How to Prepare to Sell Your Lakeland FL Home?
The ultimate goal to prepare Lakeland homes for the real estate market is to remove all possible buyer objections.
Buyers will always find reasons not to choose your home to make an offer or if they choose to make an offer, they are making a lowball offer. This comes from experience being a buyer’s agent for almost 20 years. Let’s try to avoid it!
Although this might seem not important, however, most of these objections can be avoided before preparing your home for sale. This is so true when it comes to selling homes at almost any price. Trust me, otherwise I would not be writing this article if it were not necessary.
Top Objections From Buyers
First of all, there are objections that cannot be resolved such as, high voltage lines, close proximity to rails, highways and/or airports. Before looking at the preparation here are some examples of objections that buyers routinely make. Not only do I know this from walking in and out of homes with home buyers I represent, we also ask for feedback from showing agents, which is how we find out these objections.
- Curb appeal – The home exterior including the front entry not swept, cob webs and wasp nests are invading the exterior of the home, the yard not mowed and overgrown weeds in flowerbeds, driveway and walkways with visible cracks. Missing siding, roof shingles or tiles and cracked windows. Many homebuyers drive by after viewing your home online. These objections could result in cancellation of your home being shown.
- Condition & age – One of the most objections are homes that have outdated kitchen and bathrooms as well as stains on flooring, wallpaper and ceilings. Water in swimming-pools turned green because they are not properly maintained. Roof shingles/tiles missing as well as breaker box outdated which prevents the buyer in obtaining property insurance. Homes with distinct odor of mold, smoke and pets can be deal-breakers. Tasteless paint colors, dirty kitchens and bathrooms as well as clutter are things buyers zoom in when viewing homes.
- Floor-plan or layout – This type of objection is pretty common amongst real estate agents when it comes to older homes built before 1980 and may not be resolved easily. For example, the floor-plan is not open. There are walls separating living room from the kitchen or dining room. There is only one bathroom or there is no master bathroom available.
Selling homes in Lakeland has become more complex than it used to be and REALTORS® encourage homeowners to sell when the property is ready for sale. The above mentioned objections will give you an idea of how you need to look at your home with critical eyes before listing for sale.
Need Help With Your Lakeland Home Preparation?
If you’re about to sell your home and need guidance I’m here to help. I will visit your home and give you a recommended list of things to get done before marketing your home to potential buyers online and through physical showings. Really, there’s no need to get overwhelmed with the project and we can prioritize the list as well if needed.
Let’s Avoid Buyer’s Objections – Preparation
Getting your home ready for sale can be a significant investment, however, this investment could be money well spent and command for a higher return. The result is less showings and a faster sale.
Landscape & Spruce Up the Exterior
Depending which time of the year it is here in Florida, you want to start working on the garden and the landscaping. Buyer’s first impression is everything and it starts with the outside. Besides, I have noticed that when I start working on the yard with trimming and planting, I notice the neighbors starting too…it’s nice when the whole neighborhood is nicely landscaped.
You want your grass to be green and cut regularly, plants to be planted along with fresh mulch. Shrubbery and trees trimmed away from the home. All dead trees, plants and bushes removed.
The entrance of the home should also be inviting with a fresh color of paint, consider coordinating with new hardware to the front door. Pressure washing the exterior of the home or adding a fresh coat of paint if it still looks poorly and tired. Don’t forget to pressure wash the walkway to the front door and if space allows plant with seasonal flowers.
If shingles or tiles on the roof are missing or the roof looks worn, consider having a licensed roofer inspect your home and get a flat roof repair. Buyers and even cash buyers may find it difficult to get property insurance due to the roof’s remaining shelf life. Chimneys should also be inspected annually, inspection reports show chimney caps missing. Chimney caps are raised hoods that cover the opening the top of the chimney flue to keep rain and animals out.
Although vinyl siding is tough, it is not indestructible. A falling branch, or a well-hit baseball can crack a piece of your siding, it may be a simple fix. Vinyl siding of homes should be cleaned and repaired or replaced if necessary. Fencing whether it’s wood or vinyl should also be cleaned, painted and sealed if necessary.
If your driveway is pavers make sure to pressure wash out all grass tufts and moss. Weeds can be removed by hand or herbicides and a good pesticides removal product should be used for ants. Fill any gaps with joint sand stabilizer and level uneven blocks while doing so. You may have an expert pressure wash it with hot water and seal the paver. If your drive is concrete and you have cracks, have a concrete expert come and advise. It may be possible to fill the cracks.
Home buyers who are specifically looking for a pool home love seeing a crystal clear and sparkling pools and an inviting pool may just be the right enticement to purchase. So be sure to have the pool run regularly and have the chemicals checked by a reputable pool supply company. Removing leaves and debris consistently will help keep the chemicals in check. Cleaning the filter, skimmer and making sure pool pump and heater work properly. Pool screen enclosure should be checked for tears, repair or replace if necessary. Make sure screen doors to the pool can be securely locked and all child safety equipment are in working order.
Exterior of Property
Nearly every home will have some settlement occur over a period of time due to the changes in the soil and weather. Here in Central Florida, we had our fair share of bad news when it comes to sinkholes. Sinkholes are very common in Florida due to the limestone in the soil. A sinkhole may form when the acid in the rainwater penetrates through the limestone which dissolves the limestone creating voids which can form a sinkhole. If you have a crack that looks like a stair-step that are wider at top than the bottom.
