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So It's Time to Sell
Don’t just list it without any advance preparation. A few minor touch-ups can go a long way towards making a favorable impression on potential buyers — and perhaps cinching a deal. Put your buyer’s hat on and walk thru your home like it is the first time, make notes on what you, as a buyer, would notice, and then repair or replace those items. I have made a 30-day plan for you so you don’t get overwhelmed and can take it one day at a time! Please reach out with any questions, and know that I will be checking in throughout the 30 days.
Change Light Bulbs and Update Light Fixtures. It’s easy to forget about all the bulbs that have burned out over the years, but you want your home to be as bright as possible. Lighting makes an incredible difference in how a home looks to potential Buyers. If you have dated light fixtures (it’s OK, a lot of us do), take a quick trip to IKEA or Home Depot and pick up some modern ones.
Prepare the Paperwork Buyers and agents are going to ask a lot of questions, so start digging out the paperwork now: utility bills, tax bills, renovation details, warranties, mortgage details, surveys, and rental contracts.
Make an Extra Set of Keys. Prospective Buyers and their agents will need to access your home, so you’ll need an extra set of keys.
Get Boxes and Duct Tape. A big part of the adventure you’re about to embark on involves reducing clutter, and while Costco and the grocery store might be cheap options for boxes, it sure isn’t convenient. An investment under $100 will get you proper packing supplies and reduce your stress.
If you’re going to be moving a lot of stuff out of your house for the sale, consider renting a POD storage locker – you fill up at your house, it gets carted away, stored, and delivered to your new home when you move in!
Tackle The Bathrooms. Remove all the toiletries you have on display (nobody wants to know you use Head & Shoulders). Invest in some new white towels (and no, you don’t get to use them). Visit Homegoods, Ross, or TJ MAx for affordable accessories: soap dish, toothbrush holder, etc.
If your toilet seat, shower curtain, or bath matt are gross (be honest with yourself), replace them. Consider replacing the toilet paper holder and towel rack/hooks too.
Declutter the Kitchen. The kitchen is one of the rooms Buyers are most attracted to so if you’re looking to skip a room, this shouldn’t be it. Remove your blender/George Foreman Grill/Kitchen Aid mixer/toaster/bread machine from the counters – you want the counters to be as clear as possible. Clean inside all the cupboards (and yes, I mean remove everything and wipe them out).
Don’t cram all your dishes and food back in – again, you want to convey to Buyers that your kitchen has enough storage for the Buyer’s stuff. Clean inside the fridge (and remove the magnets, photos, and reminders). Turn on your self-cleaning oven (probably for the first time). Store your booze collection (and take out the empties). Consider investing in some fresh flowers and a beautiful bowl with some fresh fruit in it.
Next up: The Bedrooms. The bedrooms should be inviting, and that means more cleaning and decluttering and investing in a few props. If you don’t already have one, invest in a neutral-colored duvet cover and some new fancy pillows. Straighten the bookshelves.
Remove personal photos, knick-knacks, and personal grooming products. Clean out the closets. Consider getting an area rug if the floors are cold. If you’ve jammed in a dresser or armoire that doesn’t really fit into the space consider storing it offsite.
Tackle The Living Room Clean the sofa and chairs and invest in some new throw pillows. Consider getting an area rug to bring the room together. Hide the magazine rack and all the clutter that has accumulated. Hide the wires from your TV/stereo/speakers.
Make Your Dining Room Look Like a Place Someone Might Actually Want to Eat in. Remove the kids’ homework and the piles of stuff that have accumulated on the dining room table. Clean up the hutch. If your dining chairs have seen better days, consider getting them reupholstered. Invest in a new tablecloth to hide an old table.
De-clutter, Organize and Clean the Garage If your garage is anything like ours, this is going to take more than one day. Whether your basement is finished or just a storage area for extra stuff you’ll need to invest the time to make it look as spacious and clean as possible. And what a great way to rid yourself of all that stuff you never use.
Store vs. Donate vs. Throw Away It’s a pain (and expensive) to store all the stuff you don’t really need.
Tackle the Closets and Storage Areas Much as I’d love to say that you can cram all the stuff you don’t want on display into your closets, Buyers will open your closets. They’ll look in your cupboards. And they’ll judge you. The last thing you want is for Buyers to think there isn’t enough storage in your home, so take the time to pack away what you don’t need in the immediate future.
