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Most Important Things To Do Before Listing Your Home

Beautifully Staged Sparkling Clean KitchenWorking with a professional real estate agent is an intelligent way to navigate the challenges of local markets. We are experiencing challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Sanibel & Captiva Island. The Sanibel Causeway reopened to traffic on January 2nd, 2023. This is great news. It is a good time to make a plan if you want to sell your home. 

Phaidra McDermott is a real estate agent and lifelong resident of Sanibel Island. She is the perfect partner to help you navigate the challenges of the current market and make a plan to sell your home. 

Your home sale plan will include making an estimate of the proceeds of the sale, where you will live following the sale, and how much you will spend on your next home (hence the estimate on the proceeds of the sale). The plan will also include scheduling a pre-sale inspection to identify major repairs and staging your home (decluttering, cleaning, painting, and making minor repairs). Here are some of the most important things to do before listing your home (though often in more favorable circumstances). 

Work with a Professional 

A Seller’s Agent: Working with a professional real estate agent will ensure the sale of your home is made efficiently, correctly, and for the best possible price. There are a lot of details in marketing your home. There is a lot of paperwork. This is all handled with ease by your seller’s agent. It is what they do. They have the knowledge and the tools to do the job right. 

Plan for Your Next Home 

Where Will You Live?: You may have already picked out your next home and made an offer. You may plan on taking your time to look for a new home and want to secure an interim residence for rent. 

Your seller’s agent will make the process much easier whatever you decide. They have the experience and connections to help make your transition go smoothly. They also will help you understand what you can plan to spend (using proceeds of the sale) for your next home, and if it’s truly a good time to sell. 

How Much Will You Have to Spend?: Everyone’s financial picture is different. When considering how much to budget for your new home you will want to use the equity you have in your current home (based on what you owe on the mortgage subtracted from the selling price) and subtract closing cost expenses. Closing costs for sellers generally range between 2%-5% of the sale price of the home but can be as much as 10%. This represents the proceeds of the sale, which you can use in part, or in full, towards the purchase of your next home.

Pre-Sale Inspection 

Home Inspection: A home inspection is inexpensive. The cost ranges from $300-$500 for a typical 2-3 hour inspection of a single family home (per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). Buyer’s agents will recommend their clients schedule a home inspection, and the results of the inspections are listed as a contingency on the formal offer. 

It is wise for the seller to schedule a pre-sale home inspection long before a buyer schedules a home inspection. It is inexpensive (as stated above), and the seller can use the results of the inspection to make repairs prior to listing, or simply adjust their asking price and include any discovered flaws in the disclosure statement.

Home Staging Basics 

Declutter: You will need to stage your home. You will need to remove clutter. It’s at the top of the list in home staging basics. You don’t need to remove all the items in your home, but you do need to get rid of excessive nicknacks, and unnecessary furniture. You will also be de-personalizing your home in the decluttering process (removing family photos, and report cards on the refrigerator). 

Buyers need to imagine themselves living in your home. They need a little open space, free of clutter and free of personal items to do so effectively. The process can be a little overwhelming and time consuming. Your seller’s agent will help identify the items to remove. Neighbors or friends who aren’t emotionally connected to the items in your home can easily identify the “clutter” in your home. Enlist their help (and then buy them dinner). 

Curb Appeal: It’s simple to maintain curb appeal. Your regular landscaping routine is essential. You can improve curb appeal by paying close attention to additional landscaping (trimming bushes, pruning trees, planting flowers, edging walkways) and by making minor outdoor improvements (painting the front door, installing new house numbers, installing new door hardware, installing new mailbox). Everything should look great when a potential buyer first arrives to view your home. 

Minor Repairs: A pre-sale inspection will identify any major repairs that will affect the sale price of your home (whether addressed or left “as-is” on your disclosure statement). Minor repairs won’t significantly affect the sale price of your home, and buyers won’t expect your home to be perfect. But they will definitely look closer for flaws when they encounter loose door hardware or notice old caulking around windows, sinks, and tubs. Tighten up door hardware (or replace with new hardware if deemed necessary) and remove old caulking and replace with new caulking. Your seller’s agent will help identify minor repairs specific to your home that are worth the time and effort to correct. 

Fresh Paint: The interior rooms of your home will need a fresh coat of paint. We always recommend a light neutral color for interior rooms. The simple act of painting your front door will add to curb appeal (as stated above) and might even increase your home’s value by $6,000 (as recently discovered by a Zillow survey). 

Clean, Clean, Clean: If you love cleaning, you’re in luck. Clean your house to your heart’s content. Then clean some more. This is an essential part of home staging. If you don’t love to clean, you’ll just have to grin and bear it (or hire someone for the task). Your home needs to be spotless. Every room needs to be clean. Clean the bathrooms twice. Clean all your appliances inside and out. Move your refrigerator and clean underneath. Say goodbye to all those dust bunnies once and for all. Clean the baseboards. Clean, clean, clean! 

Phaidra McDermott is a lifelong resident of Sanibel Island. She is one of the most trusted real estate agents in the Sanibel and Captiva regions of Florida. When you partner with Phaidra McDermott you will be connecting to a lifetime of resources and knowledge to effectively sell your home in these challenging times. Contact Phaidra McDermott today!

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