According to Rick Taylor, realtor, the process of preparing your home for sale can seem like a daunting task. The opinions of what you should and shouldn’t do are many and varied.
Today, the work you put into preparing your home for sale will be rewarded in the speed in which your home will sell and the sale price. The key word here is “work”. You will need to do work before you put your home up for sale. Remember, you only get one chance to show your home at its best.
Following are some basic ideas to help you prepare your home for sale:
Create a To-Do List
First, create a list of previously deferred maintenance that needs to be done on your home. Experts encourage homeowner’s to:
- Complete any work that needs to be done before the home goes on the market.
- Ask someone who doesn’t live in the house to go through it and point out things that need to be done.
- A growing trend is to have a licensed home inspector do a pre-inspection of your home. Not only is this a good tool to use in marketing your home, it can help save you thousands by eliminating the opportunity for a buyer to find a defect and insist you fix it before purchase or ask to take significant money off of the selling price.
Staging Your Home
The next step is to “stage” your home. Your goal is to make your home appealing to the greatest number of buyers as possible. Most people know if they are interested in a home within 30 seconds! The challenge is to help buyers feel comfortable and to allow them to picture themselves living in your home. A good first impression is a result of proper staging. If you do not think that you can do staging so that the house looks its best, hire a staging expert who can do this for you.
Before your house goes up for sale and when the house is on the market you need to make sure that the house and yard is uncluttered so that it feels open and spacious. (You are moving anyway, so why not pack up nonessential belongings and store them?)
- Having good curb appeal and a pleasing entrance to your home is vital. Cut the grass, plant flowers, keep everything looking fresh! Again, if you do not feel confident in landscaping your home and keeping it looking nice, hire an experienced landscaper to do this for you.
- The exterior of your house should be clean and, if needed, recently painted. If you have siding, have it power washed. If you have a deck, have this power washed, too.
What Does Your House Smell Like?
The last thing that you want is for potential buyers to walk through a house that smells bad or “off”. Smoking, pet urine, and a spoiled food smell, recent use of a heavy-odorous cleaning fluid – all will turn off buyers immediately.
The house should smell clean! To do this:
- Eliminate all pet & cooking odors.
- Shampoo rugs and clean floors.
- Sweep the steps and porch leading to your house.
- When you know of a scheduled viewing, bake some cookies or bread to enhance the experience. Steeping lemon-scented tea is also pleasant to smell.
Sit quietly in your house and notice any sounds that are occurring. Do you have loud music blaring? A loud HVAC system? Some other item that makes noise constantly? You need to appeal to a buyer’s sense of hearing. This can be accomplished by having a water feature operating or light classical music playing. Having lights on in every room in the house also helps to create a cozy environment.
Your goal is to make all of these elements work together so that they create the best first impression possible. Finally, it is imperative that you keep your home presentable the entire time it is on the market. Expect that there will be a showing each day. First impressions are lasting ones so it will pay to be prepared in terms of a quicker sale and more money in your pocket.