A Gaggle of Tips to Prepare your House for Sale

If you’ve ever sold a house before, you probably know that in order to be successful, you should live differently than you normally would while marketing it for sale (unless of course, you’re a bit OCD and a clean freak, in which case selling your house should be a breeze once it’s priced right). As a REALTOR, I want nothing more than to sell your house…and for you to want the same. Here are some tips for minimizing the torture of “being on the market” so that you can move on with your life and IN to your new diggs!

• De-clutter! Repeat until you resemble a minimalist.
        ○ This is the easiest (and free) way to prepare your home for sale. Get knick knacks, crowded closets, and storage spaces under control. Take down personal photos. If you haven’t used something in over a year, pitch it.
       ○ Use closet organizers to maximize storage space. Make sure buyers can see the back of closets and cupboards. Thinning closets cabinets, and basement will help your storage spaces look larger.
       ○ If you can’t part with items, rent a POD or storage unit.
• Kitchen cabinets
       ○ If you don’t already have hardware for your kitchen cabinets, get some.
       ○ If they’re from a different decade, update them.
       ○ This is probably the biggest bang you’ll get for your buck when selling. If you’re installing them, make certain that they’re level…or pay to have someone install them for you.
• Carpet
       ○ Steam cleaning carpet is great for spot cleaning and reviving semi-trafficked areas
       ○ If replacing carpet, be sure to use the best quality carpet pad, which will make any carpet “cushy”. Cheap carpet with a great pad is better than a pricey carpet with a cheap pad.
• Windows
       ○ Make sure they’re clean
       ○ Remove heavy drapes and/or valances
       ○ The more natural light coming in through the windows, the better. If you have blinds, open them for showings.
• Basements
       ○ If there is moisture, get a dehumidifier
       ○ If there’s not already a sump pump, install one
       ○ Get rid of cobwebs
       ○ Organize storage areas
       ○ Wipe down the water heater, furnace, washer, and dryer
○ Outside
       ○ Limit yard ornaments to a favored few. Too many can make yards look busy and buyers also might want them included in the purchase.
       ○ Replace broken bricks on terraces, cracked concrete patios and steps. If your deck has any broken planks, replace those as well.
       ○ Paint or stain (if needed)
              - Shutters
              - yard lights
              - flag poles
              - Mailboxes and address #’s
              - Planter boxes
              - Fences
              - Swing set or play equipment
              - Deck
       ○ Take a good look at the front of your home from the street. Look for overgrown or dead shrubs and trim/replace them with plants that are scaled to the size of your home.
       ○ Add color with a few sets of flowers around the entrance. And don’t forget to mulch.
       ○ If you have a dog(s), pick up dog droppings from the yard. Buyers outside admiring your yard don’t want to take that with them.
• Paint scuffed up or dirty trim, moldings, and ceilings. Bright white will make your walls “pop”!
• Neutralize colors. If any of your walls are Red, purple, or any other darker shade, rethink the color. Neutral, earth tones sell the easiest. When in doubt, call me and I’ll stop over to give you some good color choices.
• Remove wallpaper. It dates the home and no two people have the same taste.
• Simple furniture rearrangement can bring new life to a tired space. Float sofas and coffee tables away from walls for a designer look. Use area rugs to anchor furniture groupings on tile or wood floors.
• Polish and wax hardwood floors to brighten and blend an old finish
• Replace screens on porches and windows. Dirty rusty, or ripped screens limit functionality to home-buyers and give the impression that the home isn’t cared for as it is.
• If you have Pets, take them off-site, when possible. A barking dog or over-friendly cat can kill a showing, especially if the potential Buyer(s) has allergies.
• Clean every surface until it shines. First impressions are important!

Of course, you don’t have to do ALL of these things, but decide what your house really needs and start checking things off.

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