Get Your Home Ready To Sell

Real Estate

Get Your Home Ready To Sell

Preparing your home to sell is a key step in the selling process. A common mistake people make is to spend a lot of money – renovations, new roof, remodeling. While buyers will be impressed with these things, spending $5000 on remodeling will not add $5000 to your sale. Spend money on cosmetic, readily seen features and updates like interior painting and repairing things that need maintenance. The time to do a big remodel is when you plan to stay in the house, not when you’re going to sell. To prevent buyer inspection problems, some sellers choose to have their home pre-inspected.

If you think about everything that needs to be done to sell your house, you might throw your hands up in despair, or at least feel some anxiety. Take one step at a time, one small task at a time. Break it down to manageable-sized chores and you’ll have better results.

First things first – have a garage sale or donate all those things around your home that you haven't used in years or don't want to take with you when you move. Once the clutter is cleared away, it will be easier to see what needs to be done. *Note:  If you are making a big move, don't get rid of ALL your furniture! Ask your agent or home stager about which select items you should keep.

Start with a good first impression. Many buyers will drive by the home after seeing it online before scheduling a showing.

  •  Curb Appeal: Edge, mow and fertilize the lawn regularly. Make sure it’s well watered and reseed any sparse areas.
  •  Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly. Cut back overgrown shrubbery that looks scraggly or keeps light out of the house. 
  •  Put a fresh coat of paint on your mailbox.
  •  Paint the front door.
  •  Buy a new welcome mat.
  •  Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling, and reseal if possible.
  •  If you’re selling in the winter, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.Otherwise, keep the walks and driveway swept.
  •  If you have siding or brick, power-wash it. If you have a painted exterior, consider repainting in a neutral shade. This is especially important if there is any peeling.
  •  Make sure the porch light works.
  •  Clean and align gutters and downspouts.
  •  Inspect and clean the chimney.
  •  If the doorbell doesn’t work, repair or replace it.
  •  Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
  •  Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
  •  Remove oil stains from driveway and garage.
  •  Repair broken outdoor steps.
  •  Spring for some brightly colored potted outdoor flower arrangements for the front yard near the entrance.
  •  Keep your garage door closed.
  •  Wash the windows inside and out. Remove screens in the winter to allow more light through the windows.
  •  Store RVs, boats and extra vehicles (anything that can’t be parked in the garage) elsewhere while the house is on the market.

Get the inside of your home ready.

If prospective buyers walk into your house greeted by the smell of cat litter, cigarette smoke, mildew or pet accidents, there is little chance that even a reduced sales price will persuade them to buy. Buyers also TOUCH things. So the first thing to do:

  •  Clean, clean, clean! This includes walls, floors, inside closets and cabinets – everything. There is not shame in hiring a cleaning service to come in and do the job.
  •  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 closets, garage, basement and attic.
  •  Remove old/dated or broken window treatments.
  •  Repair cracks, holes and damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles. 
  •  Paint the walls and ceilings a neutral color – off white or beige.
  •  Update yellowed light switches, old thermostats and smoke detectors.
  •  Check to see that all windows will open and close.
  •  Mend torn screens. Clean out all window tracks.
  •  Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
  •  Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
  •  Buy updated cabinet knobs for the kitchen and bathroom.
  •  Shampoo all carpets, scrub and wax linoleum, wash and wax wood floors.
  •  Unclog slowly draining sinks and tubs.
  •  Clean out the fireplace and lay some logs in it.
  •  Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use brighter light bulbs.
  •  Make sure every light switch works.
  •  Nail down any creaking boards or stair treads (drive two long finishing nails at opposing angles through the floor and sub-floor into the joist).
  •  Lubricate any squeaking doors
  •  Remove excess, worn or unattractive furniture.
  •  Thoroughly clean all appliances (especially refrigerator, stovetop and oven).
  •  Replace old toilet seats and shower curtains.
  •  Clear all cobwebs from corners and doorways.
  •  Wash all light switches, handrails and doorknobs.
  •  Replace your furnace filter after stirring up all this dust!

On Photo Day and Showing Days:

This is your first impression, so it had better be a good one!

  •  Keep draperies and shades open to let in the light.
  •  Open a window or door to let in some fresh air if the home has been closed up or you have been cooking.
  •  Place fresh flowers throughout the house.
  •  Have your home well-lit during showing.
  •  At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.
  •  Set out matching, luxurious towels in the bathroom.
  •  Clean up - vacuum, clean up dirty dishes, make beds, put laundry away, etc.
  •  Keep any toys in the children’s rooms, bikes, wagons and skateboards in the garage.
  •  Play pleasant music at low volume. 
  •  Leave pets outdoors or take them with you.
  •  Spend the day of an open house away from home.
  •  Let the showing agent show your house and don’t tag along.

Yes, the list looks long but you can do it! If you struggle with this list, ask your agent about housekeepers, pet sitters, maintenance people and other resources to help you showcase your home in the best possible light!