There is no better time to be selling your home in Denver. It doesn’t get much better when you consider these kinds of statistics:
- The median sales price of detached and attached homes -- $526,000 (up 20 percent over last year)
- The average sales price of a detached home -- $699,039 (up $24,049 from March 2021 and a whopping $148,862 higher than April 2020)
- Average days on the market -- 13
- Homes that were listed in April 2021 -- 6,699
- Homes that went under contract in April 2021 -- 5,941
The question now becomes, “What do you really have to do before listing your house?”
While homes are going under contract at a record pace, there are still some basic steps to take before getting your home on the market. These preparations not only guarantee a quick offer but will better facilitate and get you organized for moving into your next home.
#1: Declutter and organize all spaces
Buyers love space, and the best way to make your home look as spacious as possible is to remove excess possessions. The excess should be anything you don’t absolutely need to function on a day-to-day basis while your home is on the market — perhaps half or more of your belongings unless you’re already a minimalist.
In addition to making your home more pleasing to potential buyers, decluttering will leave you with fewer objects to move and possibly some extra cash, should you have anything to sell. Donate, recycle, or toss anything that’s not worth your trouble to sell. Then put what’s left — the stuff you want to keep but can do without for a while — in a portable storage unit. It can be stored off-site and then easily moved to your new home without unpacking and repacking the contents like you’d have to do with a traditional storage unit.
Organize the inside of your closet, pantry, and cabinets. Buyers will look inside them to see how much storage space your home has. Keeping these areas no more than half full and dedicating specific spaces to specific items — one shelf for canned goods, one for baking supplies, one for spices — will help buyers envision the more serene life they’ll have once they move into your clean, perfectly repaired, fresh-smelling, tidy home.
As part of the decluttering and organizing process, you should also depersonalize your home. Put away family photos, pet photos, kids’ artwork, and anything else that might make it hard for potential buyers to envision the home as theirs.
#2: Complete necessary repairs
Unless you’re selling your home as a fixer-upper (and you’re okay with discounting the price), you should repair anything that needs fixing. A turnkey home will command the highest price and will give you the fewest headaches after the buyer’s home inspection.
Enlist your real estate agent or someone who can see your home with a neutral eye to help you walk through and around your home and identify every item that’s not in top condition. Does your roof have missing shingles? Are the gutters and downspouts leaking or not functioning properly? Is the siding damaged? Is the mailbox unstable? Look for leaky faucets, loose doorknobs, squeaky hinges, and cracks or stains on walls and ceilings. You’ll need to fix all these problems so your home will seem immaculately cared for when buyers visit.
Obtaining a pre-inspection can be well worth the cost as well. At an inspection, a professional inspector will look at the condition of a home’s HVAC system, interior plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and structural components. Then they provide you with a written report on what they found so you know a little more of what to expect when a buyer has one performed.
#3: Understand what to expect from offers
Prior to making your home active on the market, your Usaj Realty agent will ask you what terms are important to you (for example, closing date) and then explain how he/she will communicate this to the buyer's agents that submit offers. Furthermore, your Usaj Realty agent will thoroughly communicate to you what each term and condition means and explain how that item has been actualized on submitted offers.
Understanding what terms to look for and how they affect your bottom line is crucial to a successful sale. As your real estate brokerage, it is our job to assist you in obtaining the most optimal terms possible and we make it a priority to both understand what you want and then help find you a buyer who can offer the terms that you need. Communication and organization is a crucial component here and helps make the process so much more seamless when the offers start rolling in. This way, you will know what you are looking at and be able to compare offers more easily.
#4: Make it shine
No one wants to live on your dirty, worn-out carpet, so have it replaced or at the least, deep cleaned. Get the windows professionally cleaned so they sparkle and let in maximum sunlight. Wash or vacuum your window coverings to get rid of dust. Get out your vacuum attachments to clean all those corners you normally let go of. Take care of the soap scum in the shower, the ring around the tub, scuff marks on the baseboards, dinged walls, and the grease and food splatters around the kitchen.
Don’t forget to clean the garbage disposal and the microwave and ask someone who doesn’t live with you to give you an honest assessment of your home’s odor so buyers won’t be turned off by any lingering smells.
#5: Implement a smart pricing strategy
As tempting as it sounds, it’s not a good idea to automatically tack an additional $10,000 or more on your house because it's a seller's market. You may feel your house is the best piece of property in your neighborhood but the potential buyers may not see it that way. Today’s buyers are much savvier, having access to online real estate websites, and most people will take the time to research homes that have sold in your neighborhood. They typically will know the value of the additions/renovations you’ve made and whether the price truly represents those improvements.
Before you even start thinking about selling your home, get an idea of the worth of the upgrades you have completed and make sure they are highlighted in the property description and promotional materials. Any renovations or improvements will boost the value of your home and help justify the list price.
Your real estate agent will collect data on comparable sales in the area as well as homes that have similar floor plans, amenities, square footage, and lot size. An accurate picture includes homes that have sold in the last three months. The information will contain the original asking price, if the price dropped and whether the buyer paid above the asking price.
If you do end up pricing your home above what has been the average price of a similar home in the neighborhood, be prepared to justify the price tag, whether in the ensuing negotiations or through the property description and highlights. Also, have a game plan on if and when you’ll lower the price. Will it happen 7 days after the listing, 14 days? Having several scenarios in place helps keep the process moving and will eliminate any unnecessary frustration by the seller and realtor.
#6: Hire a home stager
If you can afford professional home staging, it can be well worth the cost! It will save you time and help you create a vibe that you probably couldn’t achieve on your own. Home stagers know not only what looks good from a design standpoint but what helps a home sell for top dollar. If professional staging isn’t in your budget or you don’t want to bother with it, take these steps on your own.
Stagers and real estate agents will know what buyers are currently looking for. For example, many buyers today are looking for home office space, great outdoor space, and workout space. Your stager can actualize these spaces by sprucing up underutilized pockets in your home or repurposing an area of your home to fit these popular needs.
Your Usaj Realty agent will be able to recommend a great stager that matches your style, timeline, and budget.
#7: Add a fresh coat of paint
Paint walls, ceilings, and trim as needed. If you have non-neutral or outdated paint colors, wallpaper, stains, cracks, or peeling paint, it’s time for a fresh coat or two. Consider using some of 2021’s hottest paint colors. Otherwise, keep it neutral. Your home’s exterior might need a fresh paint job, too, or at least a good power washing.
#8: Spruce up your curb appeal
Speaking of the outside of your home, landscaping has a big impact on curb appeal and on buyers’ first impressions. Don’t forget an inviting welcome mat, replace any burned-out outdoor light bulbs, and remember to examine the entrance to your house. Is a new front door necessary or maybe just a new coat of paint? Don’t forget to have containers with flowers or other plants to welcome your potential buyers.
Posted by Pat O'Connor
Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys hanging out with her three kids and assortment of family pets, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. As a mother to two (at one time three) competitive swimmers, her favorite fragrance is eau de chlorine. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs on Saturdays and screaming when the Packers score on Sundays. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.Facebook LinkedIn Twitter