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Hitting the Market? Start Work Early!

In today’s market, the more prepared your home is, the more likely it will sell quickly. Here are some great steps to take in the months before listing.

Get a pre-listing inspection. 
Pre-listing home inspections are not a new concept, but have become more common in recent years with the slow in real estate sales and increase of properties for sale. Pre-sale knowledge about your home gives you the information needed to determine if you want to invest in any improvements or adjust the sales price to reflect the true estimated cost of repairs. Either way, it helps you avoid surprises down the road. A pre-listing inspection can also increase the marketability of your home by giving potential buyers greater confidence in its current condition.  

Meet with a stager and your agent one to two months before listing.
Many sellers make changes to their home and then call a stager, only to learn they need to repaint or undo some of the work once their agent or a stager takes a look. Why not contact an agent and stager before embarking on those long weekends? For a nominal consulting fee, or as part of a staging contract to prepare the home just before it lists, a stager will often give early-stage advice on which furniture to stow and which to keep around, as well as guidance on simple aesthetic choices ranging from which rooms to paint (or not), finishes, and quick fixes that make a big difference (painting wood trim, switching light fixtures, swapping drawer handles on kitchen cabinets, etc.). 

Call contractors as soon as possible.
If your inspection or stager created a to-do list for you, call contractors immediately or, if you’re doing the work yourself, draw up a timeline to complete home projects. As the weeks progress, if you find you’re running out of budget, revisit your priority list with your agent or stager and use their input to separate must-do tasks from optional ones. If you’re foregoing a project that the new owner will inherit, ask your agent or home inspector for contractor references so you can get ballpark estimates on the work or have references available should the buyer inquire.

Spend time on landscaping.
Regardless of what’s going on inside your home, don’t forget that curb appeal is a crucial ingredient in marketing your home. Prune existing plants, extinguish weeds, and consider using mulch to create a fresh uniformed look in garden beds or to make a border lining the house or sidewalk. Walk back to the street, then across the street, and make sure your home looks neat, well-maintained, and colorful. A newly potted plant at the front door does wonders.