As we’ve been preparing our home for sale, I’ve tried to determine the “essential” items to deal with. I thought I’d pass along what we have learned. Doing these things will set you apart from your competition and possibly make your home sell more quickly. At least that’s the goal. Ask a trusted friend to give a fresh eye to your property. I was blind to dirt in places I “tuned out”.
- Fix anything that isn’t working the way it should or appears to be damaged. Check for sticky or broken windows and doors, torn screens, wall damage, floor damage-(we ended up getting our carpet re-stretched), light switches, leaky plumbing, caulking around bathtubs and showers, heating and air issues, service your appliances that will be staying with the house if needed.
- Clean, clean, clean. Make your house sparkle. Clean your carpets and windows, scrub your floors. Now is the time to do deep cleaning.
- Deodorize-remove anything smelly. Since we become use to the smells we are around, we might not be able to detect an objectionable odor. A few too many stinky basketball shoes are a culprit in my house. Ask someone who doesn’t live with you how your house smells when they walk in the door. I love Febreeze and spray it on anything not practical to wash. It helps after having sweaty boys plop down on the sofa.
- Simplify any collections and decorative accessories and begin packing them away. You want potential buyers to see your house-not your stuff. Keep out only a few things to make your house feel lived in. It is better to error on the side of too little than too much.
- Pack away the majority of your personal pictures. I don’t like to remove everyone, because I think it shows a potential buyer that our family has enjoyed our home, but don’t have out so many that they can’t imagine their family living there.
- Keep horizontal surfaces as clear as possible. It makes rooms feel bigger.
- Clean and de-clutter every closet and cabinet that will stay with the house. Buyers WILL look in them. You want to make them look amply big. Start packing stuff you can live without.
- Make sure every light fixture has a working light bulb. Light makes rooms feel larger. A burned out light bulb might imply other areas of neglect.
- Touch up woodwork and paint. Wood tones can be easily touched up by using a stain similar in color to your existing wood. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match.
- Wash or paint the exterior of your house-make sure it makes a good first impression.
- Weed garden areas and trim shrubs.
Here is a picture of my front closet and one of my kitchen cabinets. They don’t normally look this nice. I removed a lot of things to make them feel spacious.
Keeping them this neat will be its own challenge!
Some of the non-visual things can be moved lower on the priority list so that you can get your house on the market more quickly. Plan to work on those items as you are marketing your house. If you think it will be an issue on a home inspection item, chances are your buyer will find it. Save yourself the hassle of putting it off. Just deal with it if you want top dollar for your house.