Tina Fountain | Mon January 3rd, 2011
If you’re thinking of selling your home in the spring market, you should start early to get it sale-ready. Depending on the upgrades your home needs, it could become very time consuming to complete them especially if you try to do the work in between your day job and family activities.
Major overhauls like redoing bathrooms and kitchens aren’t necessary in order to sell your home. If your bathrooms and kitchen could use updating you should consider whether spending the money to do it will result in a good return on your investment. The most conservative approach to selling an outdated home is to price it accordingly. Don’t expect to list it at the same price as the other homes for sale that have had upgrades.
Even if yours doesn’t need updating there are a few minor changes you can make that will have a good return on your real estate investment. The most significant changes you can make include:
Updating the flooring
Adding a fresh coat of paint
Cleaning like there’s no tomorrow
These sound easy to accomplish on paper but getting them done is another matter. You can begin by assessing what needs to be done and doing so early in the year. Consult with your Realtor and seek their advice on considering a professional home stager.
If you plan on re-carpeting or having other flooring changed, you will need to allow plenty of time to do so before listing your home for sale. Changing the flooring will require moving the clutter first and it is better to paint before redoing the flooring. That means you’ll need to hire a painter and flooring professional or set aside a significant amount of time to do these chores yourself.
You will need to allow time for choosing a flooring specialist to work with. Aside from visiting their gallery to see samples, you will need to allow time for measuring, time to choose the flooring, and time for them to get a written quotation back to you. If you plan to compare quotes, you will need more time for extra appointments.
Flooring professionals need lead time to order your product and to book their service crew. Some flooring experts will book you within a couple of weeks while others will need several weeks’ notice. Set a target date for your flooring installation with a goal to have it completed a week or two before you want to show your home. You won’t want to leave time for the new flooring to become soiled or for pets to damage it before showing your house.
Re-carpeting is a good option if you already have carpet. It is less costly and you will get a better return on your investment than if you replace all your floors with hardwood. Hardwood floors are the modern trend and may help your home to sell quicker, but the amount you'll be able to raise your asking price to is usually marginal compared to the exorbitant cost of laying the hardwood. A carpet professional can help you choose something current and inexpensive that is suitable for showcasing your home for sale.
If you’re hiring a professional painter, allow time to get estimates. It can be frustrating when a painter you’ve booked for an estimate cancels his visit because he’s taken on a bigger job. It is important to allow time for problems like this.
Choosing the paint colours themselves can become very time consuming when trying to find a happy medium between neutralizing your home’s colours, keeping them modern, and complementing existing or new furniture and fixtures.
Once you’ve chose your colours and are ready for the painting to begin you will need time to pick up the paint and supplies and do prep work unless a painter will be doing it for you.
A professional may also notice things you should repair such as cracks in ceilings or walls. It is important to repair cracks, drywall tape that may be lifting, and to repaint any ceilings marred by smokers. Drywall repair compound or similar products will need drying and sanding time. Priming and repainting ceilings is very time consuming.
As you can see, a good paint job means more than slapping a new paint colour on.
Once the walls are painted and the flooring laid you will need a day or two to finish de-cluttering closets, crawl spaces, the garage and so forth. You may want to rent a portable storage unit to temporarily remove items from view. You’ll need a day or even a week of lead-time for delivery of the bin, a day or two to load it, and another appointment to have it taken away to the storage facility.
The more you can clean the better. You may want to consider hiring a cleaning service to clean specific areas like your appliances or washrooms and kitchen in order to conserve your energy.
A professional window washer that cleans both the indoors and outdoors will bring that extra sparkle to your home making it look fresh and new.
In order to achieve the best results in a timely way, it is important to draw up a schedule outlining deadlines:
Start by choosing what you feel is an ideal listing date. Then work backwards.
Allow a couple of weeks to clean your home and stage your furniture just before showing it and for an appointment with your realtor to finalize your contract.
Set a deadline for having the flooring completed allowing a six-week period to get the process going.
Set a two to four week period before that for painting.
Often floor baseboards need removing prior to flooring changes. Removing, touching them up and reinstalling them will gobble up another day or two.
Allow several days to de-clutter and complete other repairs.
As you can see, to accomplish even a minor overhaul needs several weeks or months of lead-time. The spring market is a hot selling time you won’t want to miss. Getting your home into sale condition early is very important if you want to capitalize on the rush of buyers hunting down their perfect home.
In today’s competitive real estate market, it pays to be prepared. When you make minor changes to your home, you will have more peace of mind, you will receive more traffic, and you will get better results. Allow plenty of time by starting early in the New Year.
Tina Fountain is the Broker/Owner of Atlanta based Tina Fountain Realtors. She and her staff of real estate agents specialize in homes for sale in Atlanta, luxury homes for sale in Buckhead, and homes for sale in Marietta.