While it may still be a bit chilly out, the birds are starting to sing and flower bulbs are starting to poke their noses out of the ground, and that means it's time to get serious if you are thinking about putting your home on the market to sell this spring. Rolling up your sleeves and getting your house's interior ready before it hits the market can give your property the boost it needs to spend as little time on the market as possible.
When your home is listed for sale, it becomes a product; and similar to any product you can find in a store, there is competition. To put yourself ahead of the competition you must be priced correctly and have more appeal than the other properties that buyers are viewing.
Finding a great REALTOR® to work with, and listening to their advice is a great way to ensure that your house is priced correctly. And a staging professional can be a great way to enhance your property, but what if you're on a tighter budget? Have no fear! With a little bit of planning and some elbow grease, you can get your house in prime condition to sell quickly.
It's time to start distancing yourself emotionally from the property and get it ready for the next family to call it home.
Step One: Declutter and Depersonalize
Break out the moving boxes and packing tape to get your home ready to show and your belongings organized for your own move by packing everything you can live without for the next few months (I'm looking at you Ferris Wheel Cupcake Stand).
As winter comes to a close, go ahead and pack your cold weather gear so it's ready to move to your new home and clear up valuable space in your closets. Potential homebuyers WILL open closet doors, so show them how much space there is and not your collection of old sweatshirts.
If you've got 20 novels on the built-in shelving in your living room, leave two or three and pack up the rest so that the space stands out, not your reading list.
Remove your collection of magnets and Junior's artwork from the fridge and consider packing up most of your family photographs from the walls. As much as they make you warm and fuzzy, they can distract a potential buyer from visualizing their family in the space.
Pay special attention to bathroom clutter and consider using a toiletry bag to keep things organized so that you don't have to scramble to tidy up when your Realtor calls to tell you they have scheduled a showing.
Limiting the amount of items in your kitchen cabinets and clearing the counters of most of your appliances will open the potential buyer's eyes and help you to keep things organized and ready to show.
Consider renting a storage unit so that you can keep all these boxes you're filling up out of the house and show off the available space even more. This is a great time to clear out space by donating some of your lesser used items to a thrift store or a friend in need, plus it's less you'll have to unpack when you move.
Happiness is a freshly cleaned house.n
Step Two: Clean, Clean, Clean
Now that you've gotten a big jump on your packing, and opened up plenty of space to show off, it's time to break open the cleaning supplies. This may be the least exciting thing to do, but it will pay dividends when your house is shown.
Start in one area and scrub EVERYTHING from top to bottom one room at a time until Mr. Clean is envious of your sparkling house. Here are some things to pay special attention to:
- Ceiling fans, light bulbs and fixtures (you know the one with the graveyard of bugs)
- Wash the walls from top to bottom (this will also help you find where you might need to fill in some holes where your artwork was hanging)
- The bathroom: Scrub it until your elbow falls off… and then scrub some more, nobody wants to see a dirty bathroom. Pay special attention to any stains around plumbing fixtures
- As winter comes to a close, clean that fireplace or woodstove so that it looks new again.
- Have any carpets steam cleaned, consider hiring a professional for this, especially if you have pets.
- Scrub and polish any hard floors until they shine.
- replace/clean any air filters to prevent more dust from accumulating
A fresh, neutral coat of paint could have the best possible return on investment.
Step Three: Repair and Repaint
Now that you've got your house as clean as Martha Stewart's home, open all of your blinds, turn on every light, and walk through your property making a list of things that need your attention. This is a great time to have an expert Realtor do a walk-through with you and help you decide which projects need your focus before your house hits the market.
Some repairs/updates to consider are:
- If the deep cleaning wasn't enough, consider refinishing your hardwood floors and/or replacing your carpets.
- Replace your cabinets or give them a fresh coat of paint and new modern hardware.
- Are your kitchen appliances outdated and need to be updated?
- If space is limited in your bathroom, consider replacing a clunky vanity sink with a smaller, more elegant pedestal sink.
- Does your bathroom have avocado green or salmon pink tile??? Consider having the tile professionally painted or replaced.
- Pay special attention to your fireplace/woodstove and chimney.
- Painting the walls to a more neutral color helps to appeal to a broader group of buyers (off-white isn't the only neutral color anymore)
- Make the master bedroom gender neutral, so everyone can feel welcome and comfortable.
- Find and complete all of your unfinished projects, they will stand out now that your house is so clean.
Treat your home as a luxury hotel and wow any potential buyers when they view your property
Step Four: Staging your Home
After you've completed all of your repairs and updates, it's time to set up your house for showings. Arranging the furniture and belongings that remain in the best possible manner will give the potential buyers the perception of more space and open their eyes to the potential of your property.
- Bring the furniture away from the walls and create intimate, comfortable arrangements.
- Great lighting will make a huge impact. Consider adding some strategic floor lamps to fill in any gaps in the lighting. Replacing some of your lower wattage bulbs with brighter lights might be just the boost you need.
- It's time to be picky about what's on your walls, consider renting or purchasing some great art from one of the talented artists in the area or asking their advice in how to properly display what you already have.
- Add splashes of color with bright, elegant accent pieces to draw a person's focus to certain areas you want to highlight.
- Utilize fresh flowers around the house wherever you can.
- Turn awkward or unused corners (that nook under the staircase) into functional space instead of a dropping point for clutter.
- Set up rooms to have one functional purpose, turn that room that used to house all of your extra stuff into an office space or reading area.
- Consider buying a white shower curtain and towels to make the bathroom brighter and cleaner.
Be proud of the work you've done, but don't rest quite yet.
Step Five: Stay Clean and Stay Ready
Now that your home is market ready, don't get too comfortable. Being ready to allow your Realtor to show your house at any time will take some effort, but it will set you apart from others on the market and get your home sold more quickly.
Have a plan:
- Where can you take the dog while the house is being shown?
- Is the kid's room decluttered enough that you don't have to dodge Legos to walk across the room.
- Keep your closets organized, and your counters decluttered.
- If you have enough time, baking a loaf of bread or some cookies will make your house smell wonderful… If you don't have enough time or energy, doing a couple of loads of laundry might make your home smell welcoming.
- Make a checklist of things to do or tidy up before they show up, so you don't forget to take the smelly garbage outside.
- Get yourself out of the house, the showing will go better if you are not there. Maybe it's the perfect time to head down to Chico and relax after all that hard work you've done.
Now that you're in the habit of living in a ready-to-show house and most of your packing is done, you are ready to move into your own new home and a fresh start. If you need any advice, drop on by Maverick Realty and we'll help you get your property sold and help you find your new home as well.
Here are some additional resources to help you get started:n
21 Staging tips for Selling Your Home Fast
11 Frugal Ideas for Staging a Home