Preparing to Sell Your Home – This Spring!

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Are you looking to sell your home this spring? You’d better get cracking now if you want your home to stand out from the competition.

Selling isn’t just slapping an ad on Craigslist. It could take months to do right – time that is slipping away if you want to list in spring.

After all, Spring is prime house-shopping season, and this year is shaping up to be one of the best for home sellers in  almost 15 years.

So you need to take a hard look at your home. You must realize that, like it or not, your home has sustained some wear and tear over the years.

We’re here to help, because there are renovations that will pay off for you while others won’t.

Let’s assess the damage so you can fix any problems and upgrade any eyesores. Here’s how to whip your place into listing-ready shape.

1. List the Age of Home Features

No matter how great your home looks at first glance, any savvy buyer will point to various parts and pop the question: How old is this? Guessing won’t cut it. It’s time to gather some paperwork.

If you’ve purchased your home in the past few years, check your home records or seller’s disclosure for the age or last repair of big items. Namely your roof, HVAC system, water heater, and gutters. Dig up copies of your own maintenance records or receipts.

How long items last depends on a lot of factors such as the model and how well it’s been maintained, but you can get a general idea of average life span from the National Association of Home Builders.

Here are some typical home systems life spans for example:

•Wood shingle and shake roof: 15 to 30 years

•Central air-conditioning unit: 15 years

•Electric water heater: 14 years

•Gutters: 30 years

2. Do Your Own (Hypercritical) Walk-Through

Channel Sherlock Holmes and go through your home, room by room.

Look for signs of damage that might drag down its value. Chandler Crouch, broker for Chandler Crouch Realtors in Forth Worth, TX, suggests looking for these common problem spots:

•Wood rot around outside door frames, window ledges, and garage doors. Condensation and rain can cause these areas to weaken and rot.

•Water stains on the ceiling or near doors and windows. This can indicate a leaky roof or rain seeping in from outside.

•Leaks under sinks or around toilets.

•Bulges under carpet or discoloration on hardwood floors, which can indicate flooding problems or an uneven foundation.

Next, test what’s called the “functionality” in every room.

For example, “Cracks visible in the walls and floor, doors that don’t shut right, broken handles on cabinetry, basically anything that doesn’t work perfectly should be repaired,” Crouch says.

Don’t forget to inspect the outside. “A lot of sellers skip the outside, but it is so important. That is where buyers will make their first impression,” says Darbi McGlone, a Realtor® with Jim Talbot Real Estate in Baton Rouge, LA.

3. Bring In Professionals to Sell Your Home

Once you’ve done your own walk-through, you may want to have a pro take a second look.

These people can spot flaws you overlooked, because either you’re used to them or you didn’t realize they could cause trouble.

You can enlist a Realtor or hire a home inspector to do an inspection (or pre-inspection) to pinpoint problems from bad wiring to outdated plumbing.

While the cost varies, people pay $300 to $500 for a home inspection. Go to the National Association of Home Inspectors to find an inspector in your area.

It may cost a bit, but it will buy you the peace of mind of knowing you’re not in for any surprises down the road. In fact, having a home inspection report handy to show buyers can inspire confidence that they (and you by association) aren’t in for any nasty surprises as you move toward a deal.

Wissel Homes has a great rolodex of professionals that they’ve used and have worked with in the past. If you need  reliable suggestions, we have them for you.

4. Decide What Needs Renovating

Once you know what in your house could stand for repairs or upgrades, it’s time to decide where to infuse some cash.

Don’t worry, not everything needs to be done before your home’s on the market. We get it. You’re probably not jumping at the idea of renovating a property you’re going to sell. Just remember that certain fixes will give you an edge over the competition, which means more offers, better offers, and a shorter time on the market.

Remember, real estate is an investment!

Just obsess over the obvious—e.g., your kitchen could stand for new cabinets. After all, many buyers will want to tweak cosmetic details to their own tastes, so you could be throwing money down the drain.

Instead, focus on fix-its that are less susceptible to personal preferences that buyers like to know are in good shape.

For example, a recent study by the National Association of Realtors® found that upgrading hardwood floors reaps an estimated 100% return on investment, essentially paying for itself.

Upgrading your insulation can net you a 95% ROI, a new roof a whopping 105%!

Because what buyers don’t like to know they’ve got a solid roof over their heads?

Alexander’s Note: All great points. We always caution that you should never look at any home updates as money making ventures. That “new roof” used in the example above doesn’t mean your home will necessarily see that dollar for dollar increase in value relative to its peers.

This year is going to be one of the best years for selling your home in decades. If you want to hit the spring market running you need to be prepared.

Making a list of your home’s upgrades and system ages isn’t just a good idea, it’s necessary for certain types of listings.

As always if you have questions about how to sell your home: an upgrade, market readiness or getting your home ready.. contact the agents at Wissel Homes. We can help give you suggestions, contractor referrals or identify potential hiccups.

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The professionals at Wissel Homes know the Central Maryland market because it’s our home too. We live and breathe the local neighborhoods in Howard County, Carroll County, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and more. We understand what it takes to get the job done right. Contact us today to set up an appointment to list your home or to start the home buying process. Let our experience help move you into your dream home.