You’re not selling your home
Congratulations! You are happy in your home and not planning on making a move. I don’t blame you; moving can be a hassle. That said, we all know (hello COVID?) that we can’t predict the future and, sometimes, the best laid plans change. As the Boy Scouts say: Be Prepared.
Preparing to sell when you aren’t selling
Obviously, my advice in this circumstance will stick to no-cost or very, very low-cost activities. Outside of the normal maintenance or remodeling you would do for your own benefit, under the assumption of remaining in your home, you don’t want to spend money on an unlikely eventuality of selling. I get it. So what can/should you do?
Take pictures of your yard at its best.
- Got a pool? Take pictures of it when it’s open (and clean!) during the warmer months.
- If you have any flowering trees, shrubs or perennials, photograph your property when they are in bloom. Be sure to take some shots of what the home looks like from the curb, too. Landscaping can make all the difference in a buyer’s first impression, so, even if it won’t look like that if you end up listing in January, at least a buyer can see the potential.
- Patio? Deck? Porch? You won’t see them under a blanket of snow, so take some shots when those outdoor entertaining spaces are looking good.
- Outdoor kitchens are very popular–if you have one, make sure you have the pictures to prove it!
- Gazebos or any other outdoor structures can elevate the backyard into an oasis and differentiate it from other properties. Snap some pictures when the weather allows you to show them off to their best advantage.
Keep track of repairs
Buyers are interested in knowing how systems (like heaters and air conditioning ) have been maintained and when they were installed. They feel more confident that the home has been well-cared for when the seller can provide documentation. So if you replace your roof, keep the receipts. If you upgrade the electric service, don’t lose the paperwork. If you do ever list your house, I recommend you prepare a sheet listing the improvements/repairs along with the dates and the cost. (When you can demonstrate how much you’ve spent, it can help justify your list price.)
Clean out your closets
Whether you’re selling or not, it’s wise to clean out your closets every so often. First of all, you discover things you might want to wear or use that you’d forgotten about. Second, by giving things away, you clear out space which makes it easier to find things, opens up additional storage and (in the event you do decide to sell) makes the closets neater. Finally, giving things away that you no longer use is always a good thing to do. Someone else will be very glad to have those items.
Keep a home repair list
Disclaimer: I’m not saying you have to address any of the things on the list. However, it’s not a bad plan to have a running list of repairs or “areas of concern” in your house and on your property. Your home is an asset, but will lose value if not maintained. So this list is not just for the eventuality of a move. Once you identify the potential projects, you can determine where (if anywhere) you want to put your money and effort. Making a list of them may also help you budget for repairs so you aren’t blindsided with lots of things that break at the same time. Noting when systems (roof, windows, appliances, heat, a/c, etc.) are nearing the end of their useful life spans can reduce unpleasant surprises.
So plan to stay put!
As I said at the beginning of this post, planning to remain in your home is a wonderful thing. Being prepared for unexpected (and often uncontrollable) changes in the plan is also smart. The good news is that you can do both at the same time. So, plan to stay; prepare to sell.