Simple steps to take today to increase the value of your home and lead to a quick sale.
My husband and I have moved several times throughout our marriage. We joke that we can only stay in a home five years before it is time to move again.
Over the years, we have sold a total of five houses:
Two houses sold in less than three months.
One house sold in less than a month.
Another sold in less than a week.
And our fastest sale? Just Three Days!
When I say we sold our house in three days, I mean we had a contract on the house. Of course, it took longer for the closing.
How did we do it? What was our secret?
How we sold our house quickly
We Purchased the Right House.
The sale of your house begins when you purchase your home. All the homes we have owned we bought at a reasonable price. We also chose the smallest or least expensive homes in good neighborhoods.
We Sold It at a Fair Price.
Before selling our home, we checked other comparable houses in the area and priced ours accordingly. None of the homes were sold at a loss and looking back; we can say that each house was a financially good investment for our family. We never sold a house looking to make a huge profit. If we had, it would have taken much longer to sell. Instead, we sold at a price that was fair to both the buyer and the seller.
It’s Always a Buyer’s Market.
Our houses sold in different economies – some in a buyer’s market and some in a seller’s market. What we discovered is that no matter the economy, it’s always a buyer’s market!
Even in the worst economies, there are still buyers. Your house just has to be the one they want to buy!
It must stand out above the rest of the houses on the market. It has to be a home that prospective buyers can see themselves living in and can’t wait to purchase.
Six Simple Steps to Prepare Your Home to Sell
Before you put your home on the market, you need to prepare your home to sell.
With a little bit of money and some hard work, you can add to your home’s value, improve its appearance, and increase your chances for a quick and profitable sale.
Follow these 6 Simple Steps to Prepare Your Home for Sale:
1. Clear the Clutter
The first thing you need to do is eliminate the clutter. Prospective buyers need to see your home, not your stuff! Get rid of items you no longer want and pack away things you don’t need right now. Your home will appear more spacious and inviting.
For more tips on eliminating clutter check out 5 Reasons We Hang on to Stuff and How to Let It Go.
Remove any personal items such as pictures, religious objects, etc. You want buyers to focus on the home itself. You want buyers to see themselves living in the home.
When it comes to selling your home, there are two types of clutter:
- Items you no longer need, want, or use but haven’t gotten rid of yet.
- Anything that distracts buyers and prevents them from really seeing the house.
These are things you want to keep. However, they should be stored away for now.
You’re selling your home, so you’ll be moving. Why not start preparing for that move today? Pack now and you’ll have less to pack later.
Here is a list of items you should consider getting rid of or packing away for your move.
Items to Throw Away, Sell, or Donate:
- Clothes and shoes that no longer fit, are out of style, or you no longer wear.
- Obsolete electronics: Old computers, fax machines, televisions, stereo equipment, phones, answering machines, etc.
- Broken items. Either repair them now or dispose of them.
- Anything you have not used in the past 12-24 months.
- Anything you will not need in your new home.
Items to Pack for your move:
- Out of season clothing and shoes. Anything you will not wear in the next six months.
- Books, CDs & DVDs.
- Seldom used cookware and small appliances.
- Any kitchen utensils you only use occasionally.
- Anything on the front of the refrigerator – magnets, pictures, memos, etc.
- Collectibles and Valuables – You will have a lot of strangers walking through your house. Don’t give them a reason to come back for an uninvited visit!
- Personal Items – photographs, trophies, medals, certificates, religious items, souvenirs, and family heirlooms.
- Extra Linens – keep only two sets of sheets for each bed. If you have an abundance of towels, consider packing some away. Your linen closet will look neater with less occupying its space.
2. Clean Your House so that it Sparkles.
Once the clutter is gone, make your house shines by doing a thorough cleaning. Imagine spring cleaning on steroids! You want to clean every inch of your home which will require some time and a lot of elbow grease. You may want to consider paying a professional cleaning service to do it. It is money well spent!
Here is a list of areas that need cleaning:
- Wash windows inside and out.
- Clean away all cobwebs from corners and ceilings.
- Have carpets professionally cleaned. Don’t skimp here and try to do them yourself. You can never get them as clean as a professional can.
- Wax floors.
- Dust ceiling fan blades and clean all light fixtures.
- Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
- Wipe away smudges on doors and walls.
- Make sure the fireplace is clean.
- Scrub the baseboards.
- Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of all appliances – refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, and oven.
- Consider replacing dirty drip pans under the burners of the stove. Also, don’t forget to pull off the stove knobs and polish them.
- Wipe down all cabinets, inside and out.
- Clean the washer and dryer – even if these are not included in the sale of the house.
3. Fix it!
Even the small repairs can make a big difference when it comes to selling your home. You want your house in the best shape possible.
Here is a list of items that may need repair in your home:
- Repair doors that don’t close properly.
- Adjust any cabinet doors and drawers that do not open and close smoothly.
- Replace burned-out light bulbs.
- Re-caulk tubs, showers, and sinks, if needed.
- Check for cracks in tiles.
- Repair any cracks, holes or other damage to walls.
- Replace any cracked windows.
- Clean or paint any stains on ceilings.
- Replace any worn or dated cabinet knobs and handles.
4. Create Curb Appeal.
With a little spruce on the outside, you can maximize your home’s curb appeal and improve the buyer’s first impression of your home.
