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Getting the Home Ready to Sell

You want to sell the house for the most money in the least amount of time.  You've been taught that to do that you first must get the home ready to sell.

But what does it take to "Get the House Ready"?  And will all that time and money spent cleaning out the house, sorting through 20+ years of memories, making repairs and updates raise the value of the house enough to make it worth your time.

So just what does Get it Ready mean, how much can it cost and how long will it take?






The Process of Getting a House Ready - a Traditional Model

Month One: Family Clean Out

The first step is the clean-out phase where the family takes the time to clean out the house of all the personal belongings.  This can be a daunting task when mom or dad has lived there for 50 plus years and often the senior grew up in the house.

Every drawer, cabinet, cupboard, and closet is full of memories that need to be sorted through.  This is a daunting task and creates a horrible mess, sorting what goes with the senior or family, what to sell or donate, and what needs to go in the trash.  Many families find nothing of monetary value, just memories, others do find financial information about assets they didn't know mom or dad had.

This is the step where the getting ready part gets stuck as some families just can face their emotions and getting into the house and digging through stuff is just too much for them.  The end result is a house that sits there month after month, year after year.

If you just can't face this step, the team at kcmoHomeBuyer can make an "As-Is' Cash offer on the house with all the stuff or the team at Realty Resource can list give you an evaluation on listing it in a traditional manner, with our without the cleanout.  Armed with these 3 perspectives, you can make a better decision on where to spend your time and money.

Month Two: Getting Contractor Bids

The second step is figuring out what needs to be fixed in the house and getting bids from contractors.

There are two different types of items to get fixed,  First items that are old, worn out, or broken.  Then there are items that are old and out of date that need to be modernized.

Before you take the time to reach out to contractors, you may want to do a bit of research to see what different types of repairs and upgrades cost and what kind of value the repair will add to the house.

A great tool for this research is's Cost Vs Value Report.

Some of the more common items for 2021 include:

  • New Garage Door will Cost $3,799 and add $3,492 in Value
  • Minor Kitchen Remodel $25,009 and adds $17,351 in Value
  • Window Replacement Cost $22,280 and adds $12,686 in Value
  • Roofing Replacement Cost $26,631 and adds $13,713 in Value
  • Bathroom Remodel Cost $23,071 and aads $12,126 in Value

These prices listed for Costs are for an average retail price for hiring a contractor.  If you are in the building trades industry, these remodel items may cost less.

Be sure to ask how long the repairs will take because for some items, now in 2022, you might have a 2 or 3-month wait, just to get materials, then a few more months to get the repair or remodel complete.

Month Three: Completing Repairs

In the graphic, there is one month allotted for cleanout, one for getting contractors, and then month three is getting the work done.  You may have a 2 or 3-month gap between getting bids and getting started on the work.

For the most part, once you get the work started, depending on the size and scope of work, it could take a month or several months.  Generally getting a home repair is not all that hard, but a whole home remodel can be really rought.

Month Four: Getting the Marketing Together

Before we jump into month four, we are going to back up a bit.  Before you dig in and start "getting the house ready" we highly recommend a consultation with a Realtor to help you determine what you should repair and what you should fix.

Then when you get to Month Four you make the final decision to hire and list the home with that Realtor or to sell For Sale by Owner.  Either way, now it's time to get the marketing put together.

You may want to stage the home with rented furniture that is updated and modern or you may want to leave it empty.  Staging with old, outdated furniture, is not really advisable.  Next up is to obtain professional photos and put together virtual tours.  Get room dimensions.  Make a list of everything that is new.

Then take all that marketing material and deploy the house across the internet, getting it listed on every online site where houses are marketed.  If you hire a Realtor, this is where they earn their commission because just by putting the home in the Realtor's Multiple Listing Service, it gets sent out to all of the important and not so important websites and gets the house in front of potential buyers.

Month Five: Showings, Offers, Inpsections

Once the house goes live so to speak, ideally the buyers will start walking through the house.  They will start making offers.  Hopefully one of those offers will make sense and in a little less than 30 days the home will be under contract with a qualified buyer.

Right now in 2022, that 30-day process is taking about a week.  Back when we were in a much cooler real estate marketing that 30-day process might have take 3 months.

After you have an acceptable contract, it gets sent to the buyer's lender to start the loan approval process.  It gets sent to the title company to make sure the title is clear.  And the buyer hires an inspector to walk through and make sure everything is in good working order.

Month Six: Inspection Repairs, Appraisals, Closing

Once the house is under contract, there are typically another 30 or 45 days until closing when the entire process gets complete. Several things happen in this last month that could totally blow up the deal.

Inspections:  Once the buyer has an inspector walk through, they can decide if they want no repairs or if they want you as the seller to fix things.  Sometimes it goes well, and sometimes they want a lot.  This can derail the process and send you back to the marketing stage.  And keep in mind that once you get the inspection, anything on it is disclosable to the next buyer.

Appraisals:  After you make it over the inspection hurdle, the lender will then send in an appraiser to determine if the house is worth what everyone has agreed to on the contract.  Most of the time it does, although sometimes it does not and then you have to decide, lower your price, convince the buyer to make up the difference, or cancel the contract and start over.

Loan Approval: The last hurdle is for the borrower to get final loan approval.  In theory, the lender, hopefully, has already made sure the buyer was qualified before they made an offer on your house.  But in the last 30 days, buyers can lose their jobs, have a death in the family, get divorced, or even just purchase a refrigerator .  . all items that can get them denied for a loan.

Closing:  This is the last step that can be done in person or even online these days so that the buyer or seller can sign documents from the comfort of where ever they are on some internet-connected device.  At closing, the title company assembled all money coming in from the buyer and uses it to pay any underlying debts:  mortgages, taxes, liens, outstanding receipts, and after everything is paid out, the title company pays the seller.

Eliminate 5+ Months, Sell As-Is to a Cash Buyer

There are many cash buyers in Kansas City, some newer at the process than others.  A Qualified Cash Buyer can bring this 6 month process down to about 30 days:

Day 1:  You Tell Cash Buyer About the House

Day 2:  Cash Buyer Walks Through Your House and Makes an Offer

Day 3:  You Accept Offer and Cash Buyer Sends to Title Company

Day 7:  Or really any day after Day 7 that you choose, the Closing Happens.

Because not all Cash Buyers are created equal there are a few things you should ask them before you accept any offer.  Click the big orange button to review those questions.

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