Let’s be honest, as a homeowner, selling your home can be stressful and inconvenient. So the goal is to ultimately get as many interested buyers to your property in the shortest amount of time, resulting in the highest purchase price and most net proceeds in your pocket. What you do BEFORE your home even hits the market can really help set you up for a successful and profitable sale.
Fix the Small Stuff
If you have broken fixtures, loose handles, squeaky doors, holes in the wall, etc, now is the time to fix them before you risk losing a potential buyer. Even if they appear minor to you, if there are obvious small things wrong in the home, buyers often wonder what bigger problems are lurking. You do not want to have any unnecessary doubt or fear, so take care of this now.
2. Small Improvements
If you don’t have the budget (or time) to fully update your home, adding a few small changes can make your home more appealing to buyers. This could be modernizing cabinet knobs, updating light fixtures, re-grouting/re-caulking bathrooms, replacing ripped screens, painting your front door, or even replacing burned out light bulbs. Take a walk through your home and try to look at everything objectively, room by room. What can you fix or make look a little better?
3. Curb Appeal
Aside from the kitchen and bathrooms, your curb appeal is just as important to a buyer. This is the first thing a potential buyer sees and it’s important to create a welcoming, clutter-free first impression. Things to spruce up your home’s outer appearance could be painting your front door a statement color to make it pop (complimenting your home’s existing color), upgrading your house numbers, a new welcome mat, adding mulch, planting flowers, updating light figures, or pressure washing your driveway. This also means cleaning up any debris or clutter and keeping your grass mowed. If it snows, be sure to make sure your driveway and all walkways are shoveled at all times.
Did you know that having good curb appeal can increase your sales price by 3-5%?
4. Repaint Walls
If needed, repainting the inside of your home can give it a nice face lift and brighten up your home’s initial appearance. This can be a worthwhile, minimal investment. Be sure to choose colors that will appeal to the most amount of people, i.e., keep it neutral.
5. Hire a Skilled Real Estate Agent
For a successful sale of your home, it will be imperative to hire an agent who will help you get the best price in the shortest amount of time while offering guidance on how to achieve that. One of the many services I include is doing a walk-through of my client’s home to offer recommendations and staging advice to get their home photo-ready for our professional photographer. I pride myself in going above and beyond for my clients. To read more about what sets me apart from other agents, click here.
6. Deep Clean
Clean, clean, and clean some more. Buyers like to feel like a home is well cared for and looks (and smells) clean. If you have carpets, I would have them cleaned. If your carpets are in rough shape, consider replacing them with an inexpensive, neutral color, or consider offering a buyer a carpet allowance. Don’t forget to clean out your fridge, your oven, your sinks, tub/shower, etc.
7. Declutter Your Home
This is often the hardest step for most sellers because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. Clutter has this funny way of accumulating that may not be evident to the homeowner. But buyers want to make sure they have room for all of their “stuff.” If everything is cluttered, it makes the spaces appear small. In addition to removing the obvious clutter in every room, it is equally important to clean out areas that you don’t see initially, as buyers are going to look in your cabinets and open all of your closets. Another crucial step is to take everything off your kitchen and bathroom counters, except maybe a plant or flowers. It may seem inconvenient at first, but keeping your space minimal will make your home sell faster, trust me. This includes your toaster. Put it in a cabinet until you need it, and then put it back when you’re done. You also don’t want your cabinets jammed packed either. Again, buyers are trying to picture themselves living there and want to make sure they can fit their belongings. Extra muffin pans, baking dishes, blenders - anything you don’t immediately need, put it in a box (and keep reading below). Do this with every drawer and cabinet in the house. Your goal is to make room.
8. Clean Out Closets
This ties in with the above, but cleaning out your closets creates more space and makes them appear larger and less overwhelming.
9. Depersonalize Your Home
As much as you love the way your home makes you feel with your personal belongings, buyers need to feel like they can see themselves living there. The more personal your space, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves in it. This includes all family photos, travel keepsakes, nick knacks, religious or political things, trophies, and all other personal items.
10. Start Packing
You are going to have to do it anyway, so why not start now? By packing up anything you’re not using, it will automatically help declutter your home and open up space. Where are you going to put all these boxes you ask? Storing them in the garage is acceptable at the very least, but an off-site storage unit is optimal, which brings me to my next point.
11. Get a Storage Unit
This is the perfect place to store everything you don’t “need.” Many storage units even offer a first month free. So if you have an agent that sells homes quickly, such as myself, that is a win-win. It is also important to only keep a tasteful amount of furniture in your home so buyers can visualize how their stuff will fit. Any extra pieces that may make a room feel small or crammed would be a great addition to your storage unit.
12. Remove Your Personal Belongings
Let’s be real. I like to think that most people are stand-up individuals, but strangers are going to be walking through your entire house and opening up your cabinets. A good rule of thumb is if you will cry if it went missing, remove it from your home or lock it in a safe. This includes hiding your prescription medicine.