Making your home ready for Listing and Sale

Preparing your home for sale
You never get a second chance to create a 1st impression... this is doubly important when preparing your home for sale in Big Bear.  Almost all of the buyers that are looking in Big Bear will be coming from "down the hill" in other parts of SoCal.  This means that the cabin they're looking for will stand in comparison to the home they have in OC or LA.  So, we need to make your home create a Good and Lasting impression.

There are several areas in your property to pay particular attention to and here are a few guidelines to make your home "neutral" enough to be appealing to all buyers.

Soon it won't be Your house.  "When this house sells, it won't be my home any more".  Start thinking about what a buyer will "feel" when they first walk into your house. If you've put pencil marks on the kitchen door with the kid's growing heights, take a picture of it so you can have it printed in poster size for your next home, then paint over the marks.  Imagine yourself walking out the front door after the mover-guys have left... the future is ahead of you, not behind you.   Start thinking of your home as just another house on the market that the buyer will see... make it look compelling to the buyer.

Remove personal touches and items. Family pictures and memorabilia from vacations will distract buyers.  Make sure the walls look empty in the listing pictures AND to the visiting buyer.  The buyer will mentally put their own pictures and trinkets in the home if there is nothing to distract their vision.

Remove about 1/3 of the furniture.  You want to make sure the buyer's family and the agent can walk around the house without turning sideways.  A general rule is to remove about 1/3 of the furniture and store it in the garage or a storage unit.  And while you're at it, make sure the kitchen counters are cleared off... we don't want the buyer to see your complete inventory of appliances... that's not the reason they are in your house... de-clutter!  But if you use an appliance every day, keep it out but make sure it's sparkle-clean.

Organize Closets and Cabinets.  Take a critical look at your closets and cabinets... make them look organized... the buyer will think that if your closets are organized, the rest of the property is pretty well organized too.

Store stuff.   Put stuff in the garage.  If you don't have a garage, then rent a storage container.  By the way, the inside of a garage that looks like a storage container won't be the reason a house doesn't sell... store excess stuff there... buyers will likely beaccustomed to a messy garage.  The living quarters are primarily what the buyers are looking for... they will know that the garage will return to an empty shell when the property becomes theirs.  As a side benefit of boxing up stuff in the garage/storage unit, you'll have that stuff already packed and ready to move/ship.

Replace the stuff you want to keep.  If the chandelier over the kitchen table is something that you want/need to keep for the next home, take it down now and replace it.  Same goes for any other personal stuff that won't be included with the house.  Replace it now with "adequate" replacements so the buyer won't ever see it.  

Fix stuff.  Make a list of stuff that needs to be fixed or replaced.  Kitchen tiles or drawers or faucets etc.  Call a Handyman and pay him for a days work in order to quickly get everything in working order.  By the way, the Buyer will hire a home inspector to check everything out and they will prepare a form called "Request for Repairs"... have the faulty stuff repaired/replaced now so the buyer won't have an excuse to not offer.

Termites?  Order a termite inspection now so you'll have an idea of any needed repairs.  Here in Big Bear, the termite inspection will cost about $70 and will include an estimate of what the repairs (if any) will cost.  The report will be valid for several months.  Rest assured that the Buyer's lender will likely want to see a "clean termite report"... by getting the report now, you'll know exactly what the repairs will cost.

Clean stuff.  Wash windows inside and out.  Sweep out the cobwebs.  Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks if they look worn.  Clean out the refrigerator.  Vacuum daily. Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.  Bleach dingy grout.  Hang up fresh towels.  Odors are a giant no-no... consider baking cookies, neutral odor eliminators. 

Critical Eye.  Stand in the street and stare at your home... roof look good? Gardening OK?  Fresh paint around the windows?  Trash cans visible?  Fresh plants?  (consider buying a flat of daisies from DIY or Butcher Block or Emingers... won't cost much and will brighten up the front.  Is there anything else you can do to make a good 1st impression?  If the buyer takes that first look as they're driving up to the property, and tells the agent "nope, let's look at the next house"... you'll never get a chance to show them the inside of the house.  Make sure you home looks inviting and has a "come hither" look.
Bill Young
Bill Young