With Spring sunshine a few weeks away, this is the time of year when sellers began to contemplate whether or not to put their property on the market. Due to the seasonal nature of visitor traffic at Lake Tahoe and the concomitant increase in real estate sales during the summertime, most sellers put their property up for sale sometime between the beginning of April and the end of July.
Whether or not you put your property up for sale this year is a purely individual decision based on your family and financial situation, the direct competition your property will be facing, the demand for properties like yours and whether or not the market supports the price you are seeking.
If you get past the first hurdle and believe that you have a reasonable chance of selling at a fair price in the next 6 to 12 months there are a host of other issues that have to be considered. Take a good look around your property and see if there are items that need to be repaired or anything that could create a hazard to people who are viewing your property.
Getting a physical inspection report and a pest inspection report in advance (post snowmelt) of putting your property up for sale might cost $500 to $1000, but it can uncover maintenance items that you may have missed. Most sellers are not going to repair every little item in advance of putting their property up for sale. But taking care of those “deal killers” in advance of showing your property will make it much more appealing to a greater number of buyers and will limit the Buyers ability to negotiate based on new findings during escrow.
Decluttering and staging are critical elements of preparing your property for sale. While many sellers and agents believe they can do an adequate job, the reality is that staging is an art that requires a special talent and vision. It can be difficult for a seller to emotionally detach themselves from the interior flavor they have spent years or even decades creating. A professional home stager brings an objective perspective to creating a warm and inviting feeling without having an emotional attachment to the pre-existing interior design. Many properties that have languished on the market for years sell relatively quickly after getting a visit from a professional stager and sometimes a few minor upgrades.
Creating curb appeal is very important especially since the first picture that most people see on the Internet when looking at properties is the exterior of your house or condo. While you can't easily change the architecture, there are a number of simple things a seller can do to make your property create a great first impression. Repair any glaring deficiencies to the exterior such as loose trim, cracked steps or driveways, missing shingles or anything that is obvious. Consider painting or staining the exterior if there is evidence of weathering. Remove dead branches from trees and prune vegetation as necessary. Touch up the landscaping so it always looks well maintained. And keep up with snow removal especially in a big year like the current one.
Working closely with your agent to put together a comprehensive marketing plan is an important piece of the puzzle. Each property should be analyzed for its special attributes and features. Then your agent will be able to create a marketing strategy and promotional materials that will help you sell your house or condo. Buyers generally see only what is on the surface when making a first visit (like stress cracks from snow load). Promoting attributes such as in-floor radiant heat, upgraded plumbing and electrical systems and other things not readily visible to the naked eye will help buyers appreciate the value-added features of your property.
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