You’ve decided it’s time to sell your house. Now, you need to get it ready to go on the market. There are several measures you can take, inside and out, that will make it highly attractive to buyers.
You only get one chance to make a first impression on buyers, so the exterior of your house should radiate curb appeal. A well maintained house is very appealing to buyers, especially those who are looking for “move in ready.” When they see a beautiful exterior, they are much more likely to have positive expectations about the interior.
- Power wash the exterior of the house and clean out gutters, if needed. Keep the lawn cut, leaves raked, and the shrubs trimmed and free of debris. Weed and mulch flower beds. Sweep sidewalks and the driveway to keep walking paths clear. Neatness counts!
- The entrance should say, “Welcome, Please Come In.” Clean and paint the front door and any woodwork that shows signs of wear. Arrange flower pots around the front porch.
- If you have a deck or patio, make sure it is clean and tidy, especially if you have a grill. Clean outdoor furniture and decorate the deck or patio with flowers, if possible.
- If you have a garage, clean it out and get rid of excessive clutter. Garages often become the place that gets the least attention from home owners because, after all, it’s “just the garage.” However, a neat, clean garage sends a signal to buyers that you care about the condition of the entire property.
- Check under your house for any leaking pipes, insect damage or rotting wood. If necessary, have a licensed contractor make repairs. Also, check exterior faucets for leaks or damage.
- Even the condition of the mailbox communicates the condition of the house to buyers. Clean the mailbox post if it shows signs of dirt or mildew and replace the mailbox if it’s dented or worn out.
Once buyers have seen a beautiful exterior, they will be excited to tour the interior. Make sure the interior meets their expectations.
- Again, neatness counts! Nothing turns off buyers more quickly than dirt and clutter. Buyers will be impressed if the house is clean and tidy, especially the kitchen and bathrooms. If possible, replace worn fixtures and appliances. New, modern appliances can really enhance the look of your kitchen and new bathroom faucets can eliminate years of deterioration.
- De-clutter is not the same as de-personalize. Buyers are comfortable seeing some personal items that make your house a home, but they will not be comfortable if there is too much stuff in the way. When it comes to furniture, counters, and tabletops, less is more. They should be able to visualize their own personal furnishings in the home.
- Closets, too, should be neat and uncluttered. Store any out of season clothing or items you don’t need immediately. You’re moving anyway, so you might as well get a head start on packing. Attics and basements can be used for storage, but even they should be arranged neatly.
- Painting rooms is nice, but it’s necessary only if you have unusual colors or textures, or the paint is dirty. That deep purple bedroom or lime green bathroom could be a sticking point for buyers who see dollar signs to have rooms painted.
- Clean carpets, rugs, and hard surface floors. Replace any flooring or floor coverings that show signs of wear and tear.
- Wash windows and glass in doors, especially on the sunny side of the house where sunlight streaming in may expose dirt and streaks.
- Clean out the fireplace if it’s wood burning. Buyers will open fire screens to look at the inside of the fireplace. Make sure the hearth is clean and free of ashes, wood chips or other debris from the fire box.
- You love your pets, but they may be an issue for buyers who can be turned off by dog or cat hair or pet smells all over the house. Keep cat boxes clean and as much out of the way as possible, and clean up any excess hair or dirt left by pets. Even a dirty fish tank or bird cage could put off a buyer.
Sellers also need to have a handle on the financial status of their house. Too often, sellers are met with an unwelcome surprise when they find out at closing that they owe more on the house than they thought, cutting into the amount of money they expected to make.
- Check with your lender to ascertain the balance of your loan and if there are any late fees or penalties that will attach at settlement.
- Make sure there are no tax or mechanics liens on your property. If so, they will have to be paid prior to settlement.
- If you have an HOA/POA or Community Association, bring your dues and any special assessments levied by your association up-to-date.
The more appealing your house is, inside and out, the more likely you are to get a quick contract at a good price. Items that need to be repaired or replaced are red flags for buyers who will be adding up the dollars it will take to do the work, inviting a lowball offer or worse, no offer at all. One way to avoid nasty surprises when a potential buyer has a home inspection is to have a pre-listing inspection to uncover problems that can be addressed before you put your house on the market.
As your Realtors, we will advise you on preparing, pricing, showing, and negotiating offers. We will help you find reputable contractors to do any necessary work and market your property for maximum exposure, keeping you informed of buyer feedback and potential interest. We can suggest settlement agents who will take care of the paperwork and work with the buyer’s settlement agent to ensure a smooth transaction. We will be with you before, during and after the sale, answering any questions and concerns you have along the way. As your Realtors, we advocate for you every step of the way. We are ready to be of service to you!