Preparing to sell your home is no easy feat. Obviously, you want it to be in the best shape possible when potential buyers visit, but if you’re still living in it at the time you’ll have your work cut out for you (especially if you have kids!). Not only that, but it might also be difficult to begin the emotional process of “letting go” of the place you’ve called home for so long, knowing that, in the near future, it’ll belong to a whole new family. However, it’s important to be prepared in every way when putting your house on the market in order to get the best price possible, so your family is able to find a new place to live and start making new memories right away.
Get your house ready for sale by:
1. Cleaning up
While preparing your house for the market, you’re going to redefine the phrase “spring cleaning.” First of all, focus on getting rid of all the clutter throughout the house. Consider holding a garage sale to get rid of everything you don’t absolutely need, while finding an out-of-the-way spot for everything you end up keeping.
De-cluttering is only the beginning. After you’ve made it possible to walk through your house without tripping over shoes or toys, you need to dust, scrub, and polish every visible surface as best you can. Take a walkthrough of your home as if you’re seeing it for the first time. You’ll realize there are a bunch of areas that need touching up that you hadn’t really worried about for some time. However, potential buyers will notice them right away if you leave them untouched.
2. Airing it out
It’s pretty easy to get used to certain smells, especially if you live with them in your home. If you’re a smoker, you absolutely need to take the time to air your home out as best you can. You might not notice the smell, but potential buyers who don’t smoke will take one step in and immediately turn around and walk out. Even the smell of food can be a turn-off (think of the ever-present smell of burnt leftovers in your office break room). No matter what the commercials will lead you to believe, scented sprays don’t eliminate odors – they just mask them. Go with an odor neutralizer instead. It will actually remove any smells throughout your home, but doesn’t overpower potential buyers’ noses with lemony freshness.
I mentioned before that you’ll want to take a look at your house as if you’re seeing it for the first time. While doing so, you’ll almost certainly come across some dings and scratches in the walls that you either never noticed before or didn’t care much about at the time. However, the people you show the house to will chalk these imperfections up in the “con” side when weighing their options. Knowing this, you should invest some time and money into repainting every wall in the house. Choose a neutral color that’s not too loud or outlandish, such as white, off white, or tan. You want potential buyers to focus on the actual rooms, not the color of the walls.
4. Setting up outdoor area
It should go without saying that, in addition to keeping your house clean, you need to maintain your lawn as well when trying to sell your house. Make sure your lawn is nicely trimmed, leaves are raked, and gardens are freshly watered. Stash away your lawn equipment in your tool shed or basement, and make sure your children’s toys are neatly put away rather than strewn about across your backyard. Although you want your yard to be clear of clutter, you should make its usefulness obvious to potential buyers. Arrange your outdoor furniture in such a way to showcase the livability of your yard in different seasons. Even though your clients will be free to do what they want with it, it’ll help them see the purpose of the outdoor area of the property.
5. Stashing away personal items
Like I mentioned before, some parts of the process will be emotionally difficult, but they need to be done. Even though you’re still living in the house, you need to accept that it will soon no longer be your home. Fancy statues, paintings, personal pictures, and other decor should be put into storage for the time being. However, feel free to keep any “neutral” decor, such as landscape pictures, where they were. You want to show potential buyers that there is room for such decor, but ultimately allow their imagination to run free with what they could do with the space they’re given.
6. Showcasing each room’s purpose
Going along with the last point, you don’t want to completely empty out the house while showing it to your clients, but you still don’t want it to appear as if you still “own” it. You want them to see how specific furniture will fit in each room to give them a good estimate of space, and you also want to suggest how each room could be used (as a study, office, bedroom, etc.). Again, since the decision will ultimately be up to them, you want to keep this furniture as generic as possible. Picture the setup of a furniture store: you know nobody lives there, but you can definitely picture yourself making yourself right at home.
Featured photo credit: Pool table 1 / The Keller Home Selling Team via farm6.staticflickr.com