What to do before Listing your Home
- Fix the small stuff. We like to call it adding a bit of lipstick. Repair or replace broken/outdated hardware throughout your home. You can install new door handles, faucets, towel bars, and curtain rods – fixtures that are readily visible to homebuyers – rather inexpensively. Another quick way to update is to upgrade the lighting. Install new bright light bulbs for those darker rooms, and add a few more lamps! Get a few cheap lamps at Walmart or HomeSense, it is amazing how a few lamps really brighten up a room. Lastly, is painting, a simple, well-done, paint job makes a world of a difference. Put a fresh coat of paint on white or beige walls, and repaint walls that have eccentric or unconventional colors. Neutral colors are the way to go, such as taupe, off-white, or subtle gray are the best choices. I have seen homes with lime green kitchens, bright yellow master bedrooms, and old marked up walls. To a buyer, it is difficult to see past the colors. When we list a home, we bring in a Stager to consult with you and give you ideas as well, but these things I have mentioned are great to do while you are getting started.
- Start Packing. Declutter, declutter, declutter! Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Start by storing away excess furniture, toys and personal decorations such as family photos. Pack up things you don’t use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering and depersonalizing your house also gives you a head start on your move.
- Estimates. These types of estimates are about what it’ll cost to replace the stuff in your home that’s on its last legs — like the furnace, roof or water heater. You may not be prepared to overhaul worn-out items now, but knowing how much it will cost could give you an edge in negotiations. You know, they say they want a cool $10,000 off the asking price when you know an update will only cost half that.
- Make it sparkle. Cleanliness implies a home has been well taken care of, so deep cleaning can win points with buyers. Buyers scrutinize homes, especially kitchens and bathrooms. Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors. Tidy each room, including cabinets, closets and the garage. Get detailed, dust on top of the fireplace mantle and fan blades, polish your appliances and faucets, and give the windows a thorough washing.
And if it seems daunting to do all that cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of all of it for you.
- Curb Appeal. Go outside! More than one buyer has decided not to even enter a home based on its curb appeal, so make sure your home’s exterior looks welcoming. Trim your shrubs, weed your flower beds, pick-up the dog poop, fix any peeling paint and keep the walkway clear. Just adding a row of potted plants along the walkway or a cheerful wreath to your front door can make a big difference.
- Hiding everyday items. Before a showing or open house, make sure to put away the every-day items. Don’t leave children’s toys, move litter boxes, pet dishes, animal crates and kids’ entertainment to less conspicuous areas of the home, such as an outdoor storage unit or garage. Also, think about where you can store things like dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges.
- Set the table. Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. Also, keep place settings handy for your tables so you can quickly set them out right before showings or an open house. Pull out all the formal stops for a dining room, and keep the table casual in the kitchen.
- Hide the pets. Almost everybody loves pets, except the home buyer who is buying your house. If someone is allergic, scared, or nervous around a pet, they could automatically say no to your house. During an open house or showing, find them a new spot to locate. Either take them on a walk, to a family/friends or kennel.