After looking at possible residences to buy over the last month, it astounds me how many homeowners just do not prepare their home to sale.
Don’t people realize that I don’t want to see all of their junk? Don’t they realize clutter makes their house look darker and smaller?
If you appreciate the importance of putting your best foot forward, here are a few things we did to prepare our property for sale.
7 Things to Do to Prepare Your Home for Sale
1. Clear the clutter
Decluttering is one of the first things you should do when selling a property! We went through every room in our house and removed anything that wasn’t absolutely required. In a couple rooms, we had a huge desk and some other large furniture that we sold and donated to Goodwill.
We went through closets and removed a majority of our clothes and shoes – if we weren’t going to keep them we sold them in our garage sale. We removed towels and blankets from our linen closets that we wouldn’t be using, boxed them up, and moved them to the attic.
We took down all of our personal photos from the house. Homebuyers do not want to go into a property and see all of your personal items, according to any decent broker. It’s pretty psychological, but when a potential buyer enters into a property and there are a slew of personal stuff around, they frequently get the impression that they’re violating someone’s privacy and are unable to image themselves living in that place.
I often relate looking at new houses to visiting a new hotel. I don’t know about you, but I love walking into a room in a nice hotel the first night that I get there. It feels so clean and fresh. Everything is neat and orderly.
There are no photographs, dog toys, or children’s toys in the house. It simply feels warm and inviting.
Isn’t that how you want visitors to feel when they enter your home?
The more you declutter the larger your house looks and the more the potential buyer will be enable to envision themselves in “your” home.
2. Clean all of the walls and baseboards.
If you have children or pets, your walls are likely to have marks, slobber, or hair that has adhered to them. Furthermore, it’s probable that your walls have accumulated dust over the years that you’re not aware of. It may sound strange, but dust your walls before wiping down the whole interior of your home with a damp washcloth.
3. Paint – Touch Up All Walls, Doors, Door Frames, Decks, and Baseboards
This is a rather basic step that you may have previously considered, but it is nevertheless important. Spend some time patching any holes with Spackle and then painting over them. Inspect your doors to see whether grime or hand prints have accumulated from not using the doorknobs over the years.
Touching up all of the wood trim and crown moulding that we have throughout the bulk of our house was another step that really helped brighten up the appearance of our interior. We discovered an amazing product called Restor-A-Finish, which practically made all of the scratches and fading on our trim and cabinets vanish! We had never heard of it before, but it was recommended to us by the interior designer we hired, and it worked well!
4. Improve the Curb Appeal
This is another common recommendation you hear when selling your house, but don’t underestimate the importance of this step!
I’m pretty anal with the outward appearance of our home. I’m not sure why, but I enjoy having a freshly manicured lawn. We have a 5-step yearly fertilizing and weed-prevention program that we follow and despite the lack of rain lately our grass is the nicest on the block!
Having said that, if you have a yard with dead areas and/or a lot of weeds, I’d recommend laying down some seed, fertilising, and working on weed control a few months before selling the house. Then, perhaps, by the time you’re ready to sell your home, your grass will be in good shape!
A first impression is crucial, and I shudder every time I look at images of a house we’re thinking about buying and see a neglected yard. ‘If these folks don’t take care of their yard, how well have they taken care of the rest of their house?’ I often wonder.
If you’ve ever seen any of the fantastic shows on HDTV, you’ll know that planting flowers also plays a significant role in curb appeal.
5. Declutter again – Kid Style
While my wife and I do not have children, almost EVERYONE I KNOW DOES. Anyone who has ever been around a household with children knows that toys pile…and pile…and pile up. I know families that have WHOLE ROOMS devoted to all of their children’s toys, many of which are seldom, if ever, utilised!
The best advice I received from a couple selling their home was to give each of their children one huge box. The children were expected to sift through ALL of their toys, and they were allowed to retain whatever was most important to them…as long as it fit in that box, of course.
Whatever was left was sold at a garage sale and donated to Goodwill.
While this may appear cruel, the catch was that the parents handed the earnings to their children so that they could buy new toys once the house was sold and they were relocated.
6. Air Out the House
One of our major concerns was keeping our house from smelling like DOG. After you’ve cleaned the house, leave the windows open for a few days to allow everything to air out. We also used some of the Airwick Scented Oil plugins, which significantly helped eliminate/mask any lingering scents.
We even had a few individuals come into our house simply to see whether they could detect the presence of a pet.
We sailed through with flying colors.
Even if you don’t have a pet, this step is still necessary. Make sure your place smells good, but don’t go overboard. You don’t want somebody fainting out or having a headache because you went excessive with the room fresheners!
Those oil plugins are powerful!
7. Consider Hiring a Professional
The BEST piece of advise my wife and I received was to hire a professional interior designer and stager to come look at our property as we were preparing it to sale. While this may appear to be costly, we found it to be fairly reasonable: she only paid us $60 to come out and stay for around 1.5 hours!
We were able to acquire an unbiased expert perspective on our curb appeal, furniture arrangement, and decorations. To put things nicely, some people out there have particular tastes and often have things in their home that they think are “nice” or cool. However, you’re certainly biased and you’re trying make your house appear warm and welcoming to the masses (not to you).
After looking at hundreds of homes over the past few months, there is a noticeable difference in the sellers that took time to get their house ready to sell and the ones that just threw it up on the market. Some just scream that they had no idea of what to do when selling a home.
If you want to ensure your house sells as quickly as it’s able and for the highest possible price, then take a few weeks and follow these 7 steps. It may take a little bit of time, but it will certainly be worth it.