Here's a Plan for Home Sellers During the Pandemic

You’ve been waiting all Winter to put your home on the market this Spring…now the COVID-19 outbreak has brought those plans to a screeching halt. Everyone is asking what should I do?

Do I put the home on the market anyway and try to use virtual marketing to get my home sold? That’s always been an option…think about it…Open Door, Zillow and about a hundred other pop up companies have been offering this service for several years…which may work for those homeowners that want to simply “liquidate” or get out from under a home with little or no equity. This pandemic is causing prices to stall as a large portion of the eligible buyers’ incomes have been impacted with mandatory and voluntary business closures, downsizing, stock market losses and even job loss.

If you fall into the category that would still like to get as much of the equity you’ve worked so hard for when you sell your home…then there is a plan. Good things can still come to those who wait and plan ahead. Most of the experts are predicting 5 to 6 weeks before the business can safely reopen and things begin returning to normal. That’s just enough time to complete your pre-sale list of “to do’s.” Money may be tight and the future seem uncertain, but let’s use this quarantine time as productively as possible for those of you that plan on selling your home…let’s prepare our home to be the first one to sell, the one that shines above the others when the market is ready to return full speed ahead.

Tip # 1: Cabin fever will set in sooner than you think (if it hasn’t already). Get outside, walk around your home and assess it’s curb appeal. How does it look from the street? Would a buyer be dazzled if they did a drive-by? The first step is to spruce up your mailbox. It’s the first thing a buyer sees because they are looking for the street number to initially find your address. Freshen the paint, place new numbers that are easy to read from the road and by all means, straighten it if it’s leaning! Plant some flowers at the base or maybe hang a welcoming Spring banner.

Tip # 2: Weed the flower beds and stir up the mulch, it’s time to fertilize those flowering shrubs and trees. Plant some wildflowers or seeds for some color. Mow the yard and pay special attention to the trim so that the yard looks well manicured and easy to maintain. A yard full of weeds and overgrown planting beds will send the signal that the yard requires a lot of maintenance to keep it looking nice.

Tip # 3: Renovate your entry with a freshly painted front door. Scrub the porch and repaint the rockers and porch furniture if needed. Consider using bright Spring colors (Periwinkle Blue is my favorite.) Pressure wash the siding or any area that has algae or dirt. If the roof has algae, maybe hire a professional to clean; very reasonable prices range from $150 to $300 to clean the roof to look like new. Reseal the asphalt driveway and repair any cracks in cement walkways.

Tip # 4: Declutter your entire house. You have already decided to sell your house; now’s the time to pack up a few things. In the words of Marie Condo…less is more! Clean off every piece of furniture in your home and leave only the bare essentials. Remove tablecloths, runners and doilies and shine your wood until it gleams. I use lemon oil, it cleans, nourishes and shines and the citrus scent leaves a nice clean smell in the room.

Tip # 5: Time to clean the walls and baseboards and floors until they look good as new. Remove all the pictures, swags, decorations (you probably already know you have too much stuff on the walls and this only distracts the buyer from seeing the beautiful architecture and features of your home). If you have a lot of stains and scratches, fill and paint and whatever you do, stay between the lines. Only put back a few of the pictures, remember…less is more. Paint walls first then go back and paint the trim so that you can cover any splats or mistakes and make the room look professionally painted.

Tip # 6: Clean out the floor of every closet. Nothing should be on your closet floors except vacuums in the utility closet. Time to get rid of all those boxes and bags and piles in your closet. Pack up what you want to keep, throw away the rest. (Most Goodwill stores have been closed so you can’t drop off these items just yet). Store them in the attic, garage, or choose one closet in your house to store them.

Tip # 7: Clean the bathrooms and kitchen. This includes cleaning and/or repairing the ugly stained grout. Remove everything from the counters except what you need daily. Organize every door and put new shelf paper where needed. Reduce your trips to the grocery store by finally cooking some of the items in your freezer because the fridge needs cleaned out, right? It’s a good time to get creative and try some new recipes, don’t waste that meat or the vegetables from last year’s garden.

Tip # 8: Purge your clothing. You probably have old suits, slacks, shirts, shorts, scarves, handbags, accessories you haven’t worn in the last three years in every closet. Take them out and either store them or give them away…if you haven’t worn or used them in three years, chances are they won’t be used in the next three years. This will open up the space in your closets and make them more organized and inviting. (I show a lot of homes to buyers and this is one of their biggest complaints…”wow, this house doesn’t have enough closet and storage space…every closet is running over.”)

Tip # 9: Wash all the windows. Nothing is more inviting than clean and sparkling windows that let the light in. If you are short on paper towels, use rags made from some of your closet purging.

Tip # 10: Speak with your local real estate agent today, don’t wait. Together you can develop a successful plan that is tailored just for you. If you don’t have an agent, I will be glad to help. Contact me today for a free consultation and personal plan of action for selling your home when the time is right. In the meantime, these preparation ideas will help you feel productive and they are some fun things to do as a family, inside and outside.

I bet my readers have some ideas of things you could be doing to help get ready to sell your home? Tell us some things you recommend that won’t break the bank.

Weed and freshen the flower beds, stir the mulch and add a Spring banner or flag.
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