11 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home
Once you've decided it's time to sell your home, start to look at it with an objective eye. If you were the potential buyer, what red flags would you see when you walked around your house and yard?
Inside the house, look for things like stained ceilings, missing tile, broken windows and doors, heavily scratched floors and other signs of neglect. Outside, look for broken or missing shingles, patio pavers and tuckpointing. If you have a deck, check for cracks in floor boards and loose railings. Make a list of everything you see and then decide which things you're going to tackle. A real estate agent can be very helpful in determining what needs to be done and what doesn't.
Every homeowner has at least a couple ongoing projects that never seem to get finished. Now is the time to finish painting the guest room, install the ceiling fan you bought last summer and stain that beadboard you put up in the pantry. If painting is on your list, this collection of tips will help you finish the task with a lot less mess.
Create Curb Appeal
Resist the urge to roll your eyes at this one. It is imperative that your home looks livable. Potential buyers may not be able to see past your clutter. Think of it this way—don't move things you no longer want or need. Make decisions now and your house will sell faster and your move will be easier.
It's no secret that getting started is the hardest part of decluttering. Take one room, or even part of one room, at a time and dive in. Recycle or shred paper. Donate books, toys, clothing and duplicate household items. If you're getting frustrated and you can't deal with one more stack of papers or shoebox of old photos, put them in a plastic tub, label the tub and stack it somewhere out of the way. A stack of tubs doesn't look like clutter. For completely out-of-the-way plastic tub storage, check out this simple rack for storing tubs overhead in your garage.
Declutter Some More!
If you decide to do some interior painting, stick to neutral colors. You've heard it before, but it's the truth. Neutrals don't distract and they allow potential buyers to imagine their things in your home. If you'd like some guidance on choosing colors, check out this collection of tips.
Rearrange Your Furniture
Your furniture is arranged the way it best suits you and your family. When you're staging your home to sell, you'll need to use your furniture as marketing tools to help create inviting vignettes.
Avoid having furniture lined up along the walls. Pull the sofa away from the wall and pull chairs close to create a conversation area. Also, you may need to remove some furniture so it's easy for people to walk around in the rooms. If you've toured model homes and had the feeling you could move right in and live there, that's what you're going for.
As Andy Dwyer once said, 'Windows are the eyes to the house.' If your windows are covered with heavy drapes, flouncy curtains and/or clunky valances, take all that stuff down. You want every possible ray of natural light coming in through your windows. Most people want shades or blinds to provide privacy, with as little obstruction as possible. If you have shades with a broken lift cord, here's how to fix it.
Buy Fresh Flowers and Plants
If the weather allows, plant flowers in pots, window boxes or right in the ground to add color and pump up the curb appeal. Pay close attention to the plants, keeping them watered and trimmed.
Inside the house, fresh flowers in vases add color, life and the feeling that you, as the home seller, are putting your best foot forward. It may not matter to some buyers but others will appreciate this detail and take it as a sign that your home has been well cared for.
Create a Welcoming Entry
The potential buyer's lasting first impression takes place at the front door. Curb appeal is important, but a negative impression as a buyer steps up to and through the door could be a deal killer.
Be sure the steps and/or walkway up to the front door are in good repair with no big cracks or overgrown weeds. Check that the door (and storm/screen door, if you have one) is in good shape and is working properly. Also, check the lock. You don't want the real estate agent to fumble trying to open the door. Check the threshold to make sure it's clean and in good repair. Replace any dangling or loose weather stripping.
And finally, put a wreath on it. Hokey or not, a simple wreath on the front door is an inviting and welcoming sign of good thing to come inside.