Doors and window out of the frame work, doors are jammed and locks stopped working, you should call upon a licensed structural engineer to assess the issue.
Buyers are often concerned with the quality of the windows. Double Paned or double glazed windows are energy efficient in terms of lower heat penetration and a secondary benefit is in the form of a noise barrier. Make sure all your windows open, close and lock properly.
A common inspection item marked to be repaired or replaced are the soffit eaves and fascia boards on the exterior of the house. Depending on the buyer’s mortgage program, some lender may require repair and/or replacement.
The home’s interior
If your home is more than 20 years old chances are the kitchen and bathrooms are dated and you may not have enough time or money to renovate. You don’t have to remodel everything to sell!
Updating parts of the kitchen, such as installing countertops, paint or reface cabinets, install new hardware, replace appliances can bring significant return on investment.
Buyers walking through your home look at floors, ceilings and walls and just like curb appeal, first impressions are most important. A thorough cleaning of the entire house, including the windows certainly will make your house inviting. Also grout and caulking around tiles in the bathrooms and kitchens, in addition to carpets or redo the floors if needed. Hardwood floors can add value to a home, make sure they are polished. Open rooms with a lot of light are today’s trend.
Quick fixes like updating the plumbing fixtures and facets in your kitchen and bathrooms will improve a dated look. If paint colors in rooms are dark, painting should be done in light neutral earthy tones or light grey which are appealing to the eyes. There are so many paint colors to choose from, just make it livable for the buyers. Remove all wallpaper if possible. Buyers may not want to be burdened to paint upon moving in.
Mold & Odors can be deal-breakers
Your house may have everything the buyer want and show all kinds of issues, but once discovered a little mold, they are done.
Mold can be the #1 deal-breaker. You want to assess the situation first of how much mold you have. While household bleach and water can be used to remove mold in bathrooms, it is a health hazard that should be taken care of professionally by a mold removal company and should not be undertaken by non-professionals when the contamination areas are larger than 10 square feet. Removing odors from pets or smoke can be accomplished by painting the house and cleaning carpets or installing new flooring. However, if odor is severe hiring a professional to assess the issue may be your only option. Eco-friendly remedies such as leaving white vinegar in bowls throughout the home helps mitigate cigarette smoke and cleaning the carpet with baking soda.
Furnitures, declutter and staging
You may have acquired over the years lots of furniture. To help with your staging,move your large sofa away from that gorgeous window. This will allow the buyers enjoy your picturesque view of the lake or golf course and provide more living space and easy flow to suitable for the buyers. Moving excess furniture, household goods and collectibles into the garage may hinder the sale because buyers think that if the garage is full of stuff, your house may be too small.
Treasures, collectibles and heirlooms are only valued by you, too many pieces in one space will create a cluttered look. It will also create a distraction during viewing. With a lot of folks and kids walking through your Lakeland house, you don’t want little Amanda & Austin looking with their hands. Pack up your prized possessions for your new home, they are safer when they’re gone.
Steps to take would be to plan for a yard sale or an estate sale, donating unwanted items and renting an air conditioned storage space for your furniture, household items and collectibles.
Store your personal items, such as shampoo, makeup, medications, kid’s toys, etc. away in baskets, boxes and totes. Placing low plastic bin with lids under the bed is a perfect storage place in the interim. Even small closet space can have the feel of being spacious by removing seasonal clothing. The goal is to erase all evidence of untidiness of your daily life.
Depersonalizing your Home
Depersonalization means essentially eliminating your personal tastes of your home while still trying to make it feel warm and inviting to prospective home buyers.
Walking through homes filled with family portraits and pictures on just about every wall is always a distraction. Home buyers are curious and want to know about the people living in the home.
While you are trying to sell your home while living there, you want to minimize the portraits and pictures. Let’s give them what they want. Buyers love looking at family pictures and if it is done in very small doses, they see how happy you and your family are in the home. Let’s pass that emotion forward. Don’t forget to fill in any holes made when removing nails and hooks.
Checklist of Items To Prepare Before Listing for Sale and Showings:
- Clear countertops
- Hang fresh towels
- Closets – keep tidy
- Pantry – organize and clean out unwanted and expired foods
- Toilette – keep all toilette lids closed
- Garage – clean and un-clutter
- Pets – clean up after them
- Appliances – keep dishwasher, refrigerator/freezer, oven, range and microwave clean.
- Clean out gutters
- Change out lamps with brighter bulbs if the room has no natural lighting.
- Exotic animals – Snakes or fishtanks or similar. Are these secure for wandering hands? Are they safe for visitors? Could a family member take them for a while?
- Dogs and cats – The most common of pets. Do you have a plan on how to handle showings for your pets safety?
- House alarms – Same as pets, how do you intend to allow showings.
- Your absence, vacations etc. Will you allow showings and if not, why not and how can we resolve that.
- Celebration Holidays – Are there days you will not want showings? Understand many buyers visit on Holidays. Perhaps this year someone else hosts the party.
Home Preparation Complete – Buyer Objections Removed
This can be quite a big exercise and may take longer than you expected. Whether you have a small amount of preparation to do or it takes you a year, the effort will translate into success. Only you can determine how much effort and money you want to invest, and of course time.
All we ask is you do the very best you can with the circumstances you are dealt and we’ll do the rest.
Ready To Sell?
If all your home preparation is complete and it’s ready for sale, we’re ready to assist.
Contact Petra Now!