The outside appearance of your home is your first opportunity to convince the potential buyer that this is the home for them. You want them excited to see the house from the moment they drive up.
Luckily, it doesn’t cost much to make a lasting first impression. It does, however, take a little bit of work and attention.
To create a pleasing curb appeal, be sure to do the following:
- Mow the yard.
- Rake the leaves.
- Trim trees and bushes.
- Pressure wash sidewalk and driveway.
- Weed flower beds.
- Mulch flower beds.
- Add a planter filled with flowers. Yellow is welcoming and is a great color choice for flowers.
- Greet your potential buyers with a “Welcome” mat.
- Sweep the front porch. Make sure there are no lingering cobwebs.
- Clean the Front Door.
- Polish doorknobs and knocker.
- Check that the entry lights and doorbell are working correctly.
5. Decorate your home with the buyer in mind.
With some simple and inexpensive decorating ideas, you can create a home that appeals to buyers.
Here are some ways to decorate a house that buyers will love
- Create a focal point – Rearrange your furniture to focus on the area of the room with the best feature, such as a fireplace or window seat. If you can’t decide on a focal point, arrange the furniture in a way that will create the best traffic flow.
- Make it Light and Bright – Increase the bulb wattage in all your lamps and light fixtures to their maximum wattage recommendation. Add a small table lamp or floor lamp to brighten the dark corners of a room.
- Fresh Flowers – Placing a vase of fresh flowers on a table in your entryway, living room, or dining room will add a welcoming touch to your home.
- Plants – Adding plants creates a homey atmosphere. However, to prevent your home from looking like a jungle, limit the number of plants to just one or two per room.
- Give your bathroom “Spa Appeal” – Use your best hand towels and bathmats. (If your towels look faded and frayed, invest in a new set to use just for showings.) Consider adding decorative baskets, rolled-up towels, and candles to give the room a spa feeling. If your bathroom is small though, keep these items to a minimum or the room will look cluttered.
- Accessories – When decorating, remember to group items that are similar in shape, color, or texture into groups of 3, 5, or 7. Arrange them in a triangle shape with the largest items toward the back, followed by medium-size items in the middles, and smallest pieces in the front.
- Set the Table – Make your buyers feel at home by setting the table as you would for company.
- Little Touches – Adding simple decorative touches can make a big difference in the appearance of your home. Add a bowl of fruit to the breakfast table, place a colorful cookbook on the counter, or drape a cozy throw on a comfy chair in the den. These little touches subtly tell the buyer this is a home they will enjoy living in.
- Keep it Simple – You have worked hard to declutter. Don’t add too many decorating accessories or your house will exhibit that cluttered look again. Remember to choose just a few accessories to create the homey atmosphere you want your home to display.
Maintenance Routines to Keep Your Home Ready to Show
Now that your home is clutter-free, clean and “show ready”, keep it that way through daily and weekly maintenance.
- Keep your lawn looking its best. In the spring and summer keep the yard mowed, the bushes trimmed and the beds weeded. And don’t forget to water the grass during the hot summer months. In the fall, keep the leaves raked up.
- Pick up after your pets. You don’t want potential buyers stepping on something they shouldn’t!
- Sweep walkways, driveway, porches, and decks.
- Check potted flowers at the front door. Water, if needed. Remove any dead leaves or blooms. Replace with new plants as needed.
- Dust the furniture.
- Vacuum carpets, sweep and mop floors.
- Scrub tubs and showers.
- Water indoor plants. Remove any dead leaves and dust leaves if needed.
Ready to Show Your Home at a Moment’s Notice.
It can be difficult having your home ready to show at all times, especially if you have children and pets. Remember though, if a buyer isn’t seeing your house today, they are probably seeing someone else’s instead. Being able to show your home at a moment’s notice increases your chance of getting that sale before someone else does.
Here is a checklist to make sure your house is “Show Ready”:
- Make sure your bed is made.
- Clear counters and put away all small kitchen appliances.
- Put away any dirty dishes and wipe the sink.
- Stowaway the items you use every day that would normally sit on counters. (Plastic storage boxes with lids are great for this purpose.) Store the containers out of sight under the sink, in the closet, or under the bed.
- Make sure laundry baskets are tucked away and out of sight. Do laundry more often to avoid accumulating a “mountain” of dirty clothes.
- Take out the garbage.
- Wipe bathroom counters and polish mirrors.
- Sanitize the toilet bowl.
- Put away personal items that you wouldn’t want a stranger to see. (Valuables, mail, and other personal information.)
- Straighten furniture.
- Put any toys or stray items away.
- Close all cabinet doors and drawers.
- Set the air conditioner/heater at a comfortable 72 degree Fahrenheit.
- Turn on lamps to brighten the rooms.
As you can see, it takes a lot of preparation and hard work when it comes to selling a house. However, if you want your home to sell quickly and at a reasonable price, you need to invest the time and effort to make your home Show Ready. It really is worth it.
What experiences have you had selling a home? Anything that worked great for you? I’d love to hear about it! Please share your comments below.
These are excellent tips! Really, wouldn’t it be nice to keep your home like this all the time? Maybe not realistic, but it sure would feel nice to live in a house like you described. I don’t want to sell my home, but I do have some rentals, and some of these tips are great for showing a rental as well, although you don’t have as much control if it is currently occupied.
Jessica Mathis says
Great tips! can’t wait to use these when we sell our house next month!