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If you’re planning on moving this spring or summer, then now is the time to start preparing your home for sale.
The reason I say that you need to begin getting your home ready to sell now (it’s mid-February) is because there is a long list of items that you need to check off and/or tend to. It’s also essential to get the best estate agent that you can as that will bring the best price possible.
No time to waste.
Here is your basic honey-do list to ensure that your home shows well….
Things That Help Your House Sell Fast
#1 – Fix everything that is broken. Take a walk around your property — and all over the inside of your house — and take note on your curb appeal and parts of your house that are in disrepair or need a little sprucing up. Make a list of interior problems and prioritize them. Start with the “must-do” list and work your way through to project that “would be great to do.”
#2 – De-clutter the entire house. Sell, give away, or store all unnecessary items. Remove all of the throw rugs, out-of-season clothes, and excess furniture. Try to make do with a little less of your modern conveniences for a short while. Remember that you are preparing (or staging) your home for prospective buyers. Clutter = No elbow room.
#3 – Depersonalize the house. It’s harder for prospective buyers to imagine their stuff in the house if your stuff is everywhere.
#4 – Get ready to clean like you’ve never cleaned before — inside and out. Windows, the exterior of your home, and bathrooms are major areas of concern.
#5 – Look at your floors. Carpeting that has frays or that is worn thin needs to be replaced. Don’t bother with the best carpet that they have to offer. A low-pile, neutral colored carpet is the way to go. If your carpet is in good shape, then rent a steam cleaner to thoroughly clean all of the carpeted areas. If you have hardwood floors, look at them carefully and refinish them, if necessary.
#6 – Be sure to have matching appliances in the kitchen, and the more modern the better. Don’t go out and spend a small fortune on top-of-the-line appliances. If you haven’t replaced your appliances in the last several years, it will pay to have new ones installed. Kitchens are one of 2 major selling points in a home.
#7 – Speaking of selling points… let’s talk bathrooms. If you have a dark blue toilet or vanity, it’s time to make a change. Buyers like white toilets, bathtubs, and sinks. While you’re at it, make sure that the bathroom lighting and plumbing fixtures have the same finish and are fairly new.
#8 – Replace any mismatched hardware throughout the entire home. If you think people won’t notice that your front door handle and hinges are brushed nickel and that the back door is brass, you’re wrong! Make it all match and keep it all modern.
#9 – Neutral paint colors are a must. (You knew it was coming.) Yes, you should paint that red room beige. You’re trying to sell your house and you have no clue what the potential buyer’s tastes are. You will appeal to a much broader spectrum of buyers if you stick with neutral colors. Paint is cheap and easy.
#10 – Look at the cabinetry in your kitchen and bathrooms. Have a good friend (with taste) come in and tell you the truth. Do they look great? If not, reface and/or repaint them. Add new (matching) hardware while you’re at it. You can also add trim to doors, crown molding to the top, and a trim piece along the edge of the bottom to fancy things up a bit at minimal cost.
#11 – Your exterior lighting is very important and often overlooked. Spend some money on great looking light fixtures that are large. Small carriage lights won’t do. Potential buyers will drive buy your house at night, too — you would be surprised.
#12 – Curb appeal is key. Make an honest assessment of your home — as seen from the street. Mulch all beds. While I’m talking about flower beds, make sure that they have some sort of a border to outline them. It looks professionally landscaped if you have timbers, brick, etc. lining your beds. Keep your yard weed-free if you have grass. Plant a few flats of flowers once it warms up. Buy a couple of large urns and stage them near the bottom of the stairs leading to your front door.
#13 – Stage your home yourself or pay a professional home stager to do it for you.
#14 – Get a pre-sale inspection and place it on the kitchen counter. The inspection will tell you if you missed anything major, and it tells potential buyers that your home is ready to sell! Expect to pay around $400 for a pre-sale inspection — it’s well worth it.
#15 – Get a great agent! You definitely don’t want to do all of this work and then pick a rookie with low sales numbers. Talk to your friends and co-workers to find out if they have any insight regarding great real estate agents. Interview a couple of different agents. Make sure they have a proven track record of success — ask them for proof.
#16 – Finally, set a fair price. One of the biggest reasons people don’t sell their homes fast: they don’t price it to sell! Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.
I started as a home-stalker… visiting brand new homes under construction in the neighborhoods near my house. That inspired me to write about home building and home renovation projects — chronicling homes during different phases of construction from a consumer's point-of-view. Basically, the tips you'll find in my articles are a collection of checklists for what I think should (and should not) go into building or remodeling a quality home.