May 30, 2024

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How to Prepare For a Real Estate Sale

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If you are selling your home or your property, there are things you will need to do to prepare for a real estate sale to ensure the sale goes smoothly. Many people make the mistake of selling their home “as is where is” to avoid having to make repairs, but a few simple repairs can really ramp up how much money you can make.

Preparing for a real estate sale by making a few quick changes can literally add thousands of dollars to the proceeds. Learn what you need to do to prepare for a real estate sale and take that money to the bank.


Before you take the plunge and sell a problem property, you should know that some states have disclosures that you have to attest to before you sell the property. You may think you are prepared for a real estate sale, but if you have some problems and you do not disclose those problems to the buyer, you can be in a world of trouble.

Of course, on the flip side of the coin, if you offer full disclosure of the problems and the buyer agrees to the sale, then there is no harm or no foul. However, if you knowingly sell a property with problems and you deny knowing, it can come back to bite you.

Some states have stricter disclosure agreements than others. Before you sell a property, be sure that you ask your realtor or an attorney what your responsibility is when it comes to disclosure about the property.

Real property sales can come with some unique rules. Selling “where is as is” can mean different things in different jurisdictions. Protect yourself by consulting with a professional that knows the real estate laws in your specific state.

Start With a Checklist

Creating a checklist of what your realty expert tells you need to be done will ensure that you do not miss a thing and get the most value for your home. Sit with a realtor and figure out what the most important things are that need to be done.

There are a few things at a minimum you should get done to add some value to your home before you sell it off. Start at the top and work your way down, in other ways start from roof to yard to get your home into shape.

Let’s face the facts, no one is buying a house with holes in the roof or junk all over the yard. Make that list and then start chipping away at it. You may have to wait a little while to get the house sold because of the repairs, but in the end, the amount of money you will make will be well worth the wait.

Start With the Most Expensive Repairs

It may sound counterintuitive, but you should start with the most expensive repairs, that are the most necessary. For example, call the roofers and have them fix that leaking roof. You have to make sure that the property is protected from the elements before you do any of the cosmetic stuff that attracts buyers.

A roofer can make the repairs that are necessary that will protect the house so that you can do things like paint the walls and make other cosmetic upgrades. A solid roof is a big selling point for buyers and it will make doing everything else easier.

Also at the top of your list should be dealing with septic problems. If your septic system needs to be replaced, you will know it and so will all the neighbors. Septic installers can fix the problem with a new septic tank. In some states, selling a property with a faulty septic system that you are aware of can land you in court. Fix it and move on to the next project.

You may be concerned about costs, and rightfully so, but the fact is if you want to make money you have to invest money. Many roofing companies and septic companies have financing options that can work well in your situation. Finance the repairs and then pay them off completely with the proceeds from the sale.

Finding creative ways to pay for major repairs can help you to get the necessary repairs without breaking your budget. Financing is a great way to put off paying for the repairs until after the property sells. It is also a great way to figure out what the bottom line sale price is that you will take for the property.

Home Infrastructure

There are a couple of things that you will need to prepare for a real estate sale that no one can actually see but that are important to the infrastructure of the property. The things that are listed below are important whether you plan on selling a residential or commercial property or if you are putting up the commercial property for rent or renting your home:

    • Electrical problems.
    • Plumbing problems.
  • Major structural defects.

An electric panel upgrade to replace a faulty panel is a must. Electrical problems are nothing to ignore. Electrical fires, unfortunately, occur more frequently than you think. Selling a property with a faulty panel is not only dangerous it could wind up generating a liable suit for you or even worse, criminal charges.

Plumbing problems are another big infrastructure issue. While fixing a leaky faucet is not an emergency situation, there are other situations that are. For example, a faulty main drain. Spilling wastewater is not only illegal, it is also a health violation.

A major structural defect is also an infrastructure problem you will have to address to get ready to sell real estate. The solution can be as simple as having a team of specialists manage local site remediation for you.

Concrete companies are usually a good resource for both making repairs and pointing you in the direction of a trusted company that can repair structural defects. While all of these infrastructure problems may sound daunting to deal with, the good news is, all of these major infrastructure problems are not too expensive to fix.

