The decision to sell your home may come after many months of deliberation, but once you’ve made the decision and have talked with a real estate professional, give yourself some additional time to prepare the property.
Spending a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to spruce up your home – from a thorough cleaning to repairs, painting, and staging – can add many times that amount to the final sale price.
It’s Cleaning Time
The first and most important task in preparing a home for sale is a top-to-bottom cleaning.
Wash the walls and the windows. Clean the bathroom and put out fresh towels. Close the lid on the toilets and make sure the bathroom mirrors sparkle. Open the windows and let fresh air in – few things are less inviting to a prospective homebuyer than the smell of cat litter boxes or old dog beds. Or old dogs.
If rooms are painted garish colors, repaint them in subdued hues with broad appeal. Replace dirty drapes and window blinds.
If It’s Broken, Fix It
If the plumbing or electrical systems need repairs, get it done. Is the doorbell broken? Fix it. Stop toilets from gurgling. Fix leaky faucets.
Repairs to larger systems, such as a furnace or air conditioning, may be a negotiable point with the buyer, but not minor repairs. Evidence of slipshod upkeep will drive buyers away.
The importance of clearing clutter cannot be emphasized too strongly. Move all unnecessary items into storage. A house or apartment with minimal furniture looks bigger than it really is.
And put away family photos and personal items. You want a prospective buyer to imagine themselves at home there instead of feeling like they’re intruding in your space.
Water and mow the grass, trim bushes, remove dead leaves, and plant flowers. A trim and tidy yard adds immeasurably to curb appeal.
Hire a home stager
Most real estate professionals recommend home staging. It can be something simple like putting out fresh flowers or rearranging furniture for better sight lines, but consider an outside opinion from someone who makes it their business to make homes more attractive to buyers.
If you have the time and resources, consider moving to a temporary residence and allow a professional stager to present your home to its best advantage, with furniture and furnishings chosen to complement your home’s design possibilities.
And talk with your real estate professional. He or she has been through the vagaries of home preparation many times before and is working on your behalf. Together, you’ll make a winning team.
(Photo by Boulderite, via Flickr.)