Once you make the decision to put your home on the market, it’s time to look at it as a buyer rather than the homeowner. First impressions are the real deal when it comes to selling your home. Getting your home ready for photographs (the very first thing people will see!) and showings are the first steps. Some choose professional staging, but this can get expensive and probably isn't necessary if you are living in the home. What you can do is take a thorough walkthrough of your home and look at it with the critical eye of a home buyer. Taking some time to do repairs, updates and cleaning can make the difference between selling your home quickly at the best possible price or it sitting on the market for months.
This step will benefit you not only during the home selling process but the moving process as well. Going through and tossing, selling or storing things you no longer need. Remember that just because you love the shelves full of dolls does not mean a potential buyer will. Clutter makes a home appear smaller so this is an important first step in getting your home ready. While it may be tedious going through everything you will be thankful come moving day.
- Exterior-remove excessive lawn ornaments and furniture. Simple is better to showcase a deck/patio and lawn area. Try to organize pet areas
- Closets/Cupboards- These are big ones to organize and sort through since they are where things often get hidden with the out of sight out of mind mentality. Buyers will be checking everywhere so de-clutter and organize
- Living areas-Less is more! Remove excess newspapers and magazine, get rid of extra furniture and clean out the bookshelves. Buyers need to be able to picture their own furniture in the space and that’s hard to do if it’s full of your stuff
- Kitchen-Clear the counters, remove magnets and photos from the refrigerator and tackle the junk drawer! These tips work for the bathrooms as well
- Laundry/Mud room- These rooms can end up with a lot of clutter, go through and toss what you don’t need it and organize what is left
- Garage- Another spot that can fill with odd and ends. Clean it out! You’ll thank yourself on moving day
Cleaning your home to sell is more than your average clean. You want to make your home smell and sparkle like never before.
- Exterior-Clean the window, sweep off the deck and wash the patio furniture. If it’s summer make sure you are on top of the landscaping and if it’s winter, keep the sidewalks and driveway clear of snow
- Floors-If you have carpet, a professional cleaning is the best way to deodorize and clean
- Walls, Windows, Light Fixtures-Give them all a good washing to make them shine!
- Kitchen-Clean appliances, organize and wash out cupboards, deodorize garbage areas and use a garbage disposal freshener to get rid of any old food smell
- Bathrooms-Clean and polish vanities and mirrors, remove mold and soap scum from sinks, tubs, and showers
- Pet areas-This is a big one! Just because you love Fido and Fluffy does not mean everyone will. One of the biggest turn-offs to home buyers are pet smells. Clean up the fur and use an odor neutralizer to help with any pesky pet smells
If there are any repairs you’ve had on your To-Do list for a while, now is the time to get them done.
- Exterior-Check doors, windows, and screens. Consider fresh paint and check siding and gutters. These are things buyers see before they even get through the front door
- Interior-Repair any leaky plumbing, faulty appliances, hinges, knobs, light fixtures, flooring, outlet covers and check walls for cracks or patches that may be necessary. Keep in mind that a fresh coat of paint is a small investment that can make the world of difference when trying to sell your home.
You want buyers to walk in and feel like it could be their own. This is difficult to do when your home is decorated to your specific taste. Remove some or all family photos, and bold artwork to neutralize the space. Keeping décor, paint and flooring simple is a good way to have a blank palette for buyers to picture their own items in the home. This doesn’t mean empty; a few pieces are necessary to keep the home cozy and warm. Anything to help buyers imagine living in your home.
GET READY FOR SHOWINGS
Once you have done a thorough cleaning and de-cluttering you should be ready for real estate photographs and listing your home. Before each showing a good cleaning will be necessary and picking up any kid or pet toys. Make sure there are no dishes in the sink or clothes on the floor. Do some extras like fresh flowers, decorative pillows on the couch and open the shades to the light in…bonus if it’s warm, open the windows for fresh air!
For our Getting Your Home Ready to Sell checklist, click here.