Prepping For Sale

You can pay me now, or pay me later.

–Oil filter commercial, circa 1970’s

One of the more difficult conversations listing agents can have with their Sellers concerns spending (some) money to prep their home for sale.

That’s an especially sensitive topic if some (or all) of the homeowner’s motivation for selling is financial.

The good news is, a lot of the necessary prep is free.

So, things like de-cluttering and cleaning are simply a matter of finding the time.

As burdensome as emptying an attic full of decades of memento’s is, the stark reality is that what’s at issue is ultimately just timing: the stuff is going to have to be donated/thrown after the Purchase Agreement is signed — so do it beforehand, and get more money for the house!

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Of course, not everything on the prep list can be done for free or at a steep discount (unless the homeowner is an expert painter, landscaper, or in the carpet business).

A good Realtor will suggest cost-effective repairs and improvements, knowing that $1 spent by the owner can easily return $3 or $4 AND help the home sell faster.

Ultimately, like the car owner deciding whether to buy a good oil filter or a cheap one, the decision isn’t whether to spend the money.

Rather, it’s whether to spend the money before the home hits the market — or a couple months later, after it’s been sitting with little or no Buyer interest, and the owner is facing both a price reduction AND cosmetic updates.

Trust me, it’s a much better investment beforehand.

*Corollary: you can de-clutter your house now, and sell for more. Or, wait until it sells, then have to empty out your home in order to move.
About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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