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Photo: Courtesy of freeimages.com - Scheduling your own home inspection before your house goes on the market can help you avoid surprises once a buyer steps in. And the results can help you fix up your house to get better offers.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 6 years ago

Christina Rordam: Prepping makes perfect

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Think of it as the courtship that comes before the marriage: place your home in the best possible light by following a few quick guidelines before it goes on the market.
by: Christina Rordam

In life all things have a beginning. A fire doesn’t start off a roaring blaze; it begins with kindling a match and some gentle coaxing. Perhaps a hurricane analogy would be more apropos for us Floridians and Florida residents, but the central idea is that to achieve your goals in life you must prepare. Preparation is the ultimate key to success.

Yes, there are happy accidents in life and we all know that one person or couple who just seems to “luck” into all things great, including the best sale price for their home. I say hooray for luck, but let’s prepare and increase the chances of a positive outcome anyway.

As Realtors, we formulate a plan to pitch our services to you at the listing presentation, we prep our listings to be sold and then get set to negotiate for you like Liam Neeson in “Taken” once we put our for sale sign in your yard. As homeowners, you can help by readying your home prior to the sale. Think of it as the courtship that comes before the marriage: place your home in the best possible light by following a few quick guidelines before it goes on the market.

Consider a home inspection prior to listing your home.

Yes, the buyer of your home will probably get their own inspection but this way you aren’t likely to be surprised by anything they may find. Inspecting your home before you place it for sale also allows you the opportunity to fix any issues big or small and include said inspection in your marketing package to potential consumers. A few dollars go a long way here, especially if you are selling a luxury home or want to push for the high end of your home’s value in your asking price. Surprises can be fun at engagements and birthday parties, but not at home sales, so do your homework.

Throw in a home warranty.

Not everyone loves to spend their free time fixing things around the home. Some of us like to spend our weekends and evenings enjoying dinner, the company of friends and family and “Game of Thrones.” By offering a home warranty with an acceptable sales price you send a signal to your buyers that they too will be free to watch Khaleesi and her dragons claim the realm on Sunday nights rather than say fixing a broken dishwasher. And everyone loves dragons so consider this investment well worth the cost.

Hold a family pow-wow and plan to be out of sight and mind when potential buyers want to tour your home.

In a nutshell, be willing to be scarce as much as needed both in presence and image when buyers want to see your home. This means un-personalizing the place, adding a lockbox for convenience and stepping out as much as needed. Buyers just don’t feel as free to analyze a home when you are there so beat it and minimize – if not remove altogether – the family photo gallery wall. If you live alone this is simple enough but if you have a family it’s a good idea to sit everyone down and let them know what’s happening. When everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect during the process they are more likely to be receptive and helpful, plus this minimizes the stress placed on all family members. Pet owners should map out what to do with pets during showings too.

There are many more things a homeowner can do to dress their home for success before marketing it but this is a quick and easy way to get started. Generally speaking a seller wants to convey that their home is ready to be moved into and that they aren’t hiding anything from the buyers. Warranties, inspections and cooperation in making the home viewable go a long way to achieve these objectives.

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