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12 Tips for Getting Your Oakland County MI House Ready to Sell
If you are getting ready to sell your Oakland County MI home, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Selling a home involves a whole lot more than just planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn or uploading a few interior/exterior photos of your house. Real estate agents are experts when it comes to what makes homes sell. They can do a walkthrough of your home and point out changes you need to make to attract buyers and get the best offers.
REALTORS® can see flaws you are oblivious to because you see them every day or you simply don’t view them as flaws. They can also help you determine which feedback from potential buyers you should act on after you put your home on the market to improve its chances of selling. Anyone who’s determined to sell their own home should hire a professional cleaning service to give it a deep cleaning before putting it on the market. Sellers should also consider hiring a home stager to assess the current condition and market appeal of the home.
Here are a few tips to help you get ready to sell your Oakland County MI home fast and for top dollar:
1). Find a qualified Oakland County MI real estate agent
You might be tempted to avoid a real estate agent, save the commission, and just sell your home on your own, also known as “for sale by owner” (FSBO). However, in most cases, the risks of going it alone outweigh the benefits. Risks include having fewer potential buyers, not knowing how to negotiate like a pro, not having enough free time to market your home, and not having the expertise to navigate all of the legal and regulatory requirements that come with selling a property.
Oakland County MI Real estate agents who have worked with many home sellers can identify the to-do’s that sellers typically overlook. There’s also the fact that professional real estate agents network know other REALTORS®. Often times an agent will post their listing on social media, and because of their network of real estate agents, it reaches the right audience who in turn shares that information with the buyers they are working with.
Do some research to find a REALTOR® in Oakland County MI with knowledge of the local market and make sure the agent you choose is a good fit. You want an agent you are going to feel comfortable working with and one you can trust to sell your home fast and for top dollar. When interviewing a listing agent, be sure to ask about their experience in your neighborhood, connections to potential buyers, and social media expertise.
The Realtor® you choose should be able to give you a comprehensive plan for how they are going to sell your home. Don’t be afraid to speak with a few agents before picking one to work with.
2). Research your local housing market
First and foremost, make sure to do your homework on the value of your home. Start by researching the local housing market through Realtor.com. Take a look at comparable sales in your neighborhood to figure out the appropriate listing price for your home. Pay attention to the various comps’ square footage, features, and location.
Finally, think about how they compare to your home. For example, your neighbor’s home may have sold for $1 million, but if your home is considerably smaller, you’ll most likely need to list your house for less. Of course, a reputable real estate agent should be able to assist with finding comps and determining the right listing price for your house.
3). Amp up your home’s curb appeal
Curb appeal is both an art and a science. And since it’s a buyer’s first impression of your home, it can be absolutely essential for getting your home sold. Curb appeal will improve how your home looks to buyers as they pull up and park or drive by. That includes your driveway to the potted plants on your porch to the welcome mat at your front door.
By investing in some relatively easy fixes such as replacing an old mailbox, planting colorful flowers, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, sprucing up lawn furniture with some new cushions, and repainting your front door, the outside of your house will encourage prospective buyers to take the next step and arrange for a tour inside.
There is also the stuff you don’t necessarily want prospective buyers to see such as garbage cans, recycling containers, compost bins, jumbled hoses, garden tools, bicycles, and toys strewn all over the lawn. You want to be sure the outside of your home is neat and tidy because it says ‘well-maintained’ to potential buyers.
If you’re not sure how to improve your home’s curb appeal, ask your Oakland County MI real estate agent for advice on how others in your area have improved the exterior of their homes before selling.
4). Depersonalize your home
Depersonalizing it is an important step when preparing your house for sale. Your home is likely filled with many personal items that are unique, special, and important to you and your family. However, to prepare your house to sell, you’ll want to remove your personality so that potential buyers can visualize themselves actually living in the space.
Make it as easy as possible for them by removing personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make the home less appealing to the general public. Dozens of antique plates, figurines, ball caps, or beer bottles lining shelves are distracting, especially in online photos. Get those things packed away. The added benefit of depersonalizing is that it’s a good start to decluttering. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of happily living in the space.
5). Declutter every area of your home
Before you can successfully show off your house to anyone (or even take listing photos) you need to ensure you have a home that people would want to live in. When getting your house ready to show, less is definitely more. And since potential buyers like to see everything, that means no area of your home (not even your utility closet) is off-limits from the gaze of a serious house hunter.
