Before putting your home on the market, it is important to get your house ready to sell. (After putting your house on the market, we’ll give you some tips for keeping your house sparkling for showings. That will be part two.) Run down this list of items to prepare your home for the market, and make sure each item is completed before the official listing date.
Disassociate Yourself with Your Home
Take on the attitude now that this home will not be yours for much longer. Look toward the future!
Put away your personal items now (picture frames, family heirlooms, etc.). You want buyers to imagine themselves in the house, and it is difficult to do that if your personal items are in the way.
Now is a great time to get rid of items that you haven’t used in at least a year! Pack up your knick-knacks, books, and clear surfaces like the kitchen counters and dressers. (This is a great way to get a head start on packing, too!)
Organize Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets
People love to snoop, and buyers walking through your home have a right to open cabinet and closet doors. When your closets and cabinets are organized, it will be much easier for the buyer to envision his/her items in those spaces.
Rent a Storage Unit
Most homes show better with less furniture. Clear walkways and high traffic areas, and put mismatched furniture in storage. If you’ve cleared a bookshelf of all its books (as suggested above), put the bookshelf in storage. Removing leaves from dining room tables gives the illusion of more space. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room and its purpose, but keep in mind that clutter and rooms that feel cramped can distract buyers.
Remove and/or Replace Your Favorite Items
Taking down your favorite curtains or light fixtures and replacing them with others gives you an advantage. If a buyer walks through your home and sees something he/she wants, they can put a contingency in the contract. If they never see something that you may not be willing to give up, they won’t be able to put a contingency on it.
Make Minor Repairs
Re-caulk the bathtub, replace cracked floor or counter tiles, fix leaky faucets, repair cracks in the wall, touch up the paint where needed, fix doors that don’t close properly and drawers that stick, replace burned-out light bulbs, and if you’ve thought about replacing your worn bedspread, do so now!
Clean, Clean, Clean
Buyers want to see your home in its best possible condition, so make your house sparkle! Wash windows, clean out the refrigerator, get rid of those nasty cobwebs, wax floors, vacuum daily, pressure wash sidewalks, dust the entire house, polish chrome faucets and fixtures, and clean out any musty smelling areas. Bad odors are a no-no.
Small, but Important Details
Go through your house room by room and pay attention to the details. Bathrooms look great with fresh hand towels. Display a vase of fresh flowers in the dining room. Ensure that window coverings and wall frames are hanging level. Does each room have impact? Does it look like nobody lives there? Good! You’re almost finished!
Check Curb Appeal
Go outside and stand in front of the house. How does it look? If a buyer pulls up to your house and the outside looks disheveled (or even hideous), he/she may not even want to step inside. The curb appeal of your home is the first thing a buyer sees. Make it look desirable… like the buyer can’t live without it! Paint faded window trim, repair broken fencing, trim the hedges, mow the lawn, pull weeds, sweep sidewalks, plant yellow flowers in the beds (this is an appealing color to most people… think daffodils, marigolds, lilies). Make sure visitors can clearly see the house number.
For tips on keeping your house looking good for showings, read “Part Two!”