Continue from 8 Simple Steps to Get Your House Ready for Sale (Part I).
4. Get temporary storage
With all the boxes and extra furniture, where do you store them? We soon outgrew our garage and our new place was being remodeled, so we needed some temporary storage for a couple of months. I did some research to see what kind of storage options we had, and settled on PODs. You probably have seen them around, it’s the white container looking thing sitting on people’s driveway.
There are few things I liked about it,
- We could take our time to pack up the container. We rented a 16 ft POD and stuff it top to bottom over the course of four days.
- Once you are ready, the company will move it to the new location of choice.
- The price may look a bit high on the first glance, but if you add up the cost of conventional storage and the truck rental cost to move things to an from the conventional storage, PODs was a better deal.
- We only had to pack and unpack once, vs. the conventional storage where we would need to pack up, unpack at the storage facility, and then packup again from storage facility and then unpack at our new house.
5. Stage your home
Depends where you area and how much your home costs, this is an optional step. Staging the act of making a home look visually appealing to buyers. Professional stagers will bring in furniture, artwork, plants, decors etc. to highlight your home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers. Staging in my area is $1500 and up depending on the size of the house, so it’s a significant expense. Ours was covered by our realtor so we didn’t have to pay out of pocket. (Read here to see how we got our realtor to cover this cost) We lived in the expensive Santa Clara county, and staging is the norm for million dollar homes. I did it for the last two home I sold, so I personally would recommend it.
8. Clean your house
Now that the house is minimally furnished and tastefully decorated, it’s time to give your house a thorough clean. There is nothing more turnoff than going into a house with dirty bathroom and kitchen. If you have time, do it yourself. Again, our realtor covered the cost of this serviceand hired a profession crew to clean our house top to bottom. After all these prep work, our house have never looked better.
6. Get professional photos and virtual tours
With more and more buyers using the internet (with website like Ziprealty, Zillow and Redfin) to search for their next home, photos and virtual tours are your best marketing tool. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Get a professional photographer that specialize in this type of photos, they have the wide angle lenses, and uses HDR and photoshop to make the visually appealing photos. Believe me, your iPhone camera won’t do the trick.
In Santa Clara County, the good listing agents should have this as part of their standard services. One tip here, try to take the picture when the weather is good and lighting is appealing, while photographer can compensate for poor lighting, great natural goes a long way to make the great pictures.
7. Write a great description for your listing
You are almost there, now that the hard part is done, let’s not forget the simple part. Work with your realtor to write a catchy and informational description for your listing. Highlight the strengths of your home that would appeal to the buyers and provide helpful information that may not be available elsewhere on the listing. For example, is this house in a good school district? Is it close to parks, shopping centers, restaurants? Any recent remodel worth highlighting? A good realtor should be able to write great description, but no one knows your home like you do, spend a few minutes to review and revise the description.
8. Complete common inspection reports
In the bayarea (Santa Clara County and San Mateo County specifically), it’s common practice that sellers would get property inspection and termite inspection before putting. This give buyers more confidence of the condition of your house as often in a hot market, buyers are often putting in no-contingency offers. The inspection reports offer them a peace of mind.
These steps may seem long, it’s actually very quick with some organization and outsourcing. In our case, we completed all these steps in little over a week. The bulk of the time was on declutter an packing which we would have to do anyway. Now your picture perfect house is ready to be on the market.