Hello and Welcome!
Over my last 4 years of business, I have been primarily focused on helping people with their most important investment by providing them with critical information about the homes they were wanting to buy. And during these last four years, I have seen many different homes with just as many different conditions! Now I want to change my focus a little and help homeowners to sell their homes faster. Over the next few weeks, I will discuss many options to get your home ready to sell. These options are my opinions and based upon my experience as a home inspector. I may be very blunt in areas, but this is to emphasize the importance of some of the options.
Okay to get things going, I will refer to the 5 P’s. If you’re not familiar, the 5 P’s are: Poor Planning Prevents Proper Performance. There is another P that can be added, but proper planning before you list your home can help you sell faster. Yes of course, many decisions are going to be made and made fast. The most important is when do you plan or need to move by. Determine your time schedule and work according to it. Home inspections are performed in sequences that make the inspection process manageable. It is very easy to get sidetracked, so now is the time to get everything in order.
We will start with clutter. Clean up the Clutter! Consider this time your pre-moving pack out. Get a good supply of empty boxes and go through your home inside and out to determine what you will absolutely need during the moving transition. Then, determine what you need to pack up such as off season clothing, decorations, the blender you haven’t used in five years and anything else of this nature. And of course, there will be those things that you simply need to get rid of or throw away. This might be a good time for a garage sale or making some charitable donations. You’re trying to sell your home, not your personality. If moving day is not too far away, it would be wise to rent a storage unit or POD to put your unneeded items in. If you’re not able to do this, please store the boxes out of the way of major components such as; the furnace, electric panel or water heater or anywhere else a home inspector may need to look. During some of my home inspections, I was not able to properly inform my customer of the home condition due to the lack of access to very important areas. In the photo, it was just one of those days if you know what I mean. And of course, the garage door opener did not work. It made inspecting the electrical panel very difficult. Please, make room for home inspectors to critical areas of the home. This could possibly make some home inspectors mad, especially if they have other inspections to complete that day. And believe me, you do not want a pissed off inspector poking around your home. Simply put, a home inspector needs to have access to the home, not your belongings.
Now that everything is out of the way, it is time to find out the actual condition of your home. Preferably, on a rainy or very cloudy day, go around the exterior your home and take many pictures from every angle you can. Be sure to include everything on the outside such as the roof, air conditioning unit, decks, patios, sheds and anything else. When you are good and wet, come inside, dry off, and start taking pictures of the interior in every room and space you can. Be sure to get pictures of your utility-mechanical room, attic and major systems such as your furnace, plumbing and electrical components. The reason I ask you to do this on a rainy day is because your home will look just the same as that poor little puppy that got left outside in the rain; wet and miserable!
Once you have a few hundred pictures, load them on to your computer and organize them into separate folders for each room, component and area. A simple label system can be similar to the home inspection sequence.
• Roof, Exterior and Garage
• Interior Rooms and Areas
• Kitchen & Bath
• Attic, Basement or Crawlspace
• Plumbing, Electrical & HVAC (Heating and Cooling Systems)
Now get some real manila folders and label them as you did the computer ones. These actual folders will be used for any related lists, past or current receipts or work orders and any transferable warranties you may have. Once you’ve done this, work on one folder at a time. This will help you keep organized and on track with your schedule.
As a home inspector, I see many conditions that make me wonder what were they thinking. Some people are not being properly advised on how to sell their homes. In most cases, the realtor is brought in to list the home after everything has already been completed and can only make minor suggestions. So, I’m betting it is the home shows that are the culprits. Consider who sponsors these programs. Those big box stores of orange and blue! And these guys only want your money, they don’t care if you sell your home or not. I do not recommend doing anything on these DIY shows when you are trying to sell your home, especially landscape makeovers or any remodeling.
Don’t get me wrong, if your home is in need of repair, DO IT! You want your home to be clean, functional and presentable to potential buyers, but spending thousands of dollars to remodel a kitchen you will never get to use is ridiculous. Just try to spend your money on those things you need to fix around the home and please, stop using color coordinated trim or anything to do with color. Leave all of that to fantasy land. You will of course need to paint many areas of your current home, but you cannot predict what colors a potential buyer may or may not like. Don’t waste time trying! Please remember, time wasted on useless color coordination is time you won’t be able to spend looking around for your new home!
Light and neutral colors are what you want to use. In most cases, using these colors will make your home appear larger than it is. No bold colors! In fact, if you have bold colors in your home, please paint over them to save the buyer the time of doing it. Let me put it this way, if I’m looking at a house to buy and walk into a room painted in a color I do not like, this automatically means that I have work to do! Strike one! The main thing is to get your home as close to the original condition as you can. In this case, less is more! Leave the buyer a blank canvas to start with so they can do whatever is it they want to do.
Next week, I will discuss things you can do to help the buyer save time and money during their 10 day home inspection window.