When you are responsible for getting a home ready that is part of an estate or in probate, the process can be daunting. Oftentimes, these situations mean that there has been repairs and maintenance left undone. There can be an exorbitant amount of clutter from an accumulation of years of keepsakes and family heirlooms.
Yet, the parties involved expect the home to be sold so that assets can be distributed in a timely manner.
How can you prepare a home to be listed in these circumstances?
First, it’s important to de-clutter. It’s impossible to show a home’s value and highlight the desirable features when it contains years of memorabilia. Oftentimes this can be painful. If the person who owned the home was close to you, you may not want to sort through everything until you’ve had the time to grieve. If you choose not to do it, you can hire an a professional to sell, remove or to pack everything and store it until you have the time and emotional capacity to complete this daunting task.
After decluttering, it’s important to address those maintenance items that have been ignored. The easiest escape for someone who is under contract to purchase your home is the home inspection. If an expensive or time-consuming repair comes up, your buyer may walk, and it will take re-listing the home which means more time on the market and red flags for future buyers who wonder why the home went on the market again.
Home inspection items can also be a point of negotiation, and you may lose thousands of dollars by having an unexpected repair item show up on the home inspector’s report. Therefore, to prevent a buyer from having an easy escape, we always recommend having the home inspection done prior to listing the home on the market.
Based on the inspection, it’s important to address the major repairs. By doing this you are preventing the buyer from walking or negotiating the sales price down.
Along with the repairs that you’ll address, a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference. We recommend painting the exterior and the interior. The color palette should be neutral, attracting the majority of buyers, and the trim white to appear clean and tidy.
Give your buyers a clear picture. Cleaning the windows and removing screens while the home is on the market, can bring natural light in and make everything lighter and brighter.
Finally, a clean, plush carpet can say “Welcome to your new home!” Tired, worn flooring scratched by years of traffic and pets, can be a deterrent. Replacing it with affordable, clean, neutral carpeting can make a world of difference.
Today’s buyer is busy and wants a turnkey property, meaning they want to move their personal items in and have no “honey do” lists. Doing these simple, affordable fixes means you will be able to command the best price for the home.
A little preparation goes a long way.
You may not have been through the process of listing a home that’s in probate or part of an estate; however, I have. Lean on me to guide you through the process, and provide a list of trusted professionals to help you complete this list.
Check out the progression on one of my Estate projects below:
Many people focus on the kitchen when purchasing a home as the costs to update a kitchen can be daunting and ever increasing. When left to their own devices, buyers will often gather information online or from renovation vendors who provide them with an inflated quote or proposal. This results in a buyer producing an offer with the updates either being reflected in a lower sales price or in the form of a seller subsidy (seller credit at closing).
In a competitive market, a kitchen without updates may not be enough to attract many other offers and may lead to fewer offers being made by other potential buyers.
As shown below, it does not cost much at all to bring the kitchen up to an acceptable level that the purchaser can live with after the closing.
The bedroom is an important place to start when listing your home for sale. The bedroom can be the most inviting room in the house, but it can also be the most depressing. We see many people use bedrooms as offices, closets, storage areas, and work out rooms. It is important to make sure the room is returned to it’s normal functionality when getting the home ready for sale.
When listing our goal is to appeal to buyers. Having a bedroom set up like an office or closet may turn buyers away from your home. For example, a bedroom purposed as a closet would give the impression that the home does not have enough closet or storage space. What are first time buyers looking for?…that’s right closet or storage space.
The primary bedroom is a room that we want to be inviting and tranquil. Buyers will want to be able to envision themselves living in the space. Fresh paint, refinished floors, clean windows, new light fixtures, replace light switches/outlets and plates if possible.
I normally try work with sellers to get the most work done for their dollar by suggesting simple changes that can really make a difference!
Neutralizing the wooden doors in the pictures below was a must do!
To get the most bang for your buck in a bathroom renovation, it’s important to focus on what buyers are looking for when they come to look at a home. The first 8 photos should be the best ones, and the primary bathroom should be one of them.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money on a full renovation—you can still make changes that will make your bathroom look like new without dropping thousands on renovations. Here are some quick, low-cost alternatives:
- Perform simple repairs, deep cleaning, and replacing hardware or fixtures
- Swap out old lighting with new
- Paint existing cabinets with a fresh coat of paint
- If the exhaust fan sounds like it is getting ready for “take off”….by all means take it off and get a new one.
Buyers expect the primary bathroom to be one of those top photos, so if yours isn’t up to snuff yet but is still functional, consider taking some time during your next vacation to spruce it up!
Basement & Utility Spaces
Basements can also make or break a sale. Buyers and their agents will develop a perception about how well your home has been maintained while in the basement; keep it clean and painted with new light bulbs and they’ll view your home as well taken care of overall!
In the pictures below we can see that the homeowner had spend money on a nice carrier HVAC system, recent Reem water heater, replaced the water pressure regulator and some of the drain piping in the home. But not having the basement clean and painted was a distraction that took focus away from the maintenance that the homeowner had completed. This is why the basement was cleaned and painted.
Living rooms and dining rooms are normally close to both the Kitchen and entryway. It is important that we have plenty of light in these rooms and that they give a good impression when buyers walk through them.
Removing older window treatments and making sure windows are clean on the inside and out provide light and a good first impression. We also recommend the right paint color for the space.
In the pictures below the wall color was changed to a light grey with white trim to “lighten” the space up. The floors were refinished as well.
Dining rooms often have a vintage chandelier which will steal a buyer’s attention away from other home features that are more important. It is always best to replace the fixture with something a little more current.
In the dining room picture below you can see how we swapped out an older fixture with a similar new fixture that worked well in the space. It is just as important not to over do it with a high end light light fixture unless the space or ceiling is deserving of the attention.
Just because it is called a “man cave” does not mean that one must fully embrace “cave”. In finished basements it is important to keep things light in color and make sure you have any carpet professionally cleaned before going on the market.
Many people prefer to have recessed lighting in their finished basement. If new recessed lights are not in your budget; swapping out the old flush mount lights with a newer led model is recommended.
One or two flush mount led lights will usually do a better job of lighting an entire room than recessed lights.
The picture below shows a a great example of changing the paint to a lighter color and changing the light fixtures.
If you have an estate property and need help putting together a plan, please give me a call at 571.228.4159. I am always here to help and have helped many clients get their estate home ready to enter the market for a successful sale. I have the resources available to help you with estate sale, donations or whole house clean out efforts, and the right vendors to make sure your home sparkles when it hits the market!