6 Must Do’s Before Selling Your House

Posted by Trent Corbin on Thursday, May 10th, 2018 at 10:00am.

Redbud group seller fixing up home as a before selling must do

We understand prospective buyers and the things they’re looking for in a home. Get your house “for sale” ready with these must-dos:

1. Win the first impression

As prospective buyers approach your house, opinions are formed and expectations for the rest of the house are set. A Realtor® can tell a buyer “don’t judge a book by its cover” or, in this case, “don’t judge a house by its curb appeal”, but judgments will be made nonetheless, and those judgments could make or break your sale.

Could your front door use a fresh coat of paint? Perhaps with a new color? Are your bushes and trees overgrown or worse, dead? Do what you can to create a welcoming exterior and lure in buyers. Buyers should be eager to see more. 

  • Perform basic landscaping tasks, such as cutting and seeding the grass, mulching beds, trimming overgrown greenery, and planting seasonally appropriate flowers.

  • Pressure wash not only the exterior surfaces of your home, like siding and brick but also the driveway and any walkways or decks.

  • Replace broken gutters, windows, doors, mailboxes, etc.

  • Consider collaborating with neighbors whose “unique” landscaping tastes could negatively impact the optics of your home.


2. Ready, set, DECLUTTER

You knew this was coming, in fact, you’ve probably been dreading it—it’s time to declutter.

The less stuff you have cluttering your home, the larger it will seem to potential buyers- and if there’s one thing you pick up from this blog it’s that your home should appear as spacious, open, clean and organized as possible. So get started because if you’re like most of us this will prove to be pretty time-consuming.  

  • Sell, donate, or trash unwanted, unnecessary, and unused “stuff”.

  • Pack up things you don’t use on a day-to-day basis and store them away until post-move.

  • Don’t hide clutter in closets, pantries, cabinets, and drawers! Those should be somewhat clear and neatly organized so buyers can accurately gauge the amount of storage available for their own things. (Don’t think buyers won’t peek!)

On the plus side, you won’t have as much stuff to take with you to your next home and keeping the house “show ready” will be a breeze with less clutter.


3. Clean, clean, clean

There’s no better feeling than a clean house, and your potential home buyers will agree!

Whether you bring in a professional cleaning crew or you do your own deep cleaning, it is one must do that is non-negotiable. Nothing will show a buyer that you’ve taken care of your home (potentially theirs) better than cleanliness.

It’s important to give special attention to kitchens and bathrooms as buyers scrutinize these rooms the most. Here are some cleaning tasks to get you started:

  • Clean the inside and outside of your home’s windows to let more light in and give the house a cleaner appearance.

  • Scrub tubs and sinks of any mold, scum, food, etc.

  • Wipe down (and organize) any cabinets or shelves in your home.

  • Clean all kitchen appliances, including the inside of your refrigerator, oven, and microwave.

  • Wash all floors. Look into renting a heavy duty carpet cleaner, or wood polisher to get your floors looking good as new.

  • Take dusty curtains down and have them cleaned. Your rooms will be bright and smell fresh!   


4. Tack onto your home’s value with quick updates

Set aside a weekend or two to get down and dirty.

A few small updates and repairs will only increase the overall value of your home and leave buyers feeling like your home is worth your asking price, especially if it is ‘move-in-ready’.

Although it’s sometimes harder to get your full money’s worth back on large projects like re-doing kitchens and bathrooms, replacing hardwood floors, and new decks do add value and should be weighed as an option.

Here, it might help to get an outsiders opinion. There are probably things that should be fixed in your home that you’ve grown used to living with.

An outsider can come in and point out flaws you might have overlooked before a buyer can. This might include small projects like:

  • Fixing leaking faucets and running toilets.

  • Replacing door handles, cabinet hardware, fixtures, etc that are either broken or could benefit from an updated look.

  • Going over caulking on tubs, showers, and sinks.

  • Appling fresh coats of neutral colored paint to interior or exterior walls being sure to cover any scuffs, scratches, or stains.

  • Replacing broken or dull light bulbs in fixtures to brighten the house.


5. Present a house, not a home

When welcoming potential buyers into your home, de-personalizing is imperative.

While you’re decluttering, go ahead and store away anything along the lines of family portraits, personal keepsakes, religious pieces, sports memorabilia, rock band posters, etc.

Allow your potential buyer to picture their own family creating a home in your house.


6. Finally, set the stage

Now for the fun part, and the real secret behind selling home– staging.

Staging is the preparing of a home for sale in such a way as to appeal to potential buyers and generate higher selling prices.

You might not see the worth in investing in home-staging now, but come sale time when you’re offered your asking price, or better, over your asking price you’re sure to see it.

Staging projects can range from big to small and include:  

  • Creating large open areas by minimizing and/ or rearranging furniture. Contrary to popular belief, a room looks larger and functional when furniture is grouped in cozy, conversational arrangements rather than being pushed up against walls.

  • Give each room a purpose. For you, the room might serve as an in-home office and a crafting space AND a playroom but a buyer needs to see the room as having one specific function in order to plan for their own use. Make sense?

  • Create a consistent, balanced feel throughout the whole house. Create this “feel” with similar color schemes, finishes ,and themes (if possible).   

  • Avoid hanging old and worn towels in the bathrooms. Hang, fold, or stack fresh towels to convey a clean spa-like atmosphere in the room.

  • Incorporate green plants and flowers either real or fake to bring life and add decor to the house.

  • Maximize lighting by opening curtains and blinds and turning on all lights. Consider the type of space when choosing lighting. Warm and dim lighting works best in a reading nook or study space but bright and clean lighting should be incorporated in bathrooms or kitchens.

After completing one or two of these must do’s you’re sure to see a worthwhile return on your home and a quick sale.

But we’ve only just scratched the surface. If you’re looking for more, check out our Home Sellers Guide where you can get in contact with a professional, see what you’re up against on the market, and even get a free home evaluation.  

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