Preparing Your Higher End Sacramento Home For Sale

Dated: 01/30/2017

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Preparing your home to show and sell can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you’ve lived in your home a long time. It’s easy to become immune to your surroundings when you’re used to being in them all of the time. For instance, have you ever cleaned up the clutter in a room and then every time after that you walk in and can’t help but notice the change? Likewise, we can be unaware of what our house looks like to other people who do not live in it every day.

We’ll talk in a bit about smaller things you can do to help build the appeal of your home, but let’s first discuss upgrades. It’s very common for homeowners to ask their agent, “should we replace….” (fill in the blank). While most good agents have a good feel for value and market conditions, deciding where to spend money prior to listing your home includes a bit of guess work. For example, some people become distraught when they paid 50,000 for a swimming pool, but the agent (and appraiser) only alloted an extra 10-15K in the comps (or whatever value it was assigned). Knowing what improvements to invest can be tricky.

We do know that home buyers are particularly attracted to upgraded kitchens and flooring. However, spending the money will not necessarily earn you a good enough return on your investment. It’s also important to remember that you don’t want to over upgrade for your neighborhood. For instance, if you live in an area where the average sale price is in the $500-600 thousand dollar range, you couldn’t invest several hundred thousand more in upgrades and expect to see any return on it. Remember, people buy neighborhoods first, and as such, you’ll want to keep your upgrades commiserate within the current market value.

Here is a list of things that can make a big difference in the appeal of your home:

Clean out the clutter. As noted above, we collect more than we realize. Having a garage sale or boxing things up for charity is good to do before even listing your house. If you have a great deal of belongings, consider storing some things in the garage or a storage unit.

Remove personal mementos and family pictures if possible. When prospective buyers walk into your home, you want them to be able to imagine it as being theirs. It’s easier for them to view it as possibly being their own home if they don’t see evidence that another family lives there.

Do something with litter boxes. If you have cats, find a way to get the litter box out of the house—perhaps in a garage if possible. Same goes with pet odors in general. Just as we become immune to our surroundings, we become immune to the smells. Be sure your home doesn’t smell like your pets, urine, fish, brocolli (from cooking). Ask your agent if you’re unsure. Purchase some air fresheners that can be plugged in to the wall in each room. This is a very wise investment for any home seller.

  • Clean the windows.

  • Paint the front door or at least give it a good cleaning. Paint the door trim. 

  • Get a new welcome mat.

  • Hire a deep house cleaning.

  • Steam clean the carpets.

  • Plant some flowers or put flower pots on the porch or walk way.

  • Clean of the kitchen counters. Sparse is best.

  • Put away valuables such as jewelry and guns. Stash alcohol and prescription medications as well.

Even though you may be living in your home while it’s on the market, you should remember that people will be viewing it with the potential of buying it, so remember to make your bed, wipe down the kitchen and bathroom counters, have soft lighting, and a pleasant environment. It may be temporarily inconvenient, but ultimately you want to get the best price for your home, so you must present the best home you can.

Along the same lines as preparing the physical property itself, it’s important to be sure you possess clean title on your home. Nothing is worse than being two days before the close of escrow and finding out there is an old tax lien or HOA bill that never got paid. Most people are aware if they have liens on their homes, so do not put this off until the last minute. Also, if anyone else was ever on title, such as a former spouse, for example, that will need to be cleared up as well. Generally speaking, the preliminary title report can help detect any red flags, but things do pop up at the last minute sometimes.

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