Prepare Your Home for Sale

By on July 11, 2019

By Phillip B. Burum

A new school year is upon us, which means the home sales season is in full swing. New ownership deeds to nearly 130,000 homes will be recorded in California during the summer months. If you are one of the many that plans to sell your home, make sure you have taken the necessary steps to present your home in its best light, before you take it to market.

The home is the largest financial investment most Americans will ever make so, before you make major decisions on what to do with this investment, consult with a professional. Most of us know someone or know someone that knows someone who is a real estate agent. It’s time to exploit those relationships. Your goal is to find a successful local agent that is active in your region and ask specific questions about value enhancement opportunities that can impact your home’s value.

New homes today are technologically far superior to homes built only 15 or 20 years ago so you may need to consider the upside to a substantial renovation. It is possible that adding granite countertops to replace your current laminate kitchen counters is all you may need while others may be faced with significant plumbing, electrical or HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) upgrades. Before deciding, consider the potential for added value of the improvements in comparison to the cost and time invested.

If a remodel becomes part of the home’s marketing plan, homeowners should use only a properly licensed contractor and make sure he or she acquires all the necessary permits. When considering remodeling candidates, it is best to use remodelers who have experience in dealing with local governments and agencies and are familiar with local building codes. A list of certified remodelers can be found at

After the remodel is completed, or a decision that major improvements were not needed has been made, it’s time to stage the home for sale. A home with good ‘curb appeal’ is pleasing to look at but also provides a sense of security, safety and comfort. The apparent condition of the home will tell a lot about the homeowner and the neighborhood so attention to detail is important.

Spruce up all landscaping back, front and sides; and trim trees and bushes. Consider modernizing the lawn with a more ecologically friendly “xeriscape” design which features drought tolerant plants.

First impressions are important, so consider a fresh coat of paint on your front door and evaluate the value of repainting the entire home, inside and out. If interior paint is on the ‘to do’ list, talk to experts before choosing your pallet. The right or wrong choices can hurt or help the appearance. A lighter color, for example, can help make smaller rooms look larger.

Because kitchens and bathrooms are the two rooms that typically make or break a sale, focusing improvements on these rooms might be less expensive than the profits you could lose by reducing the price. If your home’s appliances are outdated, consider replacing them. Buyers often do not want to be faced with the possibility of having to replace appliances when moving and having new energy-efficient appliances already in place will be a positive selling point.

Real estate experts agree that a crucial component to selling an existing home is to help prospective buyers to see the home as their new home rather feel that they are intruding on someone else’s home. The key to a successful showing will always include a home that is free of clutter. A home should appear clean, inviting and well-kept. Consider renting a storage unit to store items that are not used day to day. This also gives a more accurate idea of the space available.

Getting the home ready, however, is only half of the task. Finding a quality agent that will represent you is potentially more important so take your time making this decision. Interview several candidates to find the right fit for your circumstances. Ensure they are internet savvy and willing to put in the time necessary to find the right buyer for your home. Although we all want to help boost the confidence and careers of our friends and relatives, using your cousin as your listing agent may not be the best option. The sale of what may be the biggest investment in your life needs to be a financial decision, not an emotional one.

For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, visit the BIA Baldy View Chapter on the web at

Phillip B. Burum is Vice President-Land at D.R. Horton and Board President for the Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter.