HOW CHICAGO HOME SELLERS SHOULD PREPARE THEIR HOME - 7 TIPS
Selling your home doesn't just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.
Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators and the squeaky door doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done, hardwoods are a popular selling feature. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers or loose knobs as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior such as fences, shingles, sidewalks, landscaping etc. After all, without the right curb appeal, some Chicago buyers may never make it in the door to see the inside. What you see as personality a new buyer likely will see as a headache.
Neutralize. You want your buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to see their swanky vintage Danish Modern furnishings in the same space. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral. Beiges, tans, grays, and whites are everywhere with new construction for a reason. Repainting and reflooring when needed will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.
Edit. If you need to live in the home while it is on the market. Declutter, take down and pack up all the precious memories in your home that makes it yours and make it personal. You want to remove furniture that isn’t absolutely needed. The idea isn’t how you live in the home, but how the new buyer thinks they will. They likely don’t have as many items as you, they want to know how it will live for them.
Clean. Deep clean. This is easiest when you have moved out and should be done before staging. Stainless should shine, windows and tracks should be cleaned and lubricated if needed, and maybe window screens removed? Most pets smell, as well as teenage boys rooms. Track down the source of the odors and eliminate what you can.
Stage. Ideally you can move out of your home when it is on the market. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to dress it up. Home stagers can add small details and decor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated.
Vacate. Chicago market is getting hotter recent years. If your home is priced well in a desirable neighborhood, it should get many showings per day when it first hits the market. It’s best if you can take a vacation, or stay somewhere else (along with any pets) at this time. By being in the home you will limit the number of potential buyers that will see your home. Buyers and agents have busy schedules and if you limit the time, or the lead time needed to show, buyers will move on to the next home they can see right now, especially foreign buyers. You will get the most qualified home buyer eyes on your listing if agents can freely show the property while it is fresh on the market at the drop of a hat. The first few days is also when you will get the most serious buyers through the door. You don’t want to impede the flow.
Listen to your Realtor. While this is about generalities, every home, every Chicago neighborhood and every seller is different. If you don’t want to get top dollar for a home that has had “deferred” maintenance, it may not matter if it isn’t staged. If you want someone to purchase it as an owner-occupied home, let your Realtor know you many not want to get top dollar with a quick sale in favor of a resident homeowner for a longer sale period and less money to you. Be clear about your wants and needs for the sale. An honest Real Estate professional will do their best to respect you needs and carry out your wishes; or alternatively let you know if your expectations are unrealistic in our current market and neighborhood in Chicago.
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Whitney International Group
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