The Entrance Remember that most Buyers will have an emotional reaction to your home within 15 seconds of entering it, so what they experience at the entrance is CRITICAL. You want your entrance to be clean, de-cluttered, and inviting. And no, you won’t really wear all your shoes and coats while your house is for sale, so be disciplined and store things away. If you don’t have a hall closet, don’t pile 15 coats on a coat rack – that’s just drawing attention to your lack of a closet.
Get Rid of All the Things That Make Your Home Yours Ouch, I know it hurts to read that. You want your house to appeal to as many buyers as possible, and that will only happen if they can picture their own stuff in your house. Get rid of all the family photos, the collections, and the souvenirs from your trip to Asia. Walk through every room in your house and pretend you’re a Buyer. If what you see helps people get to know you as you, remove it.
Take a day off!
Paint Touch-ups and Re-painting A fresh coat of paint is one of the cheapest ways to freshen up your home. Bold colors are bound to be a turn-off to some Buyers, so to appeal to the most people possible take the time to re-paint that red bedroom and blue bathroom. (Tip: light colors will help small rooms look bigger). Don’t forget about baseboards and ceilings – they might need some paint too.
Repair What You’ve Been Avoiding We all have that list of never-never repairs and fixes. Now’s the time to get to it, including fixing the leaky faucet, the picture holes in the wall, etc., and get it done once and for all. If you aren’t handy yourself, bring in a handyman to take care of it (we know some good ones, we can help).
Get the Windows Cleaned I know, you probably don’t even think about cleaning your windows, but rain, snow, and construction can really make your windows dirty.
Focus on the Front Yard Curb appeal matters and will significantly impact people’s first impression of your house. Stand on your street and take in your front yard: what do you see? At a minimum, clean the scuff marks off the front door and touch up the chipped paint or give it a fresh coat. And if your front door has seen better days, consider investing in a new one.
If you have a front porch, make it look inviting (and not just a receptacle for more of your stuff). Invest in some seasonal plants. Clean up the garden. A lot of buyers will see your home at night, so make sure that your outdoor lighting is showing off your home.
Pimp Your Backyard What you can accomplish in the backyard will, of course, depend on what time of year you sell. If you’re selling in the spring/summer: clean up the gardens, trim the trees, cut the grass, stain the deck and clean the patio furniture and BBQ. If it’s winter: do your best to make it look presentable.
Get the Carpets Cleaned Unless your carpets are brand new, you’ll want to have them steam cleaned (or do it yourself). You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
Don’t Forget About the Floors You’ll need more than a Swiffer to get into all the corners and cracks. If your floors are scratched, there are some great products out there to make them look almost brand new.
Tackle the Walls and Doors If your walls and doors are scuffed, buy some Magic Erasers and go to town. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. If your art needs an update, now’s the time to do it too.
The Final Clean By now you’re probably exhausted..sorry about that. While you can do this final step yourself, we always like to suggest to bring in professional cleaners who will make sure to clean all the spots you don’t: the baseboards, inside the lights, the fridge, etc.
Make Plans for the Kids and the Dog/Cat No Buyer wants to look at all your kids’ toys, finger painting works of art or dirty diapers, so put it all away and make a plan to keep it concealed. I love my dogs too, but prospective Buyers won’t appreciate the barking/jumping. Make a plan to get your pets out of the house: Doggie daycare? Grandma and Grandpa? Multiple walks.
Staging Day! If you’re working with us, we hire a professional Stager. This is usually the day they will come and stage the house. They’ll move,re-arrange and add furniture, and use accessories and color to make your home look it’s best. Pro staging has been proven to help homes sell faster and for more money.
Make Your Home Smell Good. If you’re a dog owner, wash any couches, beds and surfaces where the dogs sleep. You may not smell him anymore, but Buyers will. Tuck the litter box away (and clean it twice a day while your home is on the market). Use Febreeze on EVERYTHING. Consider lighting some candles (but avoid strong air fresheners).
Do a Once Over Go through the house one more time and look everything over from floor to ceiling. Take one final walk through all the rooms and adjust as necessary. You want to make sure everything is just right!
Photography When your house is de-cluttered, cleaned It is ready for prime time! it’s time for the photographer to work Their magic. This will happen a few days before you list your home for sale, and if you work with us, will include a 360 tour and video.
Preview the ad copy for your listing and get ready for showings!
Day 30 - Final Day!
Please keep in mind, this schedule can be adjusted depending on your needs.
The Final Once-Over You’ve worked hard, and now it’s time to step back and admire your work. How does it look? Most people say their house has never looked better than it does right before they sell. Now for the hard part. Don’t. Touch. Anything.
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