While my mind is still fresh with our first home sale, I wanted to put together a helpful post on how to get YOUR home ready to sell! If you’ve been following along, you may have heard that we sold our home in ONE day! (We had over 200 people walk through our home and didn’t even have an open house! They were all private showings!) I can’t say it was easy getting up to that day but hopefully, this post will help you have a smooth home prep and selling experience!
We completely renovated our first home (a 1970s ranch) in 2014. (Read the entire blog post about this, here!) But even in that little bit of time after the renovations, our home still needed some maintenance to get it in its tip-top shape for selling!
1. Landscape and weed outdoor areas
This one was a huge one. Kevin and I aren’t the best landscapers and truly hate the upkeep, so our landscaping wasn’t in the best condition. Some of our larger trees were dying or overgrown and we hadn’t yet taken care of the flower beds. Thankfully, our realtors are really good friends of ours and took a FULL day trimming trees, cleaning the landscaping up, adding mulch, edging the yard, and making the exterior look great! My dad even used his pressure washer to freshen up the patio and garden/fireplace stones – they looked brand new! It turned out amazing! The previous year we painted the trim, so this wasn’t in need, but make sure to assess if yours needs painting or touch-ups!
2. Declutter the entire home
Thankfully my husband and I like to live on the lighter side. We hate clutter. So this wasn’t the worst task for us. My mom and I took on most of the interior packing and cleaning, ourselves, and it truly made a difference! I’d recommend donating or selling items that you know you won’t be using in your new home!
3. Deep clean nearly everything in the home
You know that corner that you haven’t dusted in years? It’s time to dust it. You want potential buyers to feel like your home is brand new and so clean. Scrubbing the floors, getting rid of cobwebs in the basement/attic, and cleaning nearly every inch of every room you have is really important. No one wants to buy a dirty home. Another option is to hire a cleaning crew, but we wanted to make our move the most budget-friendly as possible so my mom and I took care of this part! (Quick note: Make sure to use no fragrance or light fragrance products!)
4. Clean the carpets
Either professionally or by yourself. I vacuumed, spot cleaned and kept vacuuming daily to ensure the carpets looked the best they could.
5. Touch up paint
Walls, trim, miscellaneous woodwork, the exterior, etc. It’s very important to give your home a fresh touch-up!
DECORATING & STAGING
I naturally decorate with more “open” pieces that make our spaces feel bigger. I’m not a big fan of heavy furniture or pieces that sit close to the floor. This was a huge help to our realtor, who said he didn’t need to stage our furniture at all!
If your home isn’t very neutral, it might be best to consider painting or updating any rooms that are a bold color. Buyers need to picture themselves inside the home and it’s harder to do when every room is a different color. We decided not to repaint our master bedroom which was dark purple, but that was really the only room that wasn’t neutral and no one that walked through mentioned the color choice.
7. Eliminate the busy
Clutter is not a great selling point. Pack away or hide things that aren’t pleasing to the eye. The more clear a space is, the better a prospective buyer can imagine their decor in that space.
8. Make each space look as large as possible
Rearrange furniture and other items as needed. We moved one chair from our sitting room and put it in the front hall. It opened up the room and made it feel so much larger.
9. Remove pet supplies
Some people are not extremely excited to buy a home that has had pets living in it. For that reason, we gathered the dog bowls and toys with us whenever we left for the showing days.
10. Add plants
Adding greenery, whether real or artificial, really helps make a house feel like a home.
11. Stage simply
As mentioned, we didn’t have to add any furniture in, but if you do – make sure it is on-trend (or classic) and isn’t too big for each space in the home.
12. Sightly depersonalize
If your children’s photos are in every single room, on every wall, that may be too much. We left a small number of our photos around the home and it turned out great!
13. Have professional photos taken
This is huge! We had a professional take the photos but they came back with such odd coloring. I took each photo and adjusted the colors to reflect the true to life coloring that they should have been! If we weren’t on such a time crunch, I would have demanded that he adjust them himself, but we needed the photos within a few hours and I knew I could edit them just as good, if not better than he could. Thankfully they turned out really well after they were re-colored!
HOME SHOWING PREP
We were very blessed to only have two days of showings. No open homes. And literally had our winning offer on Day 1! But most people aren’t so lucky. Below are the tips I recommend for prepping for home showings.
14. Clear surfaces
Again, having no clutter is necessary in order to get your home ready to sell! At the least, shove it in a cabinet/drawer. The home needs to look clean and invite the prospective buyer to picture themself living there.
15. Keep all cabinets, drawers, and closets neat and tidy
Closets were an important one for our home. We had a smaller master closet that we used as my closet and Kevin use the closet in his office. We didn’t want prospective buyers to think they needed to do the same so we packed up many of my clothes from the master closet and added Kevin’s clothing. It immediately transformed the closet into a couple’s closet instead of making it look like a small closet for one person.
16. Make beds
This should hopefully be common sense, but I’m putting it here just in case. Please, please, make all your beds beautifully. It will truly help you get your home ready to sell.
17. Keep up with the dishes
Imagine this: a potential buyer is walking through your home and sees your dishwasher. They open it and you have smelly dishes sitting inside. They get a rush of old food smell and are immediately turned off. Nasty, right? We don’t want that. Make sure your dishes are clean before you leave your home for showings!
18. Keep up with the laundry
Same thing here. Don’t keep smelly laundry in hampers, in the laundry room, etc. Make sure everything is cleaned and put away.
19. Wipe down all counters daily
Crumbs? No thanks! Make sure all the surfaces are clean and inviting daily.
20. Sweep/Vacuum daily
We sold our home in late autumn where leaves are so prevalent. We had to keep our floors clean daily or they would have looked messy and unappealing.
21. Clean mirrors daily
I don’t know why, but I swear our mirrors get dirty daily. Keep cleaning them and you’ll be on the path to success.
22. Keep a Rubbermaid storage container for extras
An amazing help was keeping an empty storage container to show all the extra clutter or dog toys, etc. into. We typically just threw the stuff in, put it in the car and left for the day.
23. Open all curtains and blinds
It’s harder to sell homes that are dark and dreary. When you open all your curtains and blinds, you can let natural light in which really attracts potential buyers!
24. Turn on all the lights
Another must-have. Surprisingly enough, realtors recommend having the lights on even during the day.
25. Leave your home in perfect condition for showings
Using all my tips above, I’m pretty confident you’ll be leaving your home in perfect condition and ready to sell!
Wow! That was a lot! We used all these tips when we got our home ready to sell and I hope you find these helpful for you as well! Have any additional tips that I may have missed? I’d love to hear.
Have a wonderful day!
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