When You Need to Prepare Your House for Sale Quickly

Preparing a house for sale quickly

One of my cousins moved overseas to Australia several years ago with her husband and young daughter. They set about building an exciting new family life which included building their own home.

Sadly, as is all too often the case these days, their marriage broke down. And as if that wasn't bad enough, just recently their daughter was diagnosed with a serious illness. Star has decided that she needs family support to help her look after her daughter, so she's selling the house and hopes to move home in less than two months.

Star probably won't have the opportunity to earn much of an income over the next six to twelve months, and facing the prospect of large medical bills she needs to get as good a price for the house as possible with no time available for any kind of major project to try to increase its value. This means she has to find the most efficient ways to prepare the property, both in terms of time and money.

We set about brain-storming some ideas on what could be done and I'm going to list some of the better ones here in the hope that they're useful to other people. She won't have to do all these things on her own because she has a wonderful group of friends who are helping.

Cleaning the Exterior

A paint job is out of the question, but she should be able to give the house a bit of a sparkle with minimum cost. She has a friend with a pressure washer so that will help a lot. This will include cleaning the brick walls, eaves, window casings, and also the driveway and front path.

Packing Away Clutter

Although there will be quite a lot of cleaning done inside, firstly it makes sense to reduce the clutter and get as many things out of the way as possible. A lot of hard decisions will be involved in what to keep, what to donate to charity, and what to pack to be shipped back home. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven't used something in the last 12 months then you probably don't need it.

Other than some of their clothing and bedding, the only things not being packed up are the main furniture, some of the decor, and kitchen appliances and utilities. We feel it's important to have just enough on display to make the interior look 'homely' for potential buyers while ensuring they can move out as quickly as possible once a sale is made or at least the house is under contract.

Cleaning Inside

As anyone who's done a final clean before moving out will know, this can be quite a big task. So to make it easier Star is going to hire cleaners who specialize in 'End of Lease' work. Although you generally associate this type of service with leaving a rental property, we feel this degree of thoroughness will make a huge difference and reduce her workload. The cleaners will be taking care of all furniture, the curtains, and all surfaces including the carpet, walls and even the ceiling.

Landscaping

Actually that's probably too strong a word, but a landscaping friend is going to help tidy up the front garden just by doing a few simple things such as pruning the trees and shrubs, mowing the lawn and trimming the edges, weeding the garden, as well as planting a few low cost flowers - it's currently summer there so that should work out well.

Then only basic lawn mowing should be needed to maintain the look over the next few weeks.

Painting

While a full scale house paint is impractical given the circumstances, she'll probably do a little bit of touch-up painting - this will mostly involve the doors and their frames which have become a little scuffed up over the years. She's also probably going to repaint the entire front door - that's as far as painting will go, but it should make a big difference in appearance.

Professional Advice

She's also going to get a sales agent to come in next week to make sure this plan makes sense, and also to see what other things the agent suggests - I'll update this if there's any new advice from the professional.

BTW - although they don't appear to have this kind of service in Australia, there are special services that will also help you obtain a quick sale for you house such as HomeVestors in the United States and House Buyer Bureau in the UK. Obviously a quick sale doesn't give you time to maximize your selling price, but with the preparation ideas above you should fare better than you otherwise would.

If you have any other ideas that you think would help quickly prepare for a sale, please mention them on Twitter.

You might also like to read:
Expert Advice on Preparing Your House for Sale
The Pros And Cons Of A Short Sale
Tips For Remodeling A Bathroom On A Budget
Remodeling - Does it Make Financial Sense, And Does it Need To?