How to prepare your home for sale

Preparation is the Key to Selling Your Home
By David Reibstein
President, Homarc

For many seniors along Philadelphia’s Main Line, it’s time to get moving.

Real estate sales are finally picking up again after the post-recessionary period – and the market for seniors housing is particularly strong. According to the National Investment Center for the Senior Housing & Care Industry, senior housing occupancy and rent both grew in the second quarter of 2014. While independent living housing inventory grew only 0.5%, assisted living inventory grew at its fastest rate in seven years.

So – how does one start the process of downsizing to a smaller home or moving into a retirement community? Here are some tips.

Address Structural Issues

One of the first things you should do is examine and, if needed, repair any major structural systems in your home. If you are unaware of any structural problems, you may want to hire a professional home inspector. A potential buyer will hire an inspector to examine the house, so you might as well save yourself any surprises down the road.

The American Society of Home Inspectors says a typical home inspection includes drainage conditions, exterior surfaces (e.g., decks, chimneys), windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, furnace, air conditioner, insulation, ventilation, electrical, heating and plumbing systems.

Once that’s completed, you should make sure you don’t have any loose shingles or other roofing problem spots. Repair and paint your gutters if needed. Once the structural systems are given the “thumbs-up,” you should then turn to your home’s appearance.

Detailing your Home: Neat and Clean Sells Homes!

Two of the most effective yet most inexpensive ways to improve the look of your home are to shampoo your carpets and repaint any walls that are dirty or dingy. It’s best to keep the paint colors neutral.

Next you’ll want to get rid of all the extra clutter. “Decluttering” is one of the most stressful tasks for seniors because it requires making difficult decisions about items they have been accumulating for years, many of which are of great sentimental value. One helpful way to approach this task is to consider the ways that unwanted or unneeded items can be disposed of:

  • Give items to children or other loved ones
  • Sell items through an auction house, eBay or garage sale
  • Donate items to a charity (there are companies that specialize in helping movers by removing donated items from the home)
  • Throw away any remaining unneeded items

When a potential buyer looks at your house, there should be enough open space for them to visualize their things in the room. They shouldn’t have to visually plod through all of your belongings.

A home shopper’s first impression of your home is critical, so creating good curb appeal is essential. You can begin by making sure your front landscape is well maintained, the lawn is mowed on schedule, and bushes and trees are pruned.

Like other major undertakings, the key to selling a house is preparation. By following these tips, you’ll be prepared to show your house at its best and, ultimately, garner top dollar for its sale.