Questions About Today’s Real Estate?

Ask Phyllis!

   Preparing For A Future Home Sale



Dear Phyllis,

  I am retiring in September and will be selling my home and moving. What can I start doing today so that come September I can get my home on the market before the holidays? We have lived here for 30 years and while we love our home I imagine some buyers might think it’s a bit dated.  Downsizing

Phyllis HARB 2012 WEB
Phyllis Harb is a Realtor® with Dilbeck Real Estate.
She may be contacted at (818) 790-7325 or by email

Dear Downsizing,

   It’s great that you will be taking the time to prepare your home for sale in order to achieve the highest possible selling price.



1)      First things first:


Hire a Realtor®. Your real estate agent gets paid once you close escrow.  Many of my clients hire me months before their home goes on the market.  Your Realtor’s® job is to guide you during each phase of your home prep. They should make suggestions as to what repairs or improvements will give you the highest return on your investment (time and money and, when appropriate, make suggestions regarding paint color, type of flooring etc.

2)      Start from the outside by creating curb appeal.

Your goal is to get the buyer in the front door. I often find that after a while most gardeners get a little lazy. Trees, hedges and flowers need to be trimmed and the grass should be green.You might need a new gardener because during the course of your listing, you will want the landscape maintained (if your gardener wasn’t doing it properly before what makes you think they will now?).  Your Realtor® should make a recommendation.

3)      I often suggest that my clients have their home pressure washed and windows professionally cleaned prior to coming on the market.  If the exterior needs to be painted or touched up address that with your Realtor®.

Each dollar spent prepping your home for sale does not result in an additional sales dollar.  Last year, I met with a client who owns a townhome.  His plan was to put it on the market after a kitchen remodel (not a face-lift – a full blown remodel).  He believed that if he spent $60,000 updating his kitchen that his unit would sell for $60,000 more than the last sale. This is not the case. Even if he had found a potential buyer who was willing to pay $60,000 more for his unit because of the remodel, an appraiser would never adjust the value of a kitchen remodel by the total cost.  The appraisal would be low and if the buyer required financing (unable to purchase with cash) would need to increase his down payment or worse expect to renegotiate the selling price.

   Often small repairs such as torn screens, chipped tile grout, old faucets and hardware get overlooked.  Again, your Realtor’s® job is to guide you through what should and should not be done.  Address the big picture: flooring and ceilings.  Ceilings are a big expense of a home and removing the cottage cheese ceilings are a big improvement that typically provides a big payoff.  Same thing with old carpets; buyers love hardwood floors. They don’t always need to be refinished; just exposing the bare wood enhances appeal.

   It seems that you have ample time to prepare your home for sale. Remember to call your Realtor sooner rather than later so you will get a better return on your commission investments.