Want to sell your house? Add the 5 Cs to your “to do’ list

Planning to sell your home? There are relatively inexpensive changes that can make a big impression on potential buyers. I have nicknamed this list the 5 Cs. Every home has it’s best features, and depending on those features, more or less work will need to be done to ensure your home sells quickly and for the highest price.

New home in a suburb setting with setting sun in the background

Curb appeal. Buyers look at that exterior listing photo first. Figure out what would keep a buyer from actually “seeing” your home. Is the house hard to see because of overgrown trees and landscaping? Is a stained or severely cracked driveway ruining the look? Is the exterior paint job peeling or cracking? Is there debris or other items in the yard that detract from the home?

Start by removing overgrown bushes and unattractive landscaping that no longer serves a purpose. Trim trees and remove dead or dangerously leaning trees. Pine straw is your best friend. A pine-straw isle or patch can hide those bald spots. Fall is a great time to improve the landscaping if you are looking to sell in spring. New fall plantings have a chance to root, grow, and look great by spring.
How’s the landscaping around the mailbox? The house number is usually found on the mailbox, and it’s one of the first things buyers see. Beautiful Curb appeal is the first opportunity a buyer has to fall in love with your home!

Woman moving boxes filled with packed items

Clear clutter. Clearing the home of clutter is not easy for many of us. It’s hard to decide what to do with the “stuff.” Rooms full of stored items prevent buyers from seeing the home at its best. And, in darkened, rarely used rooms and basements that have been full of boxes and furnishings… mold may be growing. A moldy smell sends buyers running. You may have to hire a professional company to assist with remediation if a mold problem comes up on a home inspection.

Clearing the home’s living spaces of too much “stuff” is key. Bookcases full of disorganized clutter, overstuffed closets, and rooms so full that you can’t see the architectural features of a home is a turn off to buyers. While sellers don’t have to throw away items that are near and dear to them, clearing enough so the space can be cleaned and presented properly will help a home look its best. Giving away, selling, throwing away, or storing items are all options for unused items when a home is on the market. For more ideas, visit my blog post on letting go of household items.

I recommend Sellers ask family and friends to help them go through items that they may want to give away. And if you need more more help, there are professional organizers and packers who make the job much easier.

Modern kitchen with white fixtures, stainless steel hood, white tiled backsplash and quartz island

Color. Today’s buyers are looking at neutral, soothing tones. Pops of color are most often achieved with furnishings and accessories. Let’s talk color. If you loved the reds, golds, dark beiges and greens like I did in the 2000s …. it’s time to let that go. I know …it’s hard.

The most basic tip I share with sellers of beautiful large homes is to paint the home’s interior. A new paint job gives the opportunity to repair holes in walls, repair blemishes where caulk or tape has dried up or cracked, and other imperfections in the walls and trim. A new paint job can make the home look more in keeping with current design trends. Also, a freshly painted home smells “new.” For more on paint colors that work in 2020, see my blog post on neutral paint colors.

Man cleaning a mirror

Clean. It’s really basic to say “clean” your home, but when a home is on the market, it has to be done to the highest level. If you decide to do this yourself, I recommend cleaning one room at a time. Start with the most obvious, windows, mirrors, bookshelves, countertops, cabinets, and floors. Clear spiderwebs! If you notice a smell… find out where that odor is coming from and make the fix. And don’t forget the exterior front entry, including outside lighting.

Once you have cleared the clutter and painted, you may not have the energy to clean it yourself. A professional cleaning team might be for you if you want it done in a day. The rates depend on the size and level of detail. A 4500 sq ft home costs about $300.00 for a deep clean. And then, keep it clean as you place the home on the market.

Welcoming entryway with towering wooden door with fresh greenery

Conditions that cannot be changed. Generally speaking, if you have a condition that cannot be changed, a price concession may be the only way to cure or deal with that condition. For example, if your home backs up to a busy road, has a steep driveway, small sloping backyard, power lines, unusual floor plan, etc., the condition may only be cured by a price adjustment.

Conditions that can be changed. Have you given the home a critical look? Take inventory. Look at the conditions you can change. Make sure everything is checked off your “to do list.” Does your front door say welcome? If not, clean, paint, and change out faded or outdated lights. Ceiling stain from a repaired roof leak? Paint it. Broken faucet? Replace it. Does your tub need new caulking? Caulk it. Ripped screen? Fix it. How’s that deck looking? Is it leaning, sinking, or have wood rot? Are the rails shaky? Are there safety issues concerning your deck? This will come up in inspection. Look Up! Look at the outside trim and soffits. Is there wood rot? Repair the wood rot and paint the exterior if needed.

Have a stucco home? Get an inspection. Make repairs, then paint. Be sure to use the proper caulk. Keep in mind that buyers today are loving the new exterior whites, soft grays, and very light cream colors. And a warranty on stucco homes helps assure buyers that your home not only looks great but is in excellent condition.

Todays’ buyers expect a “move in ready” home. We can all remember how excited we were to find our dream home and make it our own by stripping wall paper, painting and doing lots of the work ourselves. As a matter of fact, we looked for a well priced home where we could do our own work. But in 2020, very few buyers in our market want to take on homes that need work. They are often dual income families, everyone is on ZOOM, and they just want to move in and continue with their lives.

If you are interested in partnering with a real estate agent to get sell your home, please give me a call. I’m happy to help you reach your goals and find your next “happy place!”

Leave a Reply