Planning to sell your home this year? You’re probably feeling both anxious and excited about it. After all, it is where you’ve spent wonderful years building your family and your dreams, all of which bear unforgettable memories. But if you’ve already come up with the painful decision to list your house in the market, you need to set aside a couple of weekends to prepare it. Your main goal now is to make a good impression on potential buyers to increase your chances of receiving a solid offer and selling your home fast.
MUST-DO #1. Declutter, de-personalize, and clean the house.
“Because first impressions mean a lot…”
Cleaning and sprucing up your home shouldn’t be underestimated if you want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar. You’d want buyers to turn up and see the home, not just to drive past it. You can ensure they’ll do by accomplishing these tasks:
If you’re still having a hard time starting on the task, just think of it as a head start on the packing you’ll eventually have to do when you move. Purge your belongings and storage spaces of unwanted and unnecessary items. If you don’t want certain things to be thrown away, consider donating them to charity or community groups so they can be of use to others. A garage sale is also a good idea if you need some cash.
Decluttering will make sure that when buyers visit your home, they will be able to focus on its features instead of seeing all the junk and knickknacks. Clean and organized closets, cabinets, and drawers are good signals for buyers who will be checking every storage space available.
De-personalize the space
Indeed, letting go can be very difficult. You’ve spent years living in your home, only to have your belongings packed away in a day. But once you decide to sell your home, you have to make that emotional break. You need to disassociate yourself with the home and think of it as a product that you need to sell, no matter how difficult it is. Remove family photos, photo albums, personal belongings, and any distractions. Your goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in it and make them feel like they belong to the house. Let them imagine hanging their own photos on the walls and decorating it however they want. Just leave a few nice, framed photos around the home that will make it appear inviting.
Likewise, if you want to take certain fixtures and built-in appliances with you, now’s the time to remove them. If that stunning chandelier is a family heirloom, simply take it down and replace it with an understated piece.
This step might be the most awful and time-consuming, but it will provide striking results in the overall appearance of your house. If it’s been years since you’ve done some spring cleaning, expect the process to be tedious. Here are some things you need to do:
- Wash the windows inside and out.
- Pressure-wash the home’s exterior and the sidewalk.
- Polish the counters, faucets, mirrors, and other surfaces.
- Clean and scrub the bathroom, mop the floors, and clean the rugs and carpets.
Also, make sure to tackle all nooks and crannies, even the hard-to-reach surfaces behind closets and cupboards. Ensuring that your home is as clean as possible might not be fun, but it will make things a lot easier for you when showings start.
MUST-DO #2. Take care of minor repairs.
Once you’ve successfully cleaned up the home, it’s time to take care of the minor problems. Fixing up these small things can go a long way to ensuring your house looks at its best. If you can’t DIY, make a list of the necessary repairs and call a handyman to do the job. Otherwise, even a missing doorknob or a lightbulb can have set a negative mindset on buyers, prompting them to think “What else is missing here?” and cause them to look for other defective areas throughout the home. They might conclude your home hasn’t been well taken care of, which can turn into a huge deal-breaker.
These are all the basic updates you might be able to handle yourself:
- Replace burned-out lightbulbs.
- Fix broken windows and damaged window screens.
- Repair loose cabinets, locks, handles, and doors that don’t close properly.
- Fix any leaky faucets.
- Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
- Patch any holes in the wall.
- Fix chips or cracks in paint.
- Consider painting your walls in neutral colors, especially if they’re currently in a screaming red or purple.
- Give your front door a fresh lick of paint.
- Fix and straighten up broken fences and the mailbox.
Further, this is also the time to note any major repairs and start looking into your options. Major home improvement projects such as re-doing an entire roof, remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, and updating insulation definitely won’t come cheap, but they can significantly add value to your home.
MUST-DO #3. Find a great real estate agent.
“When you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are.” – Henry Ford
Resist the urge to sell your home by yourself or what they call “For Sale By Owner” and pocket the cash that would otherwise go to the seller’s agent. No matter how tempting it is, enlist the help of a professional real estate agent to list your home. In the 2018 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes, which means you could be sacrificing precious time and money.
Do some research on who has a good track record and is highly knowledgeable about your specific market. Moreso, choose an agent who could be a friend in this stressful situation but also has a concrete plan on how he or she will sell your home. Set clear expectations with your agent about your goals so that you know exactly what to anticipate, especially when showing requests start.