More than five million homes were sold in the U.S. in 2018. 5.34 million to be exact. Selling a home is a lot more time-consuming than just putting up a sign in the front yard and holding an open house.
Selling a home for the best price requires some preparation and a little elbow grease. We’ve pulled together our top 10 tips to prepare your home for a quick sale.
We don’t mean unplug your phone or stop watching TV. What we’re talking about is emotional distance here. It’s not easy to do, but it will help you get into the right frame of mind to sell your home.
Your home isn’t just a financial investment. It’s an emotional one, too. Leaving your home behind can be difficult. The average length of time we spend in our homes is 13 years. That’s 13 years worth of memories.
But, you’ll need some distance to do what you need to do. So, find a way to say good-bye to your house, so you can start treating it like a product.
2. Examine the Curb Appeal
Your house may be the best one in the neighborhood, but no one will ever know if the outside looks horrible. We’ve all driven by creepy-looking houses with overgrown landscaping and peeling paint. Don’t be that house.
This doesn’t have to be a huge financial undertaking. You just want to make the outside of your home as attractive as possible. So, consider the following:
- Mow the yard at least once a week during the summer
- Trim the hedges. Remove any that block the view of your home from the street
- Touch up the paint on both the house and the trim
- Plant flowers
- If you’re selling in the winter, keep the sidewalk and porch clear of snow and ice
- Make sure your house number is visible from the street
3. Clear out the Clutter
You’re going for a look about half-way between empty and something that could get you featured on “Hoarders”. Real estate agents know that empty homes don’t sell as well as furnished ones do. The key is to create a space that’s welcoming but not cluttered.
So, start by removing knickknacks and other decorations you might have on the coffee table, the counters and the mantle. If your bookshelves are packed, remove about 75 percent of the books to give the shelves a more open look.
If your foyer is home to piles of shoes, the dogs’ leashes and assorted pieces of sporting equipment, find a place for everything out of sight. Box up anything you don’t need now.
4. Remove Personal Items
Buyers want to imagine themselves in your home, and you want to encourage that any way you can. If a buyer can see themselves cooking dinner in your kitchen or watching TV in your living room, they’re more likely to make an offer.
So, you don’t want them to feel more like a visitor than they already do. This is a good time to pack up all the family photographs, the drawings you’ve displayed on the fridge and the scrapbooks on the coffee table.
5. Neutralize the Space for a Quick Sale
You want your home to be as attractive as possible to as many people as possible. So, try to eliminate any bold colors or wild decorations that might only appeal to a few buyers.
If your dining room is purple, consider repainting it in a neutral color. You want the buyers to see the room, not the paint. You can probably leave your kids’ rooms the way they are. Buyers are accustomed to seeing children’s rooms and can easily envision the changes their kids would want.
6. Clean out the Closets
Storage space is a huge selling point, so you want to maximize what you have. This is important for both the photos of your home and the showings. If your closets are packed, they look smaller. This can give a buyer the sense that your home doesn’t have enough space.
If your closets are clean and organized, it also creates the impression that you take good care of the space. That’s a psychological advantage. A buyer who thinks you care for the closet will also believe you care for the rest of the house, too.
7. Organize Your Cabinets
Your house is about to host dozens of people who want to see every bit of it. Potential buyers will open every drawer and cabinet. Take some time to clean out your kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
You’re going to have to pack anyway, so you might as well get a jump on it now. Pack away anything you don’t need on a daily basis. Holiday dishes, stock pots and rarely-used appliances can all be boxed up.
Once you’ve cleared the cabinets out, clean them.
8. Remove Any Semi-Permanent Items That Aren’t Staying
If you have items in your home that aren’t staying with the home, remove them now. You might have a light fixture or shutters that you plan to move to the new home, for example. Go ahead and take them down now.
Buyers may fall in love with that gorgeous mirror in your foyer, and you don’t want to lose the sale over it. Remove anything you don’t want to negotiate.
9. Clean Your Home
This really should be a deep-cleaning. Top to bottom, ceiling to floor, basement to attic. Make sure every surface is cleaned, every window shines and every bit of carpet is vacuumed.
Also you’ll need to keep your house clean as long as it’s on the market. You want to be able to show it whenever your real estate agent calls with a potential buyer. You might write down a short list of everything you should do before you leave the house in the morning.
- Clear off the counters
- Run the dishwasher
- Pick up wet towels and hang clean ones
- Close the toilet lids
- Empty the trash cans
10. Make Minor Repairs
You probably don’t need to renovate your kitchen, but you should definitely take care of all those little repair jobs. That closet door that keeps sticking? Fix it. The cabinet door that doesn’t hang right? Adjust it.
Anything that might cause your buyers to wonder about the overall condition of your home should be fixed. That might include leaky faucets, cracked tiles or a failing garage door.
The average length of time for a house to stay on the market is 27 days. You can easily prepare your home for a quick sale simply by following those 10 tips. Here’s one more, a little bonus. You may have heard that you should make your house smell nice by lighting candles or baking cookies.
That’s good advice, but remember that less is more. If you overwhelm the place with scented candles and air fresheners, your buyers might wonder if you’re trying to hide something.
We would love to help you sell your home and answer any questions you might have. Please feel free to contact us any time.