Things to Do Before Selling Your House
Y’all…getting ready to sell your house is a daunting task. Sure, there are those services now where you can just ask for a quote online or sell it without ever having a showing or an open house. But if you want to make top dollar on the sale of your home, doing it the old-fashioned way is best.
If you are thinking of selling your home, then roll up your sleeves and get to work! Selling a home is much more than just uploading some random photos of your home, or just putting a “For Sale” sign in the yard. If you are aiming for the most cash out of the sale, then you will want to do some work ahead of listing it.
Since we are in the midst of these things ourselves right now, I’m sharing my tips with you. Some of these tips are easy, and others will require a bit more work. But if you’re looking to make the highest sale price you can on your home (and who isn’t?), then these tips will pay off for you. These are the steps we have been working on for months and are still working on.
1. Find a go-getter real estate agent
Look, I get it. It’s tempting to skip the real estate agent and pocket what would have been their commission. Right now, the sellers’ market is hot in our community, but we aren’t attempting to sell our home on our own. Often “For Sale by Owner” transactions end in disaster. At a minimum, you likely will sacrifice time and money. A great real estate agent will help you sell your home for the best market price, as quickly as possible in your current market condition. But before ever securing a real estate agent, be sure to work on the things listed below.
2. Focus on your curb appeal
When prospective buyers drive up to your home, their first look at the outside of your home should entice them to want to see the inside. So, ramping up your curb appeal is critical, but it doesn’t have to be costly. Make sure landscaping looks good by pruning trees and shrubs and planting colorful flowers. Your front door should be pristine, and the outside of your house should be inviting.
In preparation for listing our home, we’ve replaced all the shutters, refurbished our front door including new hardware, and new pine straw was added to all the beds and islands.
3. Declutter the interior of your home
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I’ve been blogging about decluttering your home since January. I cannot stress this enough! Less is more when you are preparing your home to be shown to prospective buyers. Buyers want to be able to envision their belongings in your home. So, pack up your wall of family photos and leave only the bare necessities on bookshelves. After you’ve done a clean sweep of counters, tables, windowsills, and all visible areas, it’s time to open the cupboards, drawers and closets and start decluttering. There is nothing off-limits for curious buyers. They will open drawers and closet doors. If your home is overflowing with stuff, it will appear that your home doesn’t have room for their own belongings. You want your home to appear as if it has unlimited storage possibilities. If you have excess stuff, pack it up and put it in storage or donate it to charity. It’s one less thing to do when it comes time for your move.
That was part of what we did leading up to our yard sale in early June. Closets have been cleaned out, drawers have been cleaned out and organized, and kitchen cabinets have been cleaned and organized.
4. Depersonalize your home
As part of decluttering, be sure to remove any of your personal items so that buyers can visualize what their belongings will look like in the space. They need to be able to see their family in your home and feel what it would be like for them. This depersonalization should include family photos and mementos, bold artwork, or any furniture that might prevent buyers from visualizing their things in the space.
We have removed almost all personal photos and items so that all the rooms have become a blank canvas for buyers to see themselves living here with their things around them.
5. Repaint walls to neutral tones
Brightly colored walls will be distracting to buyers. So, no matter how much you love your hot pink accent wall, it needs to be painted. Neutral colors are safest because they allow buyers to envision what walls would look like in the color of their choice. It does seem counterintuitive to paint walls, knowing that they likely will be repainted by the buyers. But if you want to sell your home quickly and for the most amount of money, repainting walls really is a no-brainer. Paint is not that expensive, and you can do the work yourselves.
Our guest bathroom was a BRIGHT color of blue. We didn’t want to be remembered by buyers as “you know…the house with the blue bathroom”. It has now been painted a light gray, which is the same color we’ve used in several rooms in our home.
6. Pay attention to baseboards and other trim
While you are going through your home room-by-room, be sure to look for scuff marks on baseboards, door frames and other trim. If you find scuff marks or grimy handprints be sure to clean and touch up those places. Why let small things turn off potential buyers?
7. Tighten up loose handles and drawer pulls, and replace burned out bulbs
It sounds like such a small thing, but anything that can make a negative impression on buyers should be addressed before you list your home. Buyers are going to open cabinet doors and drawers, so make sure that everything is in good working order.
When your home is being shown, it’s a good idea to have on lamps in every room to add a warm glow. So be sure you’ve replaced any bulbs that aren’t working.
8. Add houseplants
Houseplants create a welcoming look to any room, so add them where you can. A bouquet of fresh flowers from the market, or a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter can add some style and make the space feel more welcoming.
9. Do a sniff test
Any unpleasant odors, no matter how slight, can ruin a buyer’s impression. While we can become “nose blind” to odors in our home, those who enter your home for the first time will smell them immediately. If you don’t trust your own sense of smell, invite a friend or other unbiased person to come and walk through your home, to check for pet or kitchen odors. Just lighting a candle isn’t going to cut it if you have pervasive pet odor from your Great Dane. Buyers are on to those types of tricks.
10. Clean your home, then clean again
Your home should be spotless. Pay special attention to bathrooms and the kitchen. Counters, mirrors, floors, and tile should shine.
11. Hide your valuables
Make sure anything valuable such as jewelry, artwork, or family heirlooms are either locked up, or stored offsite. My husband calls this “keeping honest people honest”. There’s no reason to tempt anyone, so just be safe and lock things up.
12. Stage your home
If your home screams “Hello…the 80s called and wants their furniture back”, then you might consider hiring a professional home stager. Or if you feel up to the task, look at each room with a critical eye. Pretend you are a buyer and look at each room to see if you’ve prepared it adequately. Look at bookshelves to see if they might look better by rearranging items (or removing some). Bottom line: determine what you can do to show your home in the best possible light.
I know this sounds overwhelming, but these steps are important if you want to sell your home for the highest possible amount in your market. Imagine what you would be looking for if you were a buyer viewing your home.
We are almost ready to put a sign in the yard. After months of preparation, we are so ready to move on to the next phase of our lives! I will continue to share our moving/downsizing journey with you, and lessons learned along the way. I’m honored that you are coming along on this journey with me, and I hope you will tell your friends to follow along too.
Helping you create a beautiful home is what @Home with Sunflower Designs is all about. Each week we offer suggestions on ways to add beauty and simplicity to your surroundings, so that you and your family can enjoy your home. Until next time… #livecreatively!