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Sitting on the Fence Hurts


Prepping to sell a home can sometimes feel like you are getting ready to send your child out into the world. You want everyone to fall in love with it, to value its features, and you don’t want to leave it until you know it is going to be ok. The positive spin on this is that you obviously love your home, and have a pride of ownership, wanting the new owner to come into something beautiful. On the other hand, if not mediated, this could easily turn into a case of never moving out, or never feeling like things are quite ready to let go of. It doesn’t do you or the home any good. Well, maybe the home a bit. At the expense of your pocketbook. See! Like kids (Just kidding. Mostly)!

I’m here to tell you today that it is going to be ok. You don’t need to feel guilty about wanting to move on to the next phase, and you don’t need to feel bad about not addressing every single project you want to accomplish prior to selling. So let me help you down off the fence, because the longer you sit up there debating on whether you are ready to put your home on the market, the more it is going to hurt when you come down. Here are four ideas to consider from your perch.

1.Get rid of your assumptions:  Getting rid of your assumptions means stop trying to create the environment you think or expect buyers to want. We all do this at times, assuming that people are going to think like us, or want the same things. In reality, there is a diverse buying crowd out there. There are people who don’t mind small projects like replacing carpeting or painting the walls, while there are also people who don’t have the time or budget for that, and are hoping for a home they don’t have to do any work to. Essentially, if you are going to attack a project, make sure it is one that will help net you more upon selling and will be seen as a benefit to the most amount of people so you aren’t limiting the type of buyer for your home.  The goal is to get the most return on your investment, right?

2. Break out the self-honesty: I don’t know why I want to relate this to that Japanese art of tidying up book, but I do. I feel like it makes sense in this scenario. Think for a minute about all of the years you have lived in your home. Now think about all of the projects you want to tackle before you list your home for sale. Why didn’t you do them during the course of your time in the home? I’m not saying this in a what were you doing with your time way, but with love, hoping that you will pick up each project and evaluate its importance and necessity.  Perhaps it was the time, or the money, or the effort the project needed that kept it tabled until now. Will doing it now be beneficial, or more of a disservice to the home in putting in less than it truly needs? Will it put you forwards or backwards in your return? Imagine holding the project in your hands and ask yourself these questions. If the answer is no, then don’t be afraid to let it go and make space on your to do list for the things that are necessary.

3. Be the Nosy Neighbor-But Only a Little Bit: Really, some would just call this being informed. Determine what your neighbors have improved and compare it to the quality of comparable sales. If you are the social type, you may already have this information. For those who aren’t on the play date or pot luck, or fence chatting wagon, it may require more research such as attending neighborhood open houses or looking at other homes in the area online. Seeing what they have upgraded doesn’t mean that you have to follow suit and do the same thing, but it helps put comparable value into perspective. What is the impact on making the upgrade versus opting not to?

4. Partner With Your Realtor to determine Return On Investment: It is easy to say that the goal is to spend the least while making the most, but how does one determine what will impact your return on investment in a positive way? Partnering with your realtor can help with this in many different ways. First, you have someone on your side who knows the market, and who will do the deep research to figure out how to get you the best value. They will walk your house with you, and give you candid feedback on what will make an impact vs being a waste of time and resources. Is it better to do the repair  yourself or advertise a credit for the repair? They will look at all of the avenues with you, and partner with you to find the optimal solution.  Second, they have a lot of resources, and when making upgrades to your home, having solid recommendations for contractors and the like are a good thing to have, especially if they have a stellar reputation for their work and a good relationship with the realtor. At times, this can even help cut down the time frame of a project. Not all realtors are able to do this, but some are in the position to front the cost of some of the repairs and recoup the money once the home has closed, saving you from spending up front out of pocket costs. Trusting another person with your home is hard, so make sure whoever you work with you feel you can be honest with and know for a fact that they want to see you get back what you put in.

What  is keeping you on the fence about selling your home? What repair is on your have to do list prior to selling?

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