Selling a house is exciting! And terrifying. You want to sell your house as quickly as possible for top dollar. But sometimes there is a lot to do before that can happen.
Most buyers want two things:
- To be able to picture themselves living in the home.
- To see a house that is in good repair.
Give your potential home buyers the ability to imagine all the possibilities of your home becoming theirs. Some people can overlook clutter and family photos. Some can even overlook very personalized paint colors or repair work that needs to be done.
But a lot of people won’t overlook these things.
You don’t want buyers to be turned off and move on to another more appealing house.
Getting your home ready for the market
You may be wondering, “How long does it take to sell a house?” You don’t have total control over that timeframe, but you can often speed it up a good bit if you are willing to attend to some details before you put the house on the market.
How can you make buyers feel welcome and ready to buy your house?
Depersonalize Your Home
Buyers don’t want to imagine your family’s lifestyle. They want to see a vision of the amazing future possibilities for themselves there.
- Take down family pictures.
- Consider painting rooms neutral colors, preferably ones that sell well currently.
- Take down large collections, sports memorabilia, hunting equipment, or evidence of hobbies.
- Remove religious or potentially controversial artwork or statues.
- Try to clear the walls except for a few tasteful pieces or mirrors.
- Remove dated or busy wallpaper.
- Cover worn furniture with crisp, neutral slipcovers.
Declutter Your Home
Before you list your house, pack up about 50% of your belongings, maybe more, if possible. This helps you get ready to move out. But it also helps dramatically increase the appeal and charm of your home to buyers.
Here are some ideas to add to your honey-do list before you list your home.
- Remove everything from flat surfaces you can, except for one piece of art or one tasteful floral arrangement.
- Get rid of all trash and stacks of papers you don’t need.
- Donate extra things you don’t need.
- Put anything you don’t think you will need before the move in labeled boxes and move to storage.
- Make sure floors are clear except for furniture.
- Get rid of all the small things outside except for possibly a few beautiful flower pots with healthy flowers in them
- Position some nice outdoor furniture on the porch or patio (only if it is in great condition).
- Put small appliances away in the kitchen so that the counter space looks bigger.
- Organize closets and cabinets so that it looks like there is plenty of storage.
- Stash toys out of sight.
- Consider staging your home to add even more appeal.
Clean Your Home Thoroughly
A thorough spring cleaning is in order before people view your home. If you can’t do it yourself, perhaps a maid service can help. (For some of these projects, you might find a handyman to help get your house ready.)
- Bathrooms and kitchens should look shiny, including appliances.
- Wood floors should be wet-mopped or even polished.
- Everything should be dust-free.
- Clean inside cabinets, closets, and shelves.
- Clean doors and make sure there is no grime.
- Sweep and clean the porch, sidewalk, and driveway.
- Clean windows inside and out.
- Wash down or pressure wash the house if needed. (Handyman work)
- Clean vents and air-returns.
- Clean carpet stains.
- Eliminate the source of any bad odors.
Tackle Any Needed Home Repairs
If you don’t take care of obvious problems before you put your home up for sale by owner or with a realtor, these repairs will show up later on your punch list. Look for a reputable handyman service near you to help with repairs ahead of time and you may be able to relax during the weeks before closing.
- Touch up scuffs and chipping paint.
- Replace burned-out lightbulbs with functioning, matching bulbs.
- Replace or repair broken ceiling and bathroom fans.
- Replace caulking.
- Repair any damaged grout.
- Replace rotten wood.
- Repair or replace broken doors or cabinets.
- Replace worn doorknobs or hinges, especially on the front door.
- Paint the front door an appealing color, maybe red.
- Fix leaking faucets.
- Clean the gutters.
- Pressure wash the porch, sidewalk, driveway, and exterior of your home.
- Replace air filters.
For more ideas of jobs you may want to be done for your home before you sell, please check out our realtor punch list service section on our site.
Perhaps you are a busy professional and don’t have the time to take a week or more off to do all the little repair jobs yourself—but you want the house to be show-ready ASAP. Or maybe you don’t have the experience or physical ability to do your repairs and you need a handyman to fix up your house before you sell it.
A good handyman company can knock out your punch list before you even list your house so that you can sell quickly and get the best possible price.
How to Depersonalize Your House for Sale without Losing Any Of Its Charm — by Homelight
Home Staging 101 — by For Sale by Owner