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How to Prepare your House for Sale

Whether you have made the decision to sell your house now or (in this market) after you buy your next house, I am sure you are feeling overwhelmed by the herculean task of getting your current home show-ready– all while continuing to live, work, and taking care of all your other responsibilities as well. Prepping a property always takes longer than anticipated, and if you are buying first, things will need to happen fast once you buy, especially if the goal is to have the closing dates lined up.

It is easy to get wrapped up in comparing your home to the recent solds, and making lists of things that you should upgrade. But the truth of the matter is, if it is not broken it doesn’t need to be fixed. Instead focus on the things that need to be repaired or are potential issues for the new owners.

Don’t leave anything broken.

All the homes' heating, ventilation and cooling systems, electrical and plumbing should function properly and be in good working order.

Red flags such as exposed wiring, asbestos, buried oil tanks, foundation issues, or leaky roofs should be addressed. If it is not feasible to fix any major issues, speak to your realtor as it might be easiest to factor the cost of remedy into the sale price, and let the buyer take it on.

Remove the clutter.

Adequate storage is one of the top items on a buyers list. You can easily change the look of a house but it is harder or more expensive to add space. The goal is to have your house look as spacious as possible with plenty of room to put stuff. Decluttering is the most important thing you can do and often the hardest. When sorting household and personal items, we recommend breaking them down into four distinct piles: Keep, donate, sell, and trash! Thin out cupboards, closets and storage rooms with only the stuff you will need, ideally make it look like a magazine spread. Pack up all the extra keepable stuff in boxes so when we are ready to list it is ready to go into storage.

Present your house in the best light.

Good lighting in a home affects the mood of a room as well as the perceived size of a room. Replace any dated fixtures as this easily modernizes the space and make sure all other fixtures are clean and the brightest bulbs (preferable LED ones) are installed. The brighter the home the better.

Neutralize the walls.

Having freshly painted neutral walls is one of the easiest ways to maximize your home's appeal. Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the one with the purple dining room. Talk to your realtor as this may be part of the service they offer and easiest to do during the pre-listing process when your furniture is out of the house. If you’ve had your house painted fairly recently, you can likely just touch up scuff marks or stains on walls or baseboards.

Have a spotless bathroom.

The bathroom may be one of the smallest rooms in the house but it is very important when selling your home. It needs to be spotless. Wash the walls, use a descaler on the shower head, scrub or replace the grout, and recaulk the tub. All the things you mean to do but never have time for, now is the time.

Make the floors shine.

Hardwood floors are a selling point, if your wood floor is looking a bit tired, first try a really good clean, then fill the cracks and polish. If necessary, you may consider refinishing. Replace cracked or worn flooring. In the basement consider painting concrete floors for a quick fix. When it comes to carpet, unless your carpets are new, have them steam cleaned. If it is beyond saving, consider replacing.

Make a great first impression.

First impressions make a difference when it comes to selling a home. You can Improve your home’s curb appeal by simply painting your front door. But also consider fixing any porch damage, cracks on your front steps or walkway. Make sure the roof and gutters are clean. Patios, porches and decks should look clean (pressure wash), fresh and inviting. Make necessary wood deck repairs and apply fresh stain. Trees and shrubs should accent and enhance your house, not hide it, trim back any unruly trees or shrubs. Curb appeal sets expectations. Prospective buyers are more inclined to look inside if they like what they see on the outside.

The more you get done now, means there is less to do when we are preparing your home for the market. Whenever you plan on selling, we can help you start the process and advise you of any work that needs to be done. We stage all our properties and take care of many pre-listing improvements, if you feel like any of this prep work is impossible to get done, we have solutions for that too.

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