Get Your Home Ready to Sell
Hire A Realtor
Before you begin to “ready your home for the sale”, find a good realtor that understands your needs, is a good listener and provides value. A good realtor can visit your home, give you tips on what to spend, and what not to spend, your money on to get your home ready. A good realtor is patient and won’t rush you to put your home on the market but will offer guidance. support and feedback until you are ready.
Do you have repair projects you’ve been putting off? Now is the time to cross them off the to-do list. Spend a weekend fixing the leaky faucet, repairing the broken fence or patching holes. Bigger repairs will require calling specialized repairmen, a good realtor will have some recommendations. Have the HVAC, hot water heater and auto sprinklers serviced and repaired, if needed. The roof should be inspected too. If you don’t do these repairs before it’s listed, the buyer's inspector will catch these needed repairs when it’s under contract. It might end up costing you more because it will need to be completed as discussed during negotiations.
Declutter: Keep, Store, Toss or Donate!
Go room by room and either keep, toss, store or donate. Eliminate unnecessary furniture, decorations and knick-knacks taking up valuable wall, counter and floor space. Remember, buyers will be there to see your home…. not the furniture and decor. Too much furniture makes a room feel cramped, small and claustrophobic. Less is more. Avoid the temptation to cram things in closets and drawers — buyers look for homes with ample storage space, and full closets and drawers can make it look like your home doesn’t have enough room. Aim to only use about 50% of your available closet, cabinet and drawer space. Clean out the pantry, kitchen cabinets and organize the kitchen bath drawers and linen closets. Get a small storage unit or consider placing a pod outside your home to load a little at a time.
Take the Home Out of Your House
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of half of your stuff – put it in storage, sell it or toss it. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections, trophies and personal keepsakes. Have your Realtor or friend help “stage” your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.
Clean, clean, clean and then clean some more! This includes walls, floors, inside closets and cabinets, clean windows inside and out and remove window screens, disinfect bathrooms and polish floors and kitchen appliances. Get on your hands and knees and clean hard flooring, all floor corners and baseboards – everything. If you must, hire a cleaning service to come in and do the job. Have your carpet professionally cleaned. Once listed, you’ll need to maintain the clean. Don’t pack cleaning products in boxes yet, but make sure you can easily tuck them away, out of sight, after you’ve used them each time.
Painting a home’s interior is one of the most common pre-listing tasks. When painting to sell, it’s best to choose a light neutral tone. Light Gray is the most popular these days. Freshening up the baseboard paint makes a big difference too. It makes it look cleaner.
Create Curb Appeal
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers see, both online and in person. Poor curb appeal can even cause a potential buyer to decide it’s not worth coming inside. Improving curb appeal can be as easy as planting some inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers, edging the lawn, painting the front door, changing outdated hardware or light fixtures, and adding accent lighting. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal.
Light it Up!
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good lighting is the one thing that many buyers want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, remove window screens, buy new light fixtures and lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Remove old and outdated ceiling fans and light fixtures and replace with stylish fixtures. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.
Conceal the Critters
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. Consider sending the pets to Grandma’s house while the home is listed.
Kitchen & Bath Are the Most Important Rooms
You’re not actually selling your house; you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. If you must remodel, the kitchen should be it. You’ll probably get 85% of your money back when you remodel kitchen & bath. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen & bath updates include painting walls & cabinets, new lighting and new cabinet & drawer hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance, they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.
Always Be Ready to Show
Your house needs to be "show-ready" at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. Don’t leave dishes in the sink or food on the counter; keep the dishwasher cleaned out, clean the countertops, no clothes on the floor, beds made, keep the sinks clean, towels neat, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.
Checklist of Items To-Do
ð Edge, mow and fertilize the lawn regularly. Make sure it’s well watered and reseed any sparse areas.
ð Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly
ð Buy a new welcome mat.
ð Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling, and reseal if possible.
ð power-wash exterior of the home and consider having it painted if there’s is any fading or peeling.
ð Make sure the porch light works.
ð Clean and align gutters and downspouts.
ð Inspect and clean the chimney.
ð If the doorbell doesn’t work, repair or replace it.
ð Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
ð Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
ð Remove oil stains from driveway and garage.
ð Keep walkways, sidewalks and driveway swept.
ð Repair broken outdoor steps, patio and decking
ð Spring for some brightly colored flowers and inexpensive shrubs for the front yard near the entrance.
ð Wash the windows inside and out. Remove window screens
ð Store RVs, boats and extra vehicles elsewhere while the house is on the market.
ð Paint the front door a fresh, new, popular shade.
ð Get rid of clutter. Put away appliances you normally leave on countertops. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Clean out your pantry, closets and storage cabinets.
ð Paint the walls and ceilings a neutral color – off white, light gray or beige.
ð Repair cracks, holes and damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
ð Replace broken windowpanes, crown moldings, baseboards and other woodwork.
ð Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
ð Buy new cabinet and drawer hardware
ð Steam clean all carpet, scrub and wax linoleum, wash and polish wood floors.
ð Unclog slowly draining sinks and tubs.
ð Clean out the fireplace and lay new logs.
ð Check to see that all windows will open, close and lock.
ð Ensure all doors will open, close and lock properly (including cabinets). Lubricate squeaking doors.
ð Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use brighter light bulbs.
ð Make sure every light switch works.
ð Remove excess, worn or unattractive furniture
ð Thoroughly clean the refrigerator, oven and microwave
ð Replace old toilet seats and shower curtains.
ð Clear all cobwebs from corners and doorways
ð Wash all light switches, handrails and doorknobs.
ð Keep draperies and shades open to let in the light.
ð Place fresh flowers throughout the house.
ð Have your home well-lit during showing.
ð At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.
ð Set out white, luxurious towels in the bathroom.
ð Avoid having dirty dishes in the sink or on counters
ð Keep any toys in the children’s rooms, bikes, wagons and skateboards in the garage.
ð Leave pets with a neighbor or at grandma’s house.