By Jen McDonald
If your military family is due for a PCS next spring or summer, there’s a lot you can be doing now to prepare your home for selling or renting. Tackle these tasks over the slower winter months, and you’ll have a leg up on the competition!
1) Take time to declutter.
We at MilitaryByOwner are always hitting this point hard, but there’s a reason: potential buyers or renters don’t want to see your stuff when they walk through your home; they need to be able to envision themselves in the space. And that’s hard to do if they’re surrounded by your kitsch and photos everywhere they turn.
Since you’re coming up to a PCS move anyway, take some time over the winter months to sort through your belongings pre-packout and box up anything you can live without until you get to the other end: an abundance of family photos, kids’ toys, extra clothing, all that plasticware that comes tumbling out of kitchen cabinets when they’re opened…you get the drift! This will serve a dual purpose by not only prepping your home to stage, but also lowering your household goods weight.
2) Make repairs and give your home a little TLC.
Don’t wait for the home inspection to turn up needed repairs! Go ahead and fix all the things you’ve been putting off. If you’re selling, you’ll have to fill out a seller’s disclosure list of everything that’s wrong anyway, so start checking off that list now. And if you’re renting, you’ll want to leave things in the best possible state for your tenants.
This is a great time for touch-up painting or other cosmetic maintenance like re-caulking tiles or bathtubs, replacing trim, or fixing leaky faucets. While your home may look fine to you because you’re used to it, have an honest friend or your agent walk through and point out things that could be updated, freshened up, or repaired.
3) Research and price your home correctly.
If you’re using the services of a real estate agent to list your home, they will help you with this process. If you’re planning a For Sale By Owner, begin now to research comparable homes and neighborhoods, and price accordingly.
Don’t make the mistake of pricing too high with the thought that you’ll lower it if you don’t get a bite. The problem with this tactic is that the longer a home sits on the market, the more wary buyers become (possibly asking themselves, what’s wrong with this house that it hasn’t sold yet?). Instead, price smartly from the beginning, and you’ll save yourself a headache when the appraisal comes back less than your asking price.
4) Stage like a pro.
Remember that when someone is walking through your home, they’ll be comparing it to the show homes or new builds down the road which will be fresh, clean, and most of all, staged. Home staging simply means visually preparing and presenting a home to appeal to the maximum number of potential buyers.
According to the Real Estate Staging Association, houses that are staged sell four times faster than comparatively priced unstaged houses. You don’t need to take out a small loan to refurnish or redecorate your home, but keeping your competition in mind, you can do a few simple things to stage your home and show its amenities in the best possible light.
Here are a few ideas:
- Tour show homes in your area or visit Pinterest for inspiration.
- Go neutral. If you have accent walls or other brightly painted areas in your home, now is the time to give it a more neutral hue. While you may love the bright pink and yellow you painted your child’s room, other people may not be able to see past that to the other features. Remove that barrier.
- Remove redundant items and strategically place furniture to make the space look larger.
- Replace heavy curtains with sheers or blinds to filter in more natural light.
- Don’t empty rooms if you can help it. Help potential buyers see the possibilities in a room with a few well-placed pieces.
For even more home staging help, see:
5) Finally–take amazing photos and create your online listing.
Home shoppers are visual, so after you’ve staged your home and are ready to create your online home listing on MilitaryByOwner, you’ll want to present your home with the highest quality photos possible.
Whether you DIY or hire a professional photographer, start with these tips:
- Take photos in a landscape (horizontal) orientation.
- Don’t include pets or their gear in photos.
- Don’t have people (or yourself reflected in a mirror!) in your home photos.
- Don’t try to make rooms look bigger by perching high in a corner to take photos. This distorts the image.
- Take photos in day time and make the most of natural light.
- Use a wide angle lens.
- Do shoot towards corners.
- Do highlight special features, like a garden tub, built-in shelves, or that amazing back deck.
For more details about taking photos of your home, see 3 Easy Steps to Take Amazing Photos for Your Home Listing.
While PCS season and home selling or renting may seem like a long way off, the time will pass before you know it. Taking the time now to prep your home for sale later will go a long way towards giving you an edge in a competitive housing market!
Download MilitaryByOwner’s free ebook, PCS Ahead: Should I Rent or Sell My Home?