How to Prepare Your Home for Sale

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average homebuyer spends at least 15 years in a new house. That’s a lot of time to create a new life and many memories, and it’s why preparing a home for sale is much more than a business transaction—it’s an emotional negotiation as well.

And if the property is your own, nostalgia and sentimentality can further color the sale. Let’s face it, not everyone will love the purple walls in your youngest daughter’s bedroom. It’s important that you separate your emotions from your wallet, and ready your home to appeal to the largest number of homebuyers out there.

Who’s Buying Homes?

The first thing you need to find out is who they are. According to this 2020 generational trends report from the NAR:

  • First-time buyers made up 33 percent of all home buyers. Fifty-two percent of them were 30 to 39 years old and 88 percent of them were 29 years or younger. Twenty-three percent of this group were between 40 and 54 years old.
  • At 25 percent of all buyers, those aged 30 to 39 continued to be the largest generational group, followed by buyers 40 to 54 at 23 percent. 
  • Buyers between the ages of 40 to 54 had the highest household incomes of any generation at $110,900 in 2018, followed by buyers between 30 to 39 with a median income of $102,800. 
  • Thirty-five percent of all buyers had children under the age of 18 living at home. Sixty-one percent of buyers between 30 to 39 years had at least one child under the age of 18 residing in the home. 

Setting the Stage for a Sale

What can you do to accommodate this diverse group of buyers and make your home one they will fight over? You need to stage your home to sell by doing the following:

  1. Boost curb appeal. Many people will drive by your home first and then decide whether they want to look inside. Make sure they do by power washing the siding and walkways, mowing and reseeding or adding fresh sod to your lawn, washing your front windows, and planting flowers and fresh greenery. Making your porch inviting is key—by placing furniture on it, keeping your porch lights on in the evenings in case potential buyers drive by, and illuminating the front walk with solar lights.
  2. Conduct a deep clean. From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. If you are selling a large house, hire pros to do the job right. 
  3. Clear away all clutter. Keepsakes that have special sentimental significance to you will just look like they’re taking up space to potential buyers. Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets and purge anything unnecessary or unsightly. Ideally the house is nearly empty: many sellers move most of their belongings to off-site storage to help their homes show in the best light.
  4. Strike a balance between clean and lived-in. Once you’ve cleared the clutter, you can decide which touches will make your home appealing. Think vases of cut flowers, a basket of fresh farmer’s market produce on the kitchen counter or a bowl of lemons beside the sink.
  5. Rearrange your furniture. In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area. 
  6. Choose sophisticated neutral colors. Sadly, you may have to repaint your daughter’s purple bedroom. Neutrals create a sophisticated backdrop and gives buyers the room to envision their fresh start.
  7. Open those closets! Closet space can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers, so show yours off to their full advantage by getting rid of anything unnecessary.
  8. Think seasonally. Make sure your garden and pool are in beautiful shape in the summer, and the fire pit is cleaned and lit in the fall. Some hot cider cooking on the stove in the winter won’t hurt either!

What Renovations Give the Best Return?

So far we’ve focused on the smaller things every home seller should do. But getting the best price for your home may require more time and money. That’s when it pays to consider renovating. According to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report released by Zonda, 11 out of the top 12 projects were exterior improvements, which could be due to COVID and people’s penchant for staying outdoors. At the top of the list is the replacement garage door (No. 1), sidings (including manufactured stone veneer at No. 2), and windows. The indoor exception, sitting at No. 3, is the minor kitchen remodel: a modest face lift of kitchen surfaces that offers a relatively high return when done prior to the sale of a house.

Following is a complete list of the top 19 renovations with the highest return on your investment. 

  1. Garage Door Replacement: 94%
  2. Manufactured Stone Veneer: 92%
  3. Minor Kitchen Remodel: 72%
  4. Siding Replacement (Fiber Cement): 69%
  5. Window Replacement (Wood): 67%
  6. Deck Addition (Wood): 66%
  7. Entry Door Replacement (Steel): 65%
  8. Deck Addition (Composite): 63%
  9. Grand Entrance (Fiberglass): 61%
  10. Roofing Replacement (Asphalt Shingles): 61%
  11. Bathroom Remodel Mid-Range: 60%
  12. Universal Design Bathroom: 58%
  13. Major Kitchen Remodel Mid-Range: 57%
  14. Roofing Replacement (Metal): 56%
  15. Bathroom Remodel Upscale: 55%
  16. Master Suite Addition Mid-Range: 55%
  17. Major Kitchen Remodel Upscale: 54%
  18. Bathroom Addition Mid-Range: 53%
  19. Master Suite Addition Upscale: 48%

Need a Hand with Renovations?

Are you looking to renovate your home before putting it on the market, but afraid you’ll be all thumbs? Let Pan American Properties help. With a range of maintenance and renovations workers on site we can help you do everything from replacing your garage door to remodeling your kitchen. Our renovations team shares our company’s commitment to providing our clients with solutions designed to grow value, always with an eye on what the market is demanding. Call Pan American Properties today at (888) 754-9700 or email us at [email protected] to learn more.

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