OPINION | Melanie Murr: Never too early to prepare for a home sale

This column originally appeared in the Livingston Parish News on 10/10/2019

In my last column, I talked about how a few coats of lighter color paint can make a huge difference in your listing photos, which in turn means more showings and better offers. Here are some other tips for getting your home ready for sale in the upcoming months. Some are tried and true favorites, but there are a few updates for 2020 technology and potential buyer tastes.

Ditch the carpet... or get it seriously cleaned - When buyers walk through homes that need updating, they are going to make mental price deductions based on certain features and nothing lowers their eventual offer amount like carpet. Eliminate carpet as much as possible, as this is the least desirable of all flooring choices, especially in existing homes. If replacing carpet flooring isn’t in your budget, carpet cleaning has evolved into a high tech art over the last decade and there are some amazing local companies that can work magic on stains and wear.

De-clutter, clean, and mind your smells - These old standbys are always a good idea before putting your house up for sale. You are going to move anyway, so the less junk you have to take to your new home the better. I stand by my mom’s rule of thumb, if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, you don’t need it. If you want to take this a step further, check out Marie Kondo and her method of de-cluttering your home. A professional deep cleaning always goes a long way towards boosting the overall attractiveness of your home and give potential buyers the impression of a well taken care of home.

This implies for smells as well.

Conduct a smell audit with a friend to catch odor you may have gone nose-blind to, and aim to welcome potential buyers with scents that are pleasant and homey, but not overpowering.

Enhanced listings - As marketing and technology continue to grow at a faster pace than the current multiple listing system realtors are required to use to market listings, agents with marketing savvy are starting to use enhanced listings to make their client’s homes stand out and give their properties an edge over other homes on the market. These enhancements include 3D tours and video formats that can’t yet be accommodated by most multiple listing services, so forward thinking agents are posting these features directly to Zillow and Facebook where they are most likely to be seen by potential buyers. When selecting an agent to work with, ask them how they will market the home beyond just inputting it in the MLS and what listing enhancements they offer their clients.