When you decide to sell your home you should immediately begin referring to it as a house. You’ve become emotionally attached to this house, and it’s now time to say goodbye. Start detaching yourself by making a few changes that will help you with the sale of the house.
You have most likely accumulated a lot of clutter over the years. This must be the first step.
1. Unclutter your home. Start in one room and either throw things out or rent a storage unit to store it until you move. Prospective buyers need to see what the house looks like behind all your stuff. This means going room by room and clearing everything out that makes it look cluttered and disorganized.
2. Neutralize the personal nature of your home. You may love the native tapestry on the living room wall from Bora Bora but I’ll guarantee 95% of the potential home buyers will have it on their mind when they leave, and not in a good way. Knick knacks and other personal items should be stored away until after the sale, that includes grandma’s spoon collection that takes up half a wall in the kitchen. Replace these types of things with neutral items like picture frames or vase with a simple arrangement.
3. Minor cosmetic work. Once you start removing the clutter you will see all the things that you’ve been meaning to fix over the years. Touch up painting, new carpet, moldings repaired, cracked plaster, repairing drywall. When making these improvements, think neutral colors for any coverings like paint or carpets. If you have hardwood floors sand them and finish them. Area rugs can look amazing. Whatever you do, don’t over do it. Stay basic, neutral, and try and think like a buyer.
4. Hire a professional cleaner. Once you have the house decluttered, you should hire a professional cleaner to wash the walls, windows, kitchen and bathrooms, clean the floors and shampoo all carpets that don’t need replacing. Your house should be spotless and kept this way until it sells.
5. Staging each room. If your rooms are on the smaller side, rearrange the furniture to make the room look bigger. For example, removing some furniture is better than having too much crammed in. Set your furniture up in conversation style. Like a quaint coffee house, make it cozy. Pull couches away from walls to give the appearance of depth. Remove wall clutter, leave just one or two pictures.. but no more. Generally, make everything look inviting.
6. Kitchen and bathrooms. These are the most important rooms in your home to a preospective buyer. Make sure they are flawless. All fixtures should be working properly and look like new, or they should be replaced. Use a good cleaner or even a metal polish to make them shine. Showers and tubs need to be spotless! Sinks and vanities need to be clean and uncluttered. Kitchen cupboards should be orderly, doors opening and closing properly, and drawers also. I can’t stress enough how important these two rooms are to your potential sale.
7. Doors and windows. The first thing potential buyers see when they walk in your home is the door. Make sure it is freshly painted or cleaned up and that it opens and closes properly. This also goes for screen doors. Many times, screen doors are a problem people let go. Windows should be cleaned and make sure if someone tries to open them that they work properly. Do whatever it takes.
8. Garages and workshops. These are the second most important areas. You will also want to remove all clutter from the garage and make it accessible so you can actually park your car in it! As for the workshop, try and organize it so the potential home buyer will appreciate what they can do with their “new shop” when they move in. It’s all about the person picturing themselves in your house.
9. Family effort. Everyone in your family needs to be on the same page with the presentation of the house. This means your children need to keep their rooms tidy. Bribe them if you need to, but everyone needs to work together to maintain the appearance of the entire house.
10. Odors and pets. Wow, is this ever important. When you walk into a house where dogs or cats live you immediately smell them, especially if you don’t have your own. Keep litter boxes fresh and clean daily. Restrict your animals, if possibe, to certain areas of the home until after the sale. Vinegar and water will do wonders when cleaning their areas every other day until the sale is complete, and don’t skimp on effective air fresheners wherever you may need them. Vacuum often, two or 3 times a week.
This sounds like quite a bit of work…. and it is. Try and remember that by following these tips, you could easily add five to ten thousand dollars to the sale price of your home, maybe more! A little elbow grease now will be worth it in the long run.