COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLIST FOR SELLERS

By
Lee W Miller

You downloading my Seller’s Checklist is the first step in obtaining this comprehensive information that will lead to receiving higher offers and a faster sale, regardless of market conditions.

 

First Impressions

The old saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Pre-internet, Buyers formed that impression as they parked in front of the house; known as curb appeal. Today, that true ‘first impression happens via online photography. The second impression is when they park. Both are critical and no shortcuts should be taken.

The home’s exterior should be pristine! Clean, cleared of any clutter, with no visible repairs needed. A broken step, loose railing, cobwebs, overgrown shrubs, or scattered toys in the yard can spoil both the home’s appearance and the potential buyer’s first impression.

Here’s a list of simple cleanup and spruce up items to make sure your home maximizes a good first impression:

-Clear driveways and walkways of weeds, debris, leaves etc. Repair or replace cracked steps or pavers. Have driveways clear of vehicles when Buyers arrive. 

-Keep the lawn mowed, edged, fertilized and watered. Prune dead branches and plants. Weed flower beds and replace thin landscaping with fresh plants and flowers.

-Replace loose or damaged roof shingles, clean the gutters, and paint and caulk window trim and doors. 

-Make the front door area shine: hose down to rid of cobwebs and dust; consider repainting your front door and placing a new welcome mat. Polish hardware and make sure all front facing windows are clean. 

-Power wash sidewalks, siding, brick, windows, and porches.

-Replace any dated light fixtures, and if possible, pick new fixtures with the same mounting system to save time and hassle. 

-Install new house numbers that match the finish of your lighting fixtures. 

-Consider upgrading your mailbox; it’s an inexpensive fix and the first thing that buyers will see when they pull up to your home. 

-Install flower boxes or pots of blooming flowers for a pop of color. 

-Hang a seasonal wreath from your front door.

  

Staging Your Home 

When you list your home for sale, it becomes a product rather than your personal retreat. You want potential homebuyers to be able to envision themselves living in the home, which can be difficult if your family's personality is still evident. Before going on market, your agent will recommend decluttering and depersonalizing, but you may also want to bring in a professional stager to help guide you through showing your home in its most marketable light. 
When done correctly, staging can not only set the right emotional tone for buyers about the home, but can also help highlight the most attractive features of the home. Staging can potentially make you money, too: 77% of listing agents said a well-staged environment increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer, according to the National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Staging. Staging can also shorten the length of time your home is on the market, with agents reporting that their staged homes were going under contract faster than those without.

A professional stager will typically begin with an in-home consultation, where they will walk through your home with you, review the property, and provide a report with their advice for the home. The report will include advice on decluttering, storing items, reorganizing furniture placement, and possibly changing out paint colors in different rooms. The stager may also give tips for improving curb appeal. The most common rooms that are staged are the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and dining room.

Depending on what your home needs, and whether you want to do the work yourself or hire it done, your stager could handle bringing in supplementary furniture and deĢcor items, manage painting or other contractors coming to your home, and have a more hands on role in getting your home ready to go on the market. The cost of services provided will vary depending how much assistance your home will need.

 

Professional Photography

This goes back to the critical objective of making a good first impression. 86% of all home searches begin online. It makes no sense to cut corners on this step to save ~$500 when selling a six or seven figure asset. Very rarely will any Realtor have the skill and the required equipment to match a professional. Real estate photography is a specialty in the trade. Not just anyone can do it well, no matter how nice their camera is. Special lighting can make or break any residential photo shoot.

Then, there are the options of virtual tours, sometimes referred to as Matterport; the inventors of the original technology that allows the viewer to ‘virtually walk through the house with 360 degree views in every room. Often drone photography can provide added value by showing an aerial view of the immediate surrounding area.

I contract with Sea Timber Media and miller.photo because they offer all the above PLUS will create a customized property website. 

Showings and Open House Checklist

Once your home goes on the market, real estate agents may call to show your home anytime, even if you've listed preferred showing times in the instructions. Keeping your home in showtime condition can be challenging, especially if you have children and pets. Here are some pointers for presenting your home in the best possible light. 

-Eliminate clutter: The less cluttered your home, the better it shows. If you have a lot of knick-knacks, collections, or family mementos, consider renting a portable storage unit, which can be stored until it's time to deliver it to your new home. 

