Preparing your property for sale

Geoff Roberts

Published on July 27, 2009

It goes without saying that selling your property is a large undertaking. Arming yourself with as much information as possible, surrounding yourself with knowledgeable professionals, and exercising due diligence when it comes to pre-sale property preparation can make all the difference in the world between a smooth, profitable sale and a stressful selling experience.

Your REALTOR® is your best friend.

Or at least he should be. Picking a REALTOR® is one of the most important decisions you will make when it comes to selling your property. Do your research and make sure to speak with other property owners and trusted friends for recommendations. After you have created a short list of potential REALTORS®, bring a few of your top choices in to take a look at your property and to “interview” with you. During this interview, you’ll want to gauge not only their industry knowledge and neighborhood expertise, but also determine how their personality and sales style meshes with yours. After all, this is someone you’ll be working closely with and entrusting with one of your most valuable financial assets. This is the time to be picky.

Make sure the price is right.

While it’s obviously important not to undervalue your home, it’s just as crucial not to overprice it. Generally speaking, overpriced properties linger on the market, potentially developing a bad stigma with agents and buyers. In short, an overpriced property is far more difficult to sell in the long-run and chances are the price will ultimately have to be lowered to match the market anyway. A fairly-priced home, on the other hand, will result in a quicker sale, more offers and, potentially, a higher price from competitive multiple offers. Pricing a property is all about strategy so, again, finding a savvy agent is critical.

Comparative sales are a great way to gauge the current market value of your property and to ensure your price point is one the market will bear. Your REALTOR® will have easy access to this information and should utilize it to gain a clear idea of the appropriate listing price.

Boost your curb appeal.

Potential buyers often begin their property search by driving by properties and narrowing their search down from there. This is to say that on their first visit to your property, they may very well never even walk through the door. As always, first impressions count so the exterior of your house should be as tidy and appealing as possible. Make sure that your yard and porch are clean and uncluttered, wash down walls and windows so everything is sparkling clean, and ensure that your yard is at least well-cared for and—even better—landscaped.

Staging goes a long way.

Staging is becoming an increasingly common practice in the real estate business. Staging involves bringing a professional into your property to outfit it with furniture and decorations that complement the house and demonstrate to buyers what it can potentially look like. Staging helps houses look more like homes and can make the difference when it comes to buyer interest. Ask your real estate agent for a good recommendation.

Ask tenants to pitch in.

In the case of rental properties, you may well have occupants in units while potential buyers are viewing your property. Make sure to give your tenants plenty of notice that potential buyers will be coming through and ask for their assistance in keeping everything as clean and tidy as possible. As with staging, this sends visual cues to potential buyers and may well increase your property’s salability.

While preparing for the sale of your property can seem daunting, like anything else it’s a step-by-step process. Taking your time, being thorough, and working with all the right people is the best way to ensure that your property sale is as smooth and profitable as possible.


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Geoff Roberts

Geoff is a marketer, surfer, musician, and writer. He lives in San Diego, CA.

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