Clean off countertops, windowsills, tables, shelving, and all other visible areas. Next, you will want to tackle behind closed doors, closets, drawers, and cupboards. Take your excess stuff and donate it, or pack it up to be stored somewhere else. Not only will clearing the clutter help make your house look more appealing to potential buyers, but it will also help you once you’ve accepted an offer and it’s time to pack up and move to your new abode.
6). Give your home a deep clean
When selling your Oakland County MI home, it’s important to keep everything clean and tidy. You never know when a buyer might want to schedule a last-minute tour. First impressions mean everything, so don’t let dirty floors, dusty surfaces, and dingy carpet make a bad one on a potential buyer. Before listing your home, you want every square inch to shine, from the baseboards to the corners of your ceilings and everywhere in between.
This means wiping down surfaces, cleaning toilets, mopping floors, washing windows, dusting ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, and rafters, cleaning rugs, etc. Remember to take special care with the bathrooms, making sure the tile, counters, toilet, shower, and floors shine. Whether you do the cleaning yourself or hire a professional house cleaning service, you want your home is pristine clean at all times, especially for those last-minute showings.
7). Repaint the walls to neutral colors
You might love that purple accent wall in your foyer, but if a potential buyer isn’t into purple, it could be a turnoff. According to Home Advisor, the best paint colors for selling your home are neutral colors and earthy tones. This means warm beige, light gray, off-white verging on yellow and white.
Ask yourself these questions while selecting paint colors:
- Does it feel warm and inviting?
- Does it feel cold or boring?
- Can you see the previous color underneath?
Fortunately, there are many neutral colors that make your home feel warm. For example, try greige, which is a warm shade of gray that’s closer to beige than it is to blue. Neutral colors are also versatile. You can place any color couch into a white living room wall and any color table and chairs to a beige kitchen interior. For your kitchen, choose light blue or gray paint.
Research shows that homes with this color kitchen sold for almost $2,000 more than homes with white-walled kitchens, according to Home Advisor. If you’re looking for a professional paint job, you might need to know the cost to hire a painter to see what works with your budget. The average cost to paint a house is between $960 and $2,750. Also, when you paint your home’s whole interior the same neutral tone, you save money because you can buy in bulk.
Keep in mind that during an open house, homebuyers can more easily imagine their decor in a neutral room than a chartreuse room they would have to repaint. You want to help buyers picture themselves in the house because if they don’t feel at home, they’ll probably look at other real estate options.
8). Make sure big-ticket items are in working condition
Unless you are selling your home in as-is condition or to a buyer who is planning to gut it, you will want to make sure any big-ticket items are in good working condition. Consider getting a home inspection done to help guide you where you should spend money or be able to factor that into the price and be aware of any big issues during negotiations.
If you take care of the improvements, you may be able to ask a higher price for the home, covering the cost of the upgrades with your list price and making it attractive to a broader group of buyers. Tackling problem areas now will also help you avoid post-inspection price reductions.
These are the most common big-ticket items, including some that buyers and their inspectors could flag as safety issues:
- Replacing the roof
- Updating the electrical panel
- Installing a new water heater
- Addressing termite, mold, or water damage
- Repairing pipes, sewer connection, or septic system
- Updating the HVAC system
9). Fix and repair everything and anything that needs it
Along with big-ticket items, make sure anything and everything that needs to be fixed (locks, hardware, cracks in the walls, scuff marks, missing light bulbs, loose handles, squeaky doors, etc.) has been taken care of before listing your home. Otherwise, It may make buyers think your home hasn’t been well taken care of and stop to think what else could be wrong with it.
Beyond any critical updates, think about the following easy things to do before selling your house. Many of these items can be tackled over a weekend before putting your house on the market.
- Caulking in bathrooms and kitchens
- Improving lighting by adding fixtures or replacing bulbs
- Having the carpets professionally cleaned
- Paint touch-ups
- Painting the baseboards
Selling almost any home can be tricky, but selling a home with lots of little problems and small repair needs can be downright difficult. With a home that is fixed up and move-in ready, you’re more likely to see more interest in your home and may even see multiple offers.
10). Give your home the sniff test
As you get your Oakland County MI home ready to sell, keep in mind that the visual appeal of your home is not the only thing to be considered. Foul odors, even slight ones, can be a deal-breaker, and the problem is that you might not even notice them.