-Keep, donate, throw away: If you have time before you go on the market, sort unwanted belongings into one of these three baskets. You'll receive more in tax benefits for your donations than pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It's faster, more efficient and you'll help more people.

-Remove temptations: Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location. Also secure your prescription medicine and private financial documents.

-Remove breakables: Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage.

-Be hospitable: You want your home to look like a home. Open the blinds, turn on the lights, and make visitors feel welcomed.

 -Have a family plan of action: When a showing happens at an inconvenient time, get the family engaged. Everyone can pitch in to tidy up in a hurry: pick up glasses, plates, clothing, and anything else left lying about.

 -Get in the habit: Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off countertops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh.

 -Clean out the garage and attic: Buyers want to see what kind of storage there is. 

The Essential Five-minute Clean-up for Showings

Everyone gets a basket and cleans up clutter. Check for hazards, like toys left on the floor. Make sure all toys, including bicycles, are put away. 

Put pets in daycare, sleep cages or take them with you: In the listing instructions, there should be a warning if there is a big dog on premises. Buyers with allergies also may appreciate knowing in advance if you have pets. 

Turn on lights: Open the drapes, turn on lights so buyers can really see. 

Give the buyer privacy: The buyer cannot come to your home without being accompanied by an agent. They will be more comfortable touring the home without your presence. 

Moving Checklist

Moving to a new home can be an exciting but stressful journey. By finding the right movers and having a good, though flexible, moving plan, most of the common moving headaches can be easily avoided. 

Start planning

Finding the best mover for you at the right price involves a simple evaluation of your needs. Moving companies provide a wide range of services, from planning your move, storing your things, packing and unpacking, to decorating and organizing your belongings in your new home. You can choose which services you want and have them tailored to suit your budget. 

Compare movers

When you compare price and service estimates from several companies, you will find that estimates are based on the weight of your household items, the distance they will be moved, and the amount of packing and other services you will require. Be sure to show the estimator every item that will be moved. Estimates should be done in person and include a clear explanation of rates and charges that will apply, the mover's liability for your belongings, pick-up and delivery schedules, and claims protection.

If you are moving interstate, you should read and understand all of the information you will receive. In addition to brochures explaining their various services, moving companies should give you a copy of a consumer booklet titled "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" and information regarding the mover's participation in a Dispute Settlement Program. Distribution of the consumer booklet and the requirement that movers must offer shippers neutral arbitration as a means of settling disputes that may arise concerning loss or damage on household goods shipments are requirements of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Be prepared

Even in the most well-planned moves, something unexpected may happen. In those instances, insurance is crucial. Check with your homeowner's insurance provider about coverage for your belongings while moving. Your mover will provide either released value insurance (about $0.60 per pound of goods lost or damaged, according to NAVL.com) or full replacement value, which you must sign for on your bill of lading. If you are not sure how to estimate the value of your belongings for insurance purposes, your insurance carrier can help. Items of special value such as heirlooms, paintings, or collectibles can be insured under separate riders. In the event of damage to an item, file a claim immediately. Be sure to save the packing materials to show to the adjuster, should there be any problems. 

Packing up and moving on

Once the time has come to start packing and organizing, here are some tips to make the process smooth: • Start by packing the things you use most infrequently.

-Pare down items that have accumulated over time by grouping them into 3 categories Keep, Donate, or Throw Away. 

 -Create an inventory sheet of valuables and a list of which boxes they were packed in.

 -Label your boxes according to the rooms where they'll be moved - bedroom#2, 1st floor bath, etc. Consider using different colored stickers/tape for each room.

 -Provide your movers with copies of the floor plan of your new home, so they can move more efficiently without having to stop and ask you where things go.

 -Try to keep boxes under 50 lbs. whenever possible, put heavier items in smaller boxes to reduce bulkiness, and place lighter items in larger boxes.

 -Dispose of items that can't be moved, like flammable liquids, cleaning fluids, etc. Prepare your mower by emptying the fuel and recycle your propane grill tanks.

 -Snap a photo of the back of electronic devices so you know which wires to attach when setting them up in your new home.

 -Pack an overnight bag with moving day essentials, including toiletries, clothes, medication, and charger cords.

Conclusion

I trust you have derived substantial benefit from this Checklist! I wish you all the best as you embark on the selling/moving process.

Lee W Miller - www.LeeWMiller.com - 707.266.1585