How to Get a House Ready to Sell

ResidentialCalendarDecember 13, 2018

When it’s time to sell your home, there’s a bit more work to do than just contacting a realtor. If you’re thinking about how to get a house ready to sell, we’ll lay out some of the top tips for you. These are best practices in preparing a house for sale, which will add both curb appeal and price value to your home. 

While a lot goes into selling real estate, smaller things add up to make a bigger impact than one major remodel. In fact, deciding to overhaul the entire kitchen just before putting your house on the market might seem like a good idea, but you might actually sink more money into it than you earn back from your buyers. 

There are ways to improve the house and spruce it up for the next owners without breaking the bank for the current owner (you). Here are 12 tips for getting a house ready to sell. 

How to Get a House Ready to Sell: Declutter

1. To keep, or not to keep

Go through everything you own and decide what you want to hang on to and what can be donated, recycled, or tossed. Getting rid of a few boxes of stuff you never use or wear anyway will make your house more appealing to buyers. 

Decluttered rooms increase how spacious a house feels and leave emptiness for possibility in the mind of your buyer. Leave space for them to imagine their own belongings snug in their new home. 

Since you’re moving soon, decluttering also helps to cut down on the number of loads you’ll have to move from the old house to the new house. 

2. Use a storage facility

If you’ve gone through everything and you still have too much going on visually, put half of your belongings in storage. That means you’ll have closets, drawers, and cabinets that are only half full. Again, this will maximize the feeling of openness and possibility for your potential buyers. 

3. Depersonalize your house 

Obviously, your family photos and the weird/wonderful sculpture your 5-year-old made for you are not clutter. But to make a house appealing, buyers have to be able to imagine the house as their home. 

Seeing framed photos of strangers and memorabilia makes it seem very much like someone else’s home. Which, of course it is. But you want to minimize that point so that their minds are free to imagine where their own family portraits might go. 

4. Remove busy furniture and decorations

Are you a big fan of faux animal print rugs and tribal masks? Or can you just not get enough flower prints and patterns? That’s A-OK. You be you. But when it’s time to declutter your home as a potential real estate investment, it’s good to reign in your personal taste and dial down any busyness. 

These might be good items to put in storage right away to create a wide-open pallet for interested buyers to paint their projected futures on. 

Boost Buyers’ Opinions: Clean and Tidy

5. Call in the pros

While you can do the cleaning, hiring a professional cleaning crew will benefit you. They will be able to see things you’re blind to. Plus, they’re true pros. So, they’ll do a better job deep cleaning than you would. 

Hire a carpet cleaning crew, too. Their heavy-duty shampooing machines can get rid of old stains you thought would never budge. Clean, fresh carpets are a huge visual boost for buyers. Plus, it helps every room smell clean and fresh. 

6. Don’t forget the outside 

Cleaning up the front and backyard to get rid of unused toys or tools is a major part of making a house presentable. Some extra lawn maintenance would also be well advised.  

Weed and do light landscaping, such as planting flowers. You don’t have to install a Greek garden complete with a water-pouring statue and a koi pond. Keep it simple. 

7. Pets out for the day

Even though Mugsy and Twinkle are part of the family, not everyone is an animal person. If a non-pet owner is greeted by the loving paws of a four-legged friend, they might see the house as inherently dirty. 

Pet hair and house-training accidents do have a way of adding up. Though the house will be spotless for showing, taking your pets to daycare or a friend’s house for the day will open your house up to more potential buyers. 

Paint and Fix Up to Prep Your House for Sale 

8. Curb appeal is powerful

The most important thing in selling a home is curb appeal. If the exterior needs a fresh coat of paint, it’s worth spending the money on a professional paint job. If the front looks rundown, potential buyers might keep rolling on down the street. 

9. Tips for painting the interior  

Try to use neutral colors when adding a fresh coat of paint inside. If the kids’ rooms have crazy, fun colors, it’s time to take a few pictures for memory and cover them up with a nice shade of beige. 

Again, you want to present a clean slate where buyers can picture their own lives unfolding without putting in too much upfront work. 

10. The little things 

Fix little annoying broken things you’ve been living with forever and hardly notice anymore (the leaky faucet, squeaky hinges, and sticky doors and windows). Too many of these points against you could leave a bad impression on buyers, and they don’t take much effort to fix.

Stage Your House to Sell

11. Prioritize the kitchen - it’s a deal-breaker

Though it’s not a good idea to sink too much into a complete kitchen overhaul, a few minor touch-ups will go a long way. Try replacing one major appliance, or simply adding new cabinet fixtures and a new faucet.

12. Gather important information from your solar provider 

If you own or lease a rooftop solar system, reach out to your solar provider for details on the system and suggestions for how to show the value of solar to potential home buyers. 

With this information, you can add the value of the system to the selling price (only if you own the system) or seek out buyers interested in taking over the payments for a solar loan or lease. 

It’s a good idea to have a past electricity bill handy to show potential buyers the monthly energy savings you enjoy with the solar panels. Read this article for more details on buying and selling a home with solar panels.

Soon, you’ll be packing up the second half of your belongings and moving on to your new house.

 

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