Get Your Home Ready for Sale in 5 Easy Steps
Remember the old adage "you get one chance for a first impression?" Well, it holds true for selling houses too. While your situation may beg to release the house to the open market as soon as possible, there are some important things to take care of first so that buyers are seeing your home at its best. (And if you would like some help, let me know. I have great locals contact for you to hire.)
1. START WITH THE OUTSIDE (CURB APPEAL)
Depending on the season, take a critical eye to the outside. Would your house like a nice powerwash or would it enjoy fresh paint? For most buyers, if they love the outside they'll like the inside and may even be ready to put in an offer. (Back to that "first impression" thing.) Trim the hedges and cut back bushes. The home inspector will tell your buyer that the bushes and trees need to be at least 18" from the house. Remember, creating curb appeal will add dollars to your house's selling price.
2. THE JOYS OF PACKING/STORAGE
You haven't even put your house on the market yet, but it is time to start packing! As you start this endeavor keep in mind that the more you pack away the less you'll need to keep clean.
And while I realize this may sound counter to the latest trends of HGTV wisdom, please don't make your house too sterile. While it is immaculate and "Good Housekeeping" ready, it is still your home. Buyers like to see pictures and signs that this is a happy home. Pictures of you and your family help to make that real.
3. CLEAN LIKE YOU'VE NEVER CLEANED BEFORE
There's day-to-day cleaning and there's "power cleaning" or spring cleaning. You need the latter. Once every nook is clean, look again. Did you get the drapes, blinds and windows - inside and out? Did the steam cleaner catch everything on the carpeting? If you can, even wipe out the cupboards. And you'll want to attack the oven/stovetop as well as under the beds and wiping down the walls and woodwork. Some Sellers even invite friends (really, really good friends) to help out or hire a service.
4. LET THERE BE LIGHT...
and lots of it! Buyers really want to see your home. Make sure every lightbulb is working and that you have as many lights as possible on a switch (for easy "on/off"). You've already cleaned the windows, so that'll let in more light too. Although the ambiance of quieter lights is great for living, you may want to exchange some bulbs for stronger ones in case of evening showings. (And if you happen to be home just before a showing, the Buyer's agent will LOVE it if you put the lights on for her just before you leave.)
5. AN INVITING HOME
Smells, Sounds, etc.
6. DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME & MONEY TO PAINT?
For some homes, it is also time to paint a room or two. Don't go crazy, but if a first floor room looks tired see if you can get it painted to freshen it up. And while some of you might be professional painters, many aren't and buyers can tell. Please hire a painter for your main living space. It'll be faster and it'll show well.
7. MINOR REPAIRS
In most homes, I find a bunch of "deferred maintenance" things the Sellers got used to and never quite got fixed. Maybe a door sticks, the siding slipped a little, the sink leaks, a handle is loose, a screen is ripped, or a mullion is broken (those cross pieces in the windows) . Get them fixed before your first showing and we'll all be happy. (Or if you'd like to just make a list, I can help you find a good "handyman" to take care of it*.)
*If you need ideas about how to come up with the money to clean, store, make repairs, etc., just let me know. I'll help you figure it out.
When you are done, you'll find that you're falling in love with your house all over again. (And you're right. It really IS a great house which was why you chose it in the first place.)