Are you thinking about listing your home? When it’s time to sell, you want the house to make a great impression, so you attract sensational offers. (Read my article, Selling a Home for Top Dollar: 5 Myths and Facts) Over my 20-year real estate career, I learned what buyers look for in a home. When I meet with home sellers, I recommend these six things to do before listing. Some of these tips are surprisingly easy, while others require a good amount time and labor. Yes, it will take some work, but rest assured, the work is worth it, especially if you’re shooting for the most cash. Here’s my ultimate checklist of things to do before selling a house.
Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal
You want to wow potential buyers from the get-go. So, make sure the first impression of your home is a positive one. Attractive curb appeal will pique their interest and motivate them to tour the inside of the house. Curb appeal projects with high return on investment include:
- Planting colorful flowers by the front entry
- Repainting or replacing the front door and/or garage door (Read more repainting advice.)
- Mowing, fertilizing, and controlling weeds in the lawn
- Updating landscaping with fresh mulch, shrubs, etc.
- Adding patio furniture as a welcoming place to sit and relax
- Pressure washing the patio, deck, porch, walkways and home exterior
You are accustomed to seeing your home every day, but a real estate agent sees it with a fresh perspective and expert eye. If you’re not sure what steps to take to improve your home’s curb appeal, ask your real estate agent for ideas. Updating the exterior of your house is one of the best ways to attract the attention of a home buyer.
Declutter the Home’s Living Areas
Piles of clutter tend to develop over time. When you get your house ready for a showing, you need to declutter. Why? Because a potential home buyer needs to see that the house has enough space and storage to accommodate their needs. No, you don’t need to get rid of everything! After all, a house with a lived-in feel typically sells faster than an empty house. Decluttering projects with high return on investment include:
- Clear off all visible areas like countertops, windowsills, desks, and tables
- Use a tray for remotes and small items
- Reduce or remove the items behind closed doors like cupboards, closets, and drawers
Decluttering will make your house look more appealing to buyers. Plus, you’ll have an easier time moving out once you have an accepted offer. Some of your possessions will already be packed into boxes for the move or given away.
Deep Clean Everything Inside and Out
Homes that are decluttered and deep cleaned sell for more money. So, take the time to clean your house from top to bottom. The extra effort will be worth it! If time is short, consider hiring a professional cleaning service to deep clean you home before a showing. Cleaning projects high return on investment include:
- Take out the garbage and eliminate any sources of foul odors
- Sweep, vacuum and wash floors; spot clean carpets
- Wash the windows and open the curtains to let in natural light
- Clean the bathrooms and remove hard-water stains
- Thoroughly wipe down all surfaces: sinks, countertops, stove, etc.
- Make the beds and pick up everything on the bedroom floors
- Dust the furniture and surfaces
Depersonalize Your Home
When prepping your home to sell, remove the items that might distract potential buyers. You want the potential buyers to envision themselves living in the house, but they won’t feel at home if they see your personal items like family photos, flashy artwork, or odd-ball furniture. By depersonalizing your home, you make it more appealing to a wider range of home buyers. Try to create a blank canvas, so buyers are more likely to envision themselves living there and loving it. Depersonalization projects with high return on investment include:
- Hang a couple timeless pieces of art throughout the house
- Add life and color to the living room with green house plants
- Arrange the furniture and area rugs so the living room looks welcoming and comfortable
- Get an amazing piece of furniture to create a finished look
- Set the kitchen/dining room table with classy dishes, glassware, silverware, placemats and an attractive centerpiece
- Dress up the bathroom with decorative hand soap and an attractive basket of towels
Repaint Walls to Neutral Tones
A fresh coat of paint does wonders to any room. When selecting paint colors, choose neutral tones. You might love that olive accent wall, but it can be a turnoff for the next home owner. With neutral paint colors on the walls and ceilings, potential buyers can project their own vision for the rooms. Your job as a home seller is to help buyers feel comfortable in your house. If they can’t picture themselves living in the house, they will keep looking at other homes on the real estate market.
Choose Your Real Estate Agent Wisely
Today’s hot real estate market makes it tempting to forego a real estate agent and instead sell the house yourself. However, For Sale by Owner transactions are loaded with pitfalls, so it’s better to have a competent real estate agent at your side. One of the most important things to do before selling your home is to choose the right real estate company and real estate agent to work with. Read my article, Want to Choose the Best Real Estate Broker? Follow These 4 Tips.
Your real estate agent should be someone you feel comfortable around. The real estate agent should be personable, experienced, trustworthy, and knowledgeable about real estate in your area. Check reviews, do some online research, and ask family and friends for referrals. Then, interview the agents to see if they’re a good fit. Lastly, compare the commission rate. You can save thousands of dollars by working with a low commission real estate agent.
Get the Home-Selling Process Started
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it’s time to sell a home, but the right real estate agent can smooth out the path to an accepted offer. Get the home-selling process started with these six tips and a call to Terri Balistriere, broker/owner of Express Realty, for your free Comparative Market Analysis.
About Express Realty: Express Realty is a Green Bay, Wisconsin, real estate company offering lower commission rates without compromising quality. Broker/owner Terri Balistriere fell in love with real estate when she and her husband flipped homes 20 year ago. Since that time, she has helped hundreds of Northeast Wisconsin residents fulfill their real estate goals. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate, Terri Balistriere is ready to help. Contact Express Realty, your Northeast Wisconsin real estate professional serving Brown County, Oconto County, Outagamie County, Sheboygan County, and Manitowoc County. Express Realty’s professional real estate services cover De Pere, Green Bay, Bellevue, Hobart, Allouez, Suamico, Pulaski, Little Suamico, Chase, Freedom, Wrightstown, Wrightstown, Little Chute, Kaukauna, Appleton, Oshkosh, and Sheboygan.