Managing these problems will not necessarily attract buyers, but it will keep you out of court, and ensure that the property you are selling or renting is safe. You will sleep better at night knowing that you did not pass on these major issues to the new buyers.

Sprucing Things Up Inside

If money is tight and you do not want to sink thousands of dollars into the house before you sell, that is understood, but that does not mean you can not make small changes that will have a big impact. A spotlessly clean property will sell faster than one that is cluttered.

Declutter the space by either storing or trashing the things that are overwhelming the property. It will not cost you a dime to go through all your stuff and start packing it away or throwing it away. A decluttered space looks bigger. If people have to climb over stuff to get around the house, you will never have to worry about preparing for a real estate sale because you will never sell it.

Once you have decluttered, start cleaning. Clean everything from the ceilings to the floor. Clean:

    • Light fixtures and ceiling fans in every room.
    • Switch plates, outlet plates, doorknobs, and hardware around the house.
  • Clean walls (if you are not going to paint), baseboards, floors, and carpets.

Clean every room one by one, start from the ceiling, and work your way down. It is strongly recommended that you hire a professional carpet cleaning company to come in and take care of all the carpets in the home. If you do not want to take on the expense of having the pros manage your carpet cleaning, you can rent a machine and do it yourself. However, if you choose the DIY carpet cleaning, keep in mind that it may take you a couple of days.

You can take some shortcuts. For example, if cleaning every baseboard in the house seems a bit much or the baseboards have just passed the time where they can be cleaned effectively, consider painting all of the trim. Painting just the trim can often brighten the entire room up and give it that crisp, clean look.

Speaking of paint, painting can really revitalize a home. A quick coat of paint can instantly make everything look and feel cleaner. The point is, to sell the property, you have to present a property that looks tidy and clean. How you get to that point is entirely up to you.

Don’t Bother With These Things

There is a balance when it comes to preparing to sell real estate. Some people make the mistake of going overboard to attract buyers. You can invest too much in upgrades and property rehab before a sale.

For example, ripping out the kitchen and putting in an entirely new kitchen is not a great idea before you sell. Yes, you should make some upgrades, but keep it simple. The same is true of the bathroom. It can get really expensive when you start a full-on rehab, and you will probably not get your money back at the sale.

Moderation is key when it comes to making upgrades around the property for a sale. You want to do some upgrades but not so many that it really cuts into profits. A new carpet is not necessary if you can clean up the old one. New flooring is not necessary if you can clean up the old one. You get the idea. Do only what is necessary and nothing more.

Of course there is also a risk when you make upgrades that you will love them but they will be too personalized to attract any buyers. Getting professional help from a realtor can help you stay focused on the “have to’s” and avoid the pitfalls of the “want to’s”.

Getting Ready For Improving Curb Appeal

Before a buyer ever walks into the property, they make judgment calls based on what they see outside. There is no sense in making all those cosmetic changes inside without dealing with the outside.

Start with junk removal. Clearing the front yard and the backyard of debris should be your first step in getting the outside of the property ready for a sale. It can be overwhelming to get rid of all the junk on your own. Consider hiring a company that specializes in junk removal to make the process easier.

Highlight Outdoor Features

Highlight the features around the property that will get buyers interested and make the property easier to sell. For example, if you have a diesel performance generator in case the power goes out, clean it up and make sure your realtor knows the house is outfitted with a generator. Of course, if it does not work, haul it off with the rest of the junk. It is always better NOT to have something that does not work removed.

Clean up any outdoor storage buildings. A quick coat of paint on a shed, fixing any outdoor buildings that are in disrepair can attract buyers. If you have a stream or other body of water on your property, clean up around it, let buyers imagine all the relaxing they can do.

Add some flower pots by the front door, make sure your grass is cut, and keep clutter outside down to a minimum. You do not have to do the big things like replacing your garage door unless, of course, it is broken, but you do have to do the little things to make the house presentable.

Take a Deep Breath

All the things that you should do before a real estate sale can seem overwhelming, but millions of people sell property every day. If they can do it, so can you. Slow and steady wins this race. Have a plan, follow a schedule, and before you know it you will be sitting at the closing table.