Preparing your Home for Sale

We’re swiftly entering the high season for the home selling market, and there’s a good chance you or someone you know is frantically getting their house ready for showings. You’ve probably taken care of the obvious points, making sure everything is in good repair and clean. No broken door latches, loose steps, or stained carpet in sight. But in a housing market like this one, where home values seem to be reaching new heights, every little thing you do can influence the kinds of offers you get to the tune of thousands of dollars, so it’s well worth your time to make an effort to have your home as polished and ready for sale as possible.

As we’ve already said, make sure you have everything in good repair, this is the minimum you want to do. If you’ve been in your home for even a few years, you’ve probably got a decent sized list of little items that have accumulated on your to do list over time. Make sure these are all taken care of. Bigger items might need more consideration. What’s the status of your roof? How about your heater? You’ll want to make sure these items are in good working order and any documentation you have showing their maintenance over the years is ready and organized. If you’re aware of a big ticket item in need of repair, say a damaged central air unit, you’ll want to confer with your listing agent to determine if it’s better to get the item fixed or adjust your asking price. Depending on the current market, it might be well worth it for you to pay out the money for repairs that could positively impact your home’s value once you can list something like a newly installed roof!

After you’ve got repairs taken care of, it’s time to declutter your home. Again, the years of living in one place have likely led to a buildup of all kinds of random items that you honestly forgot you owned. (Who owns seven pairs of scissors in random drawers throughout the house? Why you do!) You’ll need to pack these items up for your move anyways, so get to work on them now. Give thought to what items you want to take with you and what items you want to hand off to helpful friends or a local thrift store. Removing the clutter will make your home feel more spacious and give your agent an easier time helping you stage the home for viewings. Make sure walkways are kept clear and you give plenty of space to each room, letting prospective buyers have room to imagine themselves living here. Make sure too to check closets, cupboards, and medicine cabinets, since open house visitors are almost guaranteed to snoop. Don’t shove everything into the top of a closet. It might help the room seem nice and open, but if a buyer is looking for how much storage space is available, you may turn them off.

Give some thought to your outdoors. It’s probably too early to have your garden up and running, but some nice potted plants on the porch are a great way to help buyers get a sense of liveliness from your home. Chances are the wet winter and early spring has led to some mildew on your siding, rent a power washer or hire a cleaning company to get your exterior walls to their best possible shine. Give a fresh coat of paint to your mailbox, and some tasteful and simple decoration to your doorway to welcome buyers.

Your sense of smell is an important item that many sellers neglect when getting their home ready for sale. Again, we’re assuming you have everything clean and your drain pipes are in good working order, but also make sure you aren’t roasting garlic or frying bacon right before your open house. Smells like fresh baked cookies or yeasty cinnamon rolls hit exactly the scent message you want to communicate to open house visitors. Don’t overdo it though, excessive scented candles or aerosol scented spray could be off putting or leave buyers wondering what you’re trying to cover up.

Ultimately, you want to make sure a buyer can imagine themselves in your home. So after you’ve opened up the space and gotten everything ready, take down your own personal items. Family photos and collectibles can be packed up and made ready to go. Leave room on the walls for them to imagine their own pictures and items on display. When you’re ready, I’ll walk through the home with you and we’ll work together to make sure you are ready for the best first impression possible for your home’s new owners. Call me to make an appointment today and we’ll have you ready in no time!

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