Thinking about putting your house on the market but not sure what to do to prepare your home? Then you’re in the right place! A quick Google search will give you hundreds of articles and websites with advice on how to prepare your house for the market. It’s definitely not rocket science, yet there are some things that people don’t think about when preparing their house for sale. Although there’s no golden ticket that guarantees a quick sale for maximum price, hopefully I’ll be able to pass along a nugget or two from my years of experience that will help you get ready to sell your home.
It’s a daunting task, no doubt, to even begin thinking about putting your home on the market. I always tell clients that you have to think of it as transitioning from being a home owner to home seller while your house is on the market. Yes, you still live there (unless you move out before your home is sold), but most of the time you have to modify the way you live in your home. For example, if your habit is to leave the day’s dirty dishes in the sink or in the dishwasher until after dinner, you may want to re-think that habit and put dirty dishes in the sink and run the dishwasher, then empty it promptly! Maybe you have a habit of leaving laundry on the bedroom floor or by the washing machine. Again, you’ll be better off if you wash, dry, and put them away promptly! If you’re not used to consistently cleaning and/or putting things away, it will definitely be an adjustment. However, giving attention to the details of your home’s appearance will pay big rewards!
It’s in your best interest to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and look at your home with an objective eye as much as possible. Try to imagine walking into your home as a buyer. What would you see? What would your impression be? A clean home not only makes a good first impression, but puts the buyer at ease as they tour your home. They leave with the impression that if the seller has kept the home clean and well-maintained, then they have likely addressed any issues that have come up during their ownership.
That brings me to my next point. Are there any nagging issues that you keep telling yourself you’ll get to? Does the kitchen or bathroom sinks drip or have leaks? Do the toilets flush properly? Does the roof leak? Are there stains in the carpet? Are the appliances working normally? When was the last time the oven was cleaned? Is any of the outside trim rotting or in need of paint? There are a lot of things to consider when preparing to market your home. Walking around the outside and inside of your home while seeing it through the eyes of a buyer, will help you recognize what needs to be addressed.
8 Things to do Before Listing Your Home
Make repairs ahead of listing your home. Making minor repairs and updates will get you a better return on your investment than doing major projects. A long list of repairs often turns off potential buyers. Do as many repairs as you can yourself and hire a professional to do the rest. Just a note here, waiting to do repairs after the home inspection will require licensed contractors so if there’s something you can repair correctly now, do it before you list the house.
Clean and tidy up! Thoroughly cleaning and tidying up the inside and outside of your house will pay off with a higher sales price, potentially competing bids, and shorter time on the market. Sparkling kitchen and bathrooms make the most impact along with shiny floors and vacuumed carpets. Remember to clean up the yards, decks, and porches; consider power washing the deck, siding, and porch. Fresh flowers inside and out welcome buyers.
Let your light shine. Make the most of the light in your home. Clean drapes or consider replacing heavy drapes with shear curtains. Clean windows, change lampshades, increase light bulb wattage, and consider turning on lights, open shades, blinds, and curtains to let in more natural light for showings.
Clean out the closets. Storage space is a premium asset. Reduce your closets by half and organize what’s left. You’re moving, so go ahead and begin packing items you don’t use regularly!
Depersonalize your home. The less personal items you have in your home, the more a buyer will visualize themselves living in it. Put a third of your things in storage including
family photos, memorabilia collections, and keepsakes. Think about it — you’ll be ahead of the game when you accept an offer and you’ve already packed up lots of stuff! Also, consider having your home professionally staged to maximize it’s full potential.
Care and plan for your fur-babies. Our pets are family members but unfortunately, not all buyers see them that way. Buyers don’t want to see pet food, litter boxes, or find fur on their clothing after they leave your house. Also, have a strategy for your fur-babies during showings and open houses for the safety and comfort of your pets and the buyers.
Small touches that make a big impact. Replace worn or outdated doorknobs, cabinet hardware, switch plates and light fixtures. Buy new towels for the bathrooms (keep the ones you use regularly out of sight), and replace old shower curtains with updated new curtains and liners.
You only get one chance to make a great first impression. I’ve had buyers decide not to even go inside a house once we got there because of the condition or look of the outside. You can typically get a 100% return on the money you put towards curb appeal. Spruce up the exterior with fresh flowers, trimmed bushes, clean walkways, and a new welcome mat. Pay attention to your entryway too. Replace your coats and keys with an uncluttered table with fresh flowers.
If you’re still wanting more tips about getting your house ready to sell, read this article about 10 best kept secrets here!
Consider doing these low-cost upgrades to your home:
- Install a new mailbox
- Upgrade outdoor lighting
- Replace old doormats
- Plant annual flowers
- Buy new pillows for sofas
- Display lightly scented potpourri or candles
- Replace torn window screens
- Polish or replace your old address plaque
- Fix or replace leaky or outdated faucets
- Buy organizational systems to reduce clutter
- Re-caulk sinks and bathtubs
- Place centerpieces on large counters and tables
The right touches and improvements can excite buyers. Showcasing your home’s finest features and presenting them in the best light possible will optimize your home’s time on the market.
Joyce Wilson | RE/MAX Regency | Warrenton VA | Licensed in VA