The Mathieson Method - Preparing Your Home to Get It Sold Quickly and For Top Dollar!

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Deciding to sell your home is one of the most important financial decisions you will make within your lifetime. This guide will help you maximize the amount of money you can make on the sale of your home and give you advice on how to sell it quickly, while helping you to reduce your stress during the process.

The reasons you are selling your home are personal, but they affect the approach you will want to take to draw full advantage of your home’s earning potential. If your goal is to sell as quickly as possible, you will require a minimal preparation strategy — perhaps you do not have time to make any necessary repairs. However, cleaning and decluttering your home will help you to sell more quickly. If you have time and want to maximize your home’s profit potential, the preparation may take a bit longer. In either situation, your realtor can help you set the priorities that will make your home shine! Following is my method AKA The Mathieson Method that I recommend to enhance your home’s sales potential no matter your situation. 

I am a realtor with an extensive career in interior designer. Before I was a realtor, I bought, renovated, and sold numerous homes. I always hired a realtor to help me when I needed to sell and I listened & did as they advised me to do to prepare my home for the market. Financially, it worked out very well for me and it is the main reason I became a realtor; I want to help people with their long term financial goals by helping them maximize their real estate’s earning potential. So my first bit of advise is to hire a local real estate agent to help you understand how best to approach the sale of your home based on your goals and local market. Select someone you feel the most comfortable with, who understands what is important to you, has a great marketing plan, has your best interests at heart and communicates clearly and often. Having an agent you trust, and respect is crucial for a successful and pleasant sales experience. Below is a process that will help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar!

  1. Assess the condition of your home: Have your agent walk through your home and advise if any remodeling work is warranted before you list the house. You might be surprised at the things that an agent will tell you to leave alone. The elements of the space that may annoy you or that you thought would turn off a buyer, may go completely unnoticed when you are selling your home. By recruiting your real estate agent (and their stager) to assess the house’s condition with an educated eye, you can start to see your house as a product rather than your treasured home. If you are proactive with an objective assessment early on, you will put money only into items that need to be handled before the house is placed on the market.

  2. Setting a price: Your realtor will help you establish a price for your home based on a comparative market analysis (CMA). The CMA involves comparing similar recently sold properties in the same or a nearby neighborhood, making adjustments for the differences among the homes, and tracking the current local market and inventory. This analysis will help you determine the correct price for your home. Buyers are looking for quality, but they’re also very concerned with price, , so pricing your home correctly is significant. The right price can attract buyers quickly and could initiate a bidding war. A price that is too high may mean the house sits on the market, which can create the impression with buyers and their agents that there is something wrong the home. If your home is in really great condition, challenging the market is possible.
    Property websites like Zillow and allow you to enter your home’s address to roughly how much your house is worth. These websites base their price on your home’s square footage and data such as recent home sales in your area. However, these prices are only estimates based on algorithms, not on your individual situation. If the price you see online does not align with what your agent suggests, discuss it with your agent.   

  3. Setting a timeline and preparing your home for the sale: If you must sell quickly, the 1-month time frame is for you!  If you have more time to prepare, the longer 2-month timeline is suggested for you. All of the preparations discussed here are recommended, but not mandatory. The more you can prepare, the better your home selling process and relocation will go. An organized approach takes much of the stress out of the project. 

1 - 2 months before listing: Select your realtor and assess your home's condition. Set a timeline and start to establish a price. It is wise to start the pricing process by looking at a range of prices your home could be priced at - I like to help my clients by waiting until their home preparation is complete before establishing the final listing price. At that point, we know the final condition of the home and how we can place it in the market to sell it quickly and for top dollar.

Get started on repairs 3 to 6 weeks before listing your home. The time frame really depends on your schedule and on the repairs you are going to make. You want your home to be in the best condition possible, so make repairs as needed. Fix anything that is obvious, that was recommended by your realtor, or that you know will come up during an inspection. Wow your buyers by following these tips: 

  • Improve your curb appeal. How your home looks from the street is crucial for an excellent first impression. Be confident that your garden is attractive by pruning bushes, removing weeds, and planting colorful flowers. Make sure the lawn is mowed and edges are trimmed while your house is on the market. 

  • Clean the outside of the home. If you haven’t done this in a while, pressure wash your home, touch up paint as needed, and clean the gutters. Wash windows and remove screens. It’s a good idea to mark screens for correct placement at a later date and store in the garage or attic. Consider painting your front door in a color that contrasts with the color of your home. This makes the entrance stand out. Repaint or replace your house numbers so they are visible from the street. Buy a new welcome mat and make sure that your doorbell is working correctly — this lets buyers know they are welcome in your home.

  • Remove clutter and depersonalize your home. Buyers want to envision their own belongings in the house, so remember less is more. Staging a home for sale is about editing things out of the home more often than it is about a stager bringing furnishings into your home. Start to pack for your move by wrapping and boxing up knick-knacks, personal photos, and so on. If necessary, rent a storage unit for the short term to house extra furnishings and boxed items that you want to keep. Donate or discard items that you don’t want. Decluttering now will help you sell your home faster and will make the final steps of moving from this house to your new home easier.

  • Organize all closets and drawers. Thin out and organize all closets, cabinets, and drawers. Messy closets and drawers make it appear as if the house does not have enough storage space.

Two weeks before listing your home, clean it. My mother always said, “Everything looks better when it is clean.” She was right! Here are some tips for making your home SHINE!

  • Dust and wash all light fixtures, fans, and switches. Replace any burned out light bulbs. Make sure all light bulbs are the same wattage in each fixture and the same color/warmth throughout your home. 

  • Clean your kitchen as if you are a chef expecting a health inspection. Clean all appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, range top, and ovens), polish kitchen counters, and put countertop appliances away when not in use. You want to give the appearance of abundant workspace in the kitchen. Remove all photos or magnets from the refrigerator. Put the trashcan under the kitchen sink or in the pantry if necessary. 

  • In the bathrooms, clean all countertops, tubs, toilets, and sinks. Make sure the grout is clean and polish all the hardware so it shines. Stow any unused soap, shampoos, and razors, under the sink. Remove rugs and toilet seat covers for showings. Remove clutter from your vanity, leaving only one or two decorative items. Store makeup and toiletries neatly in drawers or under the counter.

  • Air out your home, replace HVAC filters, and clean all HVAC vents. If necessary, use an air freshener, but be careful not to use something with a strong scent. Make sure your home is clean and you are not masking an underlying problem. If you have pets and have lived in the house for a long time, consider cleaning the air vents. This doesn’t cost a lot and can help your home smell fresh.

  • Dust or clean window coverings. Keep all window coverings completely open during showings so that the light flows into your home.

  • Polish all furniture and cabinets. Liquid Gold or Old English are excellent for making wood cabinets and furniture shine. 

  • Wash and polish all flooring. If not replacing carpeting, have them steam cleaned. If you want to replace your carpeting ask your realtor which colors attract the most buyers.

  • Finally have your home staged for the sale. Your realtor should help you do this by either hiring a stager to help you or by doing it themselves. In my case, I put on my interior designer hat and put the final touches on your home in a way that enhances all the best qualities of your home to potential buyers.

Hopefully these tips will help you feel confident and organized about your approach to preparing your home to sell. If there is anything I can do, to help you in any capacity with the sale of your home, please contact me!

Jean Mathieson is a Realtor® & Interior Designer Located In Holly Springs, NC