Preparing your house for sale is easy. No, really, it is. It may take some time, effort, and elbow grease on your part, but otherwise, it’s pretty darn easy.
It also happens to be pretty darn important. Making sure your house is show house-ready will help speed along the selling process and help bring you top dollar on it. And that’s something that everyone trying to sell their home wants.
Read on for our 10 ways to prepare your home for the attentive eyes of potential home buyers, courtesy of About.com.
Distance Yourself from Your Home. In order to think like someone who’ll be viewing your home, you’ll need to disassociate yourself from the house and every room inside it. Realize that soon, it won’t be your home anymore, and that it’s just a building that someone else will be living in. Putting yourself in this mindset not only helps you look towards the future instead of looking back at the past, but it also will help you be objective and think like a marketer while you prepare the home for sale.
Remove the Things That Personalize Your Home. Potential buyers can be distracted by personal photographs, family heirlooms, and other unique items that make the house yours, so you’ll need to pack them up and put them somewhere out of the way. Doing this will allow buyers to envision the house as theirs, instead of someone else’s.
Get Rid of the Clutter. This may seem commonsense, but it just may not occur to some people. A good rule of thumb is, if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably can donate it or throw it out. Go ahead and use this time to start packing the non-essentials as well: books from the bookcases, stuff off the kitchen counters, the personal knickknacks, et cetera. Place essentials in a box that can be hidden when not in use.
Rearrange Your Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets. When potential buyers are inspecting your home, they can be both curious and OCD, meaning they probably will snoop around and they probably will notice if things are out of place. Take this opportunity to ensure all your shoes are lined up; your clothes are all organized, buttoned, and hanging the same direction; your kitchen spices are all alphabetized; the handles on your coffee cups are all facing the same direction; and your dishes are stacked neatly. Seriously, all this will help sell the home.
Rent Out a Storage Unit for Excess Furniture. Your home shouldn’t look like an overstuffed furniture warehouse; you should have just enough furniture in each room so 1) buyers know what the room is used for, and 2) buyers can move around easily. So stow those extra leaves from your dining room table, now-empty bookcases, and anything else that hinders paths and walkways. Doing all this will ultimately help your home show better.
Hide and/or Replace Favorite Items. Here’s the rule: If you’re going to be taking it with you, then hide it before any buyer sees it. This goes for window dressings, appliances, wall fixtures, that mahogany dining room set that your great-grandfather hand-built himself, or anything else like this. Remove any and all of these items and replace them, if need be.
Fix Those Items Needing Minor Repairs. That leaky bathroom faucet is not a selling point — fix it now. That also applies to cracked floor or counter tiles, holes in walls, doors that don’t shut right, or kitchen drawers that refuse to close all the way. You should also paint all your walls in neutral colors if they’re not already. Even go so far as ensuring all the light bulbs work and that bedspreads, rugs, and towels don’t look worn. It’s the little things that matter.
Make the House Look Fresh and New. Imagine that someone’s going to feature your house in Better Homes and Gardens. You want it looking its best, right? Same thing here, so clean the entire house, inside and out. Banish all dirt, grime, cobwebs, dust, mold, and musty smells. Wax, vacuum, polish, dust, wash, bleach, re-caulk, and clean everything. Make it magazine spread-ready!
Get Meticulous and Scrutinize Everything. Pretend you’ve never seen your house before, open the front door, and look inside; do this in the doorway of every room in the home. You want your house to be welcoming, stylish, homey, and emotionally resonate — so it is? If not, move the furniture around, ensure the window dressings are hanging level, and do anything else you need to until it is. Ultimately, it should look like no one lives in the house.
Ensure Your House Has Curb Appeal. We’re already emphasized the importance of proper lawn maintenance, but there are other things that need doing, too. Keep your sidewalks clear and your bushes trimmed up, ensure your house number is readily visible, and take the time to repaint your window trim if it’s looking faded. Another great tip is to display some yellow flowers (such as marigolds, which are cheap) around your home by either planting some or putting a bunch of potted flowers together. As it turns out, the color yellow incites the emotion to buy.
Follow all these tips and you should sell your home in no time!
Stephanie Huskey is the resident real estate blogger for Movoto and thinks that thing about the color yellow is interesting. (Maybe that’s why people like gold jewelry? Food for thought.) Interested in getting her advice on your blog? She’s currently seeking guest blogging opportunities so she can share her knowledge with new communities! You can find her over here at Elance.com.