8 Tips for Getting Your House Ready to List

New landscape design installed before listing the home for sale.

1. Boost curb appeal.

First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to selling your home. In fact, a buyer’s first impression of your home may even be their only impression... Many buyers will drive by a house that they saw online before deciding whether or not they want to move forward with scheduling a showing. How a home is taken care of on the outside is usually a good indicator as to what they’ll find inside. Chipped paint on the front door? Cobwebs on the porch? Dingy mailbox? Now is the time to take care of all those maintenance items that you’ve been putting off for a while!
  • A freshly painted door and trim will go a long way
  • Add some colorful flowers to your front porch along with a seasonal wreath and cheery welcome mat.
  • Make sure your lawn is freshly mowed, edges trimmed and your garden beds weeded.
  • Consider pressure washing the deck, fence, and any dirty siding. Pressure washers can be rented very inexpensively from your local home improvement store for the day.
  • Ensure all exterior lights have working light bulbs and consider replacing old exterior lighting fixtures for a more modern look.

2. Let the sunshine in.

Gone are the days of your grandmother’s heavy, floral drapes. Dark houses tend to turn buyers off and exude a cold, unfriendly vibe. Think light, bright, and happy.
  • Remove any heavy window treatments and replace them with something more modern and breezy or leave them off entirely.
  • Open the shades, clean the windows, and bring the outdoor light in.
  • Keep the lighting soft, too. Nothing looks good in bright, fluorescent lighting. Dimmer switches are your friend.

3. Clean out your closets.

Let’s face it; we all want more storage space in our homes. You do not want buyers to think they will outgrow the space before they even move in because your closets are overflowing with stuff. Keep your closets to 50% capacity and aligned with their purpose. Linens go in the linen closet. Only clothes and shoes go in the master closet. Food goes in the pantry. Buyers will snoop and you want to convey that if they live in your home, their life will take on this wonderful, Zen-like order. Use matching hangers, organize clothes so that they are facing the same direction, and get rid of the dry cleaner plastic. Not sure where to put all the extra stuff? Consider renting a storage unit. With your house this orderly, you may not even want to sell anymore!

Female homeowner cleaning out closets, decluttering and depersonalizing.

4. Declutter & depersonalize.

Potential buyers want to picture themselves making your house their home. Therefore it’s important to showcase your home and not your stuff. Neutralize your space while still making it feel warm and inviting.
  • Keep your counters clean, get rid of the piles of magazines and books, and limit the number of personal items and keepsakes you have throughout the house.
  • Remove all the pictures, reminders, and calendars showcased on the refrigerator.
  • Keep the furniture pieces to a minimum as well. You do not want the rooms in your house to feel overcrowded.

5. Make your house sparkle.

This should be a given, but if there was ever a time to clean like company is coming, now is the time. This means cleaning floors and baseboards, wiping down surfaces, cleaning showers and toilets, etc. Your house should be so clean that potential buyers are wondering if you are actually living there. A clean home conveys to buyers that you have taken great pride in caring for your home.

6. Fix the small stuff.

Take care of all minor repairs before listing your house. Torn door screen? Cracked window? Closet doors off the hinge? All of these little things add up and prospective buyers will be keeping a mental tally of everything when considering whether or not they want to write an offer.

7. Fresh paint.

Interior painting is one of the most budget friendly upgrades that can transform your home into a more modern space and give you the greatest return on your investment. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Check out this blog post for paint color inspiration!

8. Eliminate overpowering odors.

Funky smells are one of the first things prospective buyers notice upon entering a home and they can be an instant deal breaker. You want your home to smell clean and fresh, but avoid strong scented candles and air fresheners that people can be sensitive to. Try to avoid cooking right before a showing is scheduled.

Most importantly, remember that your home is a reflection of you. Put your best effort forth to reap the greatest value for your home!

Contact us, if you're looking to sell your home and need help!

Contributed by Mark Siwiec Real Estate Sales Executive Erin Duffy Kruss
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