Is it finally time? Time to sell your home? Of course, if it is, you want it to sell quickly. But that takes a bit of planning on your part. Just listing it with an agent isn’t enough. You need to plan, clean, and maybe do some work to get it ready to sell. Even though we are in a seller’s market, the better you make your home look, the faster and easier it should sell, even increasing your chance of selling above asking price.
At RDS, we meet with people daily that are ready to design and build a new home, while selling their existing home. Often, the conversation turns to how long it will take them to sell their existing home. That is the question, isn’t it? We’ve done the research, scoured the Internet, talked with people, and have come up with a list of projects you can easily tackle yourself and some that you might need a professional to do. Now get busy and ready to get top dollar for your current home. We’d love to design your new one for you!
Let Go and Declutter:
The hardest thing to do is to view your home as a potential buyer, not the one living in the home. Remind yourself that the home isn’t going to be yours much longer and see it with a critical eye. What can you get rid of? What won’t appeal to a potential buyer?
- Get rid of clutter. You want the rooms in your home to appear as large as possible. Clear off bookshelves, end tables, countertops, and anyplace you have collectibles, art objects, and things you just haven’t found a place for.
- Take down personal photos, especially if you have many of them hanging. Buyers want to see themselves in the home and pictures of your family can be distracting.
- Do you have a designated kids’ space or are there toys strewn everywhere? Organize the kids’ space, box up everything you can and remove toys from around the home.
- Clear out your closets so that they appear larger. You might want to invest in a simple storage system if your closet doesn’t have adequate shelving.
- Now is the time to go through everything. Sell, donate, and throw away what you don’t need or want. It’s easier to get rid of it now instead of moving it and then going through the boxes when you unpack.
- Your kitchen cabinets need to be organized and clean. People will open up the cabinets to check how much storage is available. If you have them packed, the message is clear that there isn’t enough space!
- Box up everything that isn’t necessary for day-to-day living.
You only get one chance at a first impression (if they’ve actually made it through the front door) and nothing sets the tone like a clean and tidy home.
- Your home needs to be as clean as possible. If you can, hire a cleaning company to do a deep cleaning for you. If that isn’t an option, spend a day cleaning baseboards, windows, trim, tops of doors, ceiling fans, light fixtures, window frames and sills, and anything else that may not have been cleaned for a while. Thoroughly dust and sweep everything.
- Clean the carpets, hardwoods, and tile floors.
- If you have pets, make sure the pet smell is gone. That can be an immediate turn off for buyers that don’t have pets themselves. If you aren’t sure if your house has a smell, ask a trusted pet-less neighbor to give your house the smell test!
- Change out light bulbs in your home to bright white or blue-tinted bulbs, not yellow/soft white ones, especially in darker rooms. This will make the home brighter.
- Remove heavy, dark drapes or curtains and replace them with sheer curtains or leave the curtains off altogether. This lets loads of natural light in the rooms.
Make Minor/Major Repairs:
Some repairs might be more than you want to do, and you might already have that worked into the sale of the home, or you aren’t planning on making them. But, making some repairs can go a long way in getting the most money for your home.
- All homes settle and develop cracks over time, but you don’t want that to be what potential buyers see. Hire a good handyman and get those ceiling and wall cracks repaired.
- Repaint if needed, whether it is inside or outside. Cracked or peeling paint or very personal paint colors could turn off a buyer.
- Fix any holes in the walls, repair leaky faucets (outside ones, too), check that doors open and close properly and quietly, and windows work.
- Replace any burned out light bulbs and be sure your electricity is up to code.
- If you have good hardwood floors, use them to your advantage. Make sure they are cleaned and refinished. Consider pulling up any old carpeting that might be covering them. Buyers want hardwoods!
- Speaking of carpeting, replace it if it is worn and beyond cleaning.
- If you can, get rid of any wallpaper. That is a big turn off for some people; especially if they are looking for a home they can immediately move into without having to make many changes.
- Update whatever you can in the kitchen, whether it is appliances, faucets, fixtures, or lighting.
Create Curb Appeal:
The first impression might be the only one you get. Some buyers can see past what a home looks like in order to see the potential, but most buyers can be turned off and never enter a home if it doesn’t make some kind of a good first impression.
- Wash the house! There should be no evidence of mildew or mold on the home. Just power washing to remove dirt and grime will make a big difference.
- Clean the gutters out. There should not be any leaves or growing plants visible. Plus, a good inspector will go up on the roof and inspect them, so be sure they are in good working order.
- Weeds and unkempt grass are a big deterrent to potential buyers. Keep your lawn mowed and weed free.
- Paint the house or the trim, or both if necessary. If you can’t afford to have the house painted, just painting the door and shutters will be a quick facelift.
- Is the front porch/entryway inviting? It should make people want to enter. Use color, a wreath, good lighting, a few potted plants, or a seating area to welcome them.
- If you are selling your home in the winter, provide photos of the landscaping during the open houses or when buyers come to see the home. That way people can see what the house looks like in the spring and summer.
- Move furniture around so that it showcases the room. Remove excess furniture and make sure that the room is easy to walk around. That giant treadmill isn’t going to do you any favors in the bedroom.
- If a room is painted a very bold or unique color, consider repainting it to a more neutral color. Most buyers will repaint a home, but if they see they don’t have to do it immediately, you’ve just made it easier to sell.
- Add a few live plants and some pops of color with pillows and blankets. Even a new bedspread can add to the allure of the room.
- Set the table or only have a centerpiece on it. Keep it looking like a place buyers want to sit with friends and family.
- Clear off kitchen countertops, but add some color. A bowl of limes or lemons, a bright pot on the stove, or a colorful vase of flowers will do wonders. Put all appliances away to showcase the countertop space.
- During showings make sure the beds are made, lights are turned on, pets are put away, curtains are open, windows cleaned, furniture dusted, carpets vacuumed (vacuum lines go a long way) and home feels welcoming and inviting. Your goal is for someone to walk in and realize that the home is loved and cared for!
- Create an inviting smell by baking cookies before the showing (and leave for potential buyers to eat) or brew a pot of coffee.
Just remember that when you’re getting ready to sell, you have to remove all emotion and attachment that you have to the home. Look at each room critically, as you would if you were buying the home. What can you change, update, or leave as is? The better your home looks, the faster and easier it should sell. And if you’re ready to build a new home, our designers would be honored to design your dream home for you.