months later.

More important, your home may have “hidden value”. An unfinished area that could be turned into an additional bedroom or bathroom, for example, could increase your property value by 15-20% or more depending on the market.

- Is your home cluttered, cramped, or crowded with furniture and other “stuff” you’ve collected over the years? Do you have rooms not being used for their original purpose? Is your home decorated with a “distinct” taste?

Your home is your home. Making your home unique to you with all of your personal touches is one of the rights you get with homeownership. When you want to sell your home, however, it’s another story. Basically, you are trying to get other people to visualize what the home would look like if they made THEIR personal touches.

Unfortunately, the walls of family photos or rooms of antique furniture, the blue paint, pink carpeting, or floral wallpaper you dearly love, or the pool table in the spare bedroom might not only turn off prospective buyers with different tastes, but prove to be a distraction that keeps buyers from really seeing the home. Packing up distractions, neutralizing décor, and moving out excessive furniture to make your home seem larger before you list it can not only help you get a quick sale, but can also help with the moving process. Remember, you want buyers looking at the house, NOT your stuff.

KNOWING WHAT NEEDS DONE:

One of the biggest problems that homeowners face is that they are too attached to their home, and the stuff in it, to be objective on how to get the home ready to sell. At the same time, without a background in real estate you might not see the improvements that could significantly increase your home’s value or speed up the sale- like adding that extra bedroom or remodeling a kitchen. That’s why you should contact your realtor several months in advance and ask her/him to come by to give you ideas on any repairs, improvements, or suggestions that might help you in the sale of your property.

Why is it important to do a professional walkthrough with your realtor several months in advance? If there is a project that can significantly increase your home’s value, you may need time to raise the money to start the work. It’s also not uncommon for good handymen to be booked up months in advance- so you may need time to schedule the project and get the work done before listing your home. You don’t want prospective buyers walking into a construction zone any more than you want your home sale delayed several months because of construction.

That’s why now is the time to start the ball rolling for a spring home sale. Remember spring is when a flood of homes hits the market for sale. If you wait until April or May to start thinking about project work, you may find the competition to get repair people, handymen or construction companies to do the work to be intense. This can delay your sale until late summer, or cost you a premium to get the work done quickly. You can also use this advance time to clear the property of junk or debris, do some of the project work yourself, pack extra belongings, have a garage sale, donate items, etc.

Plus, doing it now will save you the stress of doing it all this spring when you might also be trying shop for a new home or pack and move.

If you would like to have a free home consultation to prepare your home for a spring sale, contact Kimberly Cameron at 314-267-2691. We would be glad to help.

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Darin 'Sid' Cameron, CRS

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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