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Sell Your Home Faster for More $$$


JAN 16, 2019

Have you been thinking about selling your home, but don't know where to start? Well, roll up your sleeves, because it's time to go full Marie Kondo on your home! Most people want to sell their home in the spring, which makes the winter months the perfect time to get it ready to sell. This post can be used to help you think through the rooms in your home and make a list of everything that needs to be completed before putting your home on the market.

Check with your realtor before you get to work. Depending on the market conditions, you may be able to get by with fewer fixes. If it's a seller's market, there is less competition, so you may not need to make as many changes. If it's a buyer's market, there are more homes on the market, which means more competition. You will then want to make your home stand out from the crowd!

1. The First Impression (Exterior)

  • Focus on curb appeal. A buyer will decide within the first few seconds of seeing your home if they want to see more. The first impression of your home is the most important!

  • Maintain the lawn, keeping it mowed and weed free.

  • Remove any leaves or fallen sticks in your yard.

  • Put away clutter like, lawn ornaments, kids' toys, garden tools and hoses. Yes, even your gnomes need to find a new home!

  • Spruce up garden beds with fresh mulch and flowers to create a welcoming entrance.

  • If it's winter, with no green in sight, add some fresh evergreens to your front porch or a green wreath to your front door.

  • Touch up any chipped or peeling paint on the exterior.

2. The First Impression (Interior)

  • Paint interior walls a neutral color, puttying over any nail holes or mishaps in the walls.

  • Touch up baseboards, scuffed walls and cabinets.

  • Open the curtains, pull up the shades and let the sunlight in.

  • The smell of your home can make a positive or negative impression, especially for people who are sensitive to smells. You should aim for your home to have no smell or at least a clean smell. Vinegar and baking soda will be your best friends when deodorizing your home.

  • Refrain from smoking inside your home. If you have smoked in your home, I recommend replacing or deep cleaning carpets and getting your duct work cleaned.

  • Depending on your budget and how competitive the market is, it may be beneficial to replace outdated light fixtures and ceiling fans.

  • If you are thinking about making any major renovations, such as a kitchen or bathroom, always run your plans by a realtor to see if it's worth the investment. You may be able to get by with a few minor renovations, such as painting your cabinets, instead of replacing them.

3. Clean, Clean and Clean some more!

  • Deep clean your home including light fixtures, all windows inside and out, bath tubs and showers, kitchen sink and counters and any other areas where a buyer may be looking closely.

  • Keep your home dusted and vacuumed at all times.

  • Clean or replace carpets if necessary.

  • If you don't know where to start, this checklist will help! It is one of the most comprehensive cleaning and home maintenance checklists I have seen.

  • If you don't have the time, it may be beneficial to hire a cleaning service to give your home a deep clean.

4. Make Repairs

  • Correct any safety hazards, such as exposed wires or missing banisters.

  • Complete any major repairs that may surface in a home inspection, such as an old or damaged roof.

  • Fix any broken appliances and HVAC systems.

  • Repair leaky faucets and clean up any water damage.

  • Replace burnt out light bulbs and be sure everything is in working order.

  • It is best practice to make the repairs before selling your home. If the damage shows up in an inspection, it can be more costly to repair after the fact, since buyers may require a specific company to make the repair.

  • Consider hiring an inspector to do a pre-inspection of your home. They will let you know what needs to be repaired.

5. Organize & Declutter

  • Remove clutter from each room to visually enlarge the space. You need to be ruthless, and store away (or get rid of) as much stuff as possible. Don't go overboard! You do not want to leave any rooms empty if you can. When you empty a room, it actually makes the space look and feel smaller.

  • Organize all closets and pantries. Store items in baskets and containers to make it tidy.

  • Remove small appliances from kitchen counters.

  • Store everyday belongings and toys in baskets and containers.

  • Improve traffic flow through every room by removing unnecessary furniture.

  • Store away family photos and any other personalized décor. You want the buyer to be able to envision themselves living in the space.

  • Sometimes it is hard to see the clutter in our own homes because we see it everyday. We need a fresh set of eyes to see what we are missing! Ask a realtor to take a tour of your home to help you know what areas should be decluttered.

6. Plans & Pets

Prepare a game plan for your family to get out of the home quickly for short notice showings. Before a showing you will need to:

  • Make beds.

  • Empty all garbage.

  • Throw all your clutter and laundry in a laundry basket and put it in your car. There is a time and a place to throw messes into closets, this is NOT that time!

  • Close toilet seats.

  • Turn on all lights in your house.

  • Open all curtains and blinds.

  • Empty kitchen sink of dirty dishes.

  • Arrange to remove your pets from the property or put them in their kennel during showings. This is primarily for their safety. It is stressful for a pet having a stranger come into their home. Put them in a safe place or, better yet, take them with you.

7. Find a Realtor

  • Find a realtor who is going to work hard for you and who will market your home well.

  • Get professional photos taken of your home. Remember how important first impressions are? The first place people see your home is online. The quality of the photos will determine if a buyer will view your property.

  • Price your home right the first time. A good realtor will research the market in your neighborhood and nearby areas to price your home competitively, so it sells quickly and for more money.

Whew! That's a lot to do! Preparing your home to sell can be overwhelming and stressful. As a realtor, I love helping my clients through this process. I can help you know which fixes will make the biggest impact while staying within your budget, so that your home sells faster and for more money. Let's grab some coffee and make it happen!

Download your free Home Prep Checklist.

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