Overwhelming odors can be off-putting to buyers at best, and leave a negative impression, at worst. You want to make sure that your house passes the sniff-test.
Here are the places in your home that typically need attention:
- Closets. Odors tend to build up in closets because they stay closed.
- Bathrooms. Besides the obvious odors, mildew on surfaces and towels can be either subtle or strong.
- Bedrooms. Dirty clothes, bed linens, carpet, and musty drapes can cause odors.
- Kitchens. Onions, garlic, and strong spices can linger in the air from last night’s dinner. Garbage disposals and kitchen trash cans can also add unpleasant odors to the mix.
- Basements. Basements often not have the same airflow that the main floor rooms have, and musty odors can build up.
- Pet smells. It is common to get used to pet smells and forget that buyers will immediately notice the lingering smell of pets.
- Trash receptacles. Probably the worst odor culprit of them all.
To solve those unpleasant odors in your home, natural solutions like baking soda are the best, which absorbs the odors from the air. You can use absorbent air fresheners in closets to absorb stale odors in the air and place them inside gym shoes that can build up odors. Use a dehumidifier in the basement to keep that musty smell away and also open windows periodically to get fresh air circulating throughout the space.
If you’re going to use strong-smelling cleaners like bleach, make sure to clean the night before so the odors are not overpowering to potential buyers. Be sure to place pet beds and items outside or in a garage before a showing, and keep a neutralizing spray on hand to spray on furniture, carpets, or any place where your pet has been. Take the trash out before a showing. It’s a good idea to remove all trash receptacles.
We often get used to the odors in our living spaces so it helps to have a friend or family member that does not live with us (and who will be brutally honest) to give the home the sniff test.
11). Consider professional home staging
Consider getting your home staged by a professional home stager. Home staging is a method of decorating meant to highlight your house’s most impressive assets and help buyers imagine themselves living there. Home stagers will evaluate the current condition and belongings in your home and determine what elements to add or take out that might raise the bar.
According to a staging report by the National Association of Realtors, 49% of buyers’ agents believe that home staging has an effect on how a buyer views the home, with 77% saying that it makes it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their own. On the seller’s agent side, 21% said that home staging increases the value of a home between 6% and 10%, and 39% note that it greatly decreases the total amount of time a home is on the market.
With so much to gain, it makes sense for sellers to stage their home, and fortunately, many of the best staging tips don’t require spending a lot of money. Professional stages know the real estate market, and what sells, so it’s important to take their advice and not take offense when they make big changes. Their job is to help drum up interest from potential buyers, which is always good news to the seller.
12). Hire a professional photographer
In 2021, everyone is looking at images and videos online to make decisions. Professional real estate photography and real estate video tours can help sell your home faster. Given that many potential buyers search for homes online, it’s crucial to include high quality, professional photos in your online listing.
According to a recent study, professional real estate photography can earn you between $1,000 and $100,000 more on your final sales price. In addition, better quality photos can also increase the number of people clicking on your listing. This means that simply updating your listing with professional photos can potentially double the attention your home gets from potential buyers.
Professional photographers understand the essential elements that make up quality home images. Furnished rooms and spectacularly staged photos attract homebuyers by helping them envision their new life in your home. Few pictures are automatically perfect. Instead, they require careful post-production editing to enhance the final product.
Before putting your home on the market, hire a professional photographer to snap photos or create an impressive video tour of your clean and staged abode. Your Oakland County MI real estate agent should be able to help with finding a professional real estate photographer, so be sure to ask who they use when interviewing real estate agents to work with.
Partner with award-winning Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam
Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted Oakland County MI REALTOR® in Oakland County MI for the past 20 years- offering his guidance and expertise to home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that selling your home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust to get you top dollar.
Tom employs the latest technology to get your home in front of as many buyers as possible. He also partners with the most talented home stagers and real estate photographers/videographers to ensure that your home’s features are optimally showcased.
Tom will create a competitive marketing strategy that exposes your home to the public along with other real estate agents through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, and so on. Your listing will appear on all the most popular real estate sites where buyers spend hours a day looking at such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, REMAX, Redfin, and dozens of others. Your home will also be featured on Tom’s own highly-trafficked website homes2moveyou.com.
As your agent, Tom will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and do whatever it takes to get your home sold fast for the best price. Feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him by email.
Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Email: Tom @ Homes2MoveYou.com