With our big move coming up quickly, we had to be sure to get our house ready, listed, and sold within about 4 months. We ended up listing a few days later than we expected due to a minor leak, but we ended up selling our home within 4 short days and only 5 showings. There are a lot of factors which play into the ability to sell a home (some of which are not in our control). We capitalized on the ones that we could control and ended up turning a profit.
Now, I love HGTV just as much as the other gal (although I probably watch it less than a toddler does), but it tends to give a very skewed idea of how a home should appear.
I am definitely no expert in selling a home, nor am I an interior designer, but I do know what “feels good” when you walk into a place. Just remember that your home doesn’t have to be “ready” per Property Brothers standards. Unless you are selling a million dollar home; then you may want it to be closer to their standards.
Here is a short and sweet list of items to tend to prior to selling your home.
- Be sure that the main living areas have neutral tones on the walls. I say main for a reason. Most people who are buying a family home have children so if your extra rooms are painted subdued tones of blues, pinks, or yellows, you probably won’t get much negative feedback. They may actually like the color of the walls because it can be used for their children. Do be sure that your living rooms, kitchen, and dining areas are painted a neutral tone. Most people don’t want bright red in their kitchen.
- As for wallpaper, forget it! Take it down. Wallpaper is too personal.
- Have clean counter tops and eye level surfaces. I enjoy having clean surfaces anyway as it is definitely a stress reliever to me. When we were preparing for the house to go on the market, we culled, stashed, and organized every surface only keeping what was absolutely necessary.
- Your spaces should all be well organized. This gives the feeling to people that they too will be organized in this space. Toys do not all have to be hidden out of site, just be sure they are organized. Closet a bit tight? Be sure it is organized so that the potential home buyers see it as a well used space.
- The house should be clean. I cannot stress this enough. There are so many homes that we have seen as potential buyers or even renters that ended up being a pass because of how
grossnot well kept it was. Clean up after your pets (we have 4 cats so I know this is hard), dust surfaces, clean the bathrooms (please), and have your dirty dishes cleaned up as well.
- Make your home smell inviting. Did you know that smells are most closely linked to memories than any other sense? That being said, try to play into that by baking cookies or diffusing a fresh smelling essential oil. We diffused Holiday Joy or Wild Orange during showings. Our realtor suggested air fresheners, but I prefer not to introduce nasty chemicals into my home even if it is for the sake of selling our home.
- The most important areas need to be updated or have been updated recently. By most important I mean Air Conditioner unit, roof, bathrooms, and kitchen. These are the ones that can be the most costly for new home owners therefore they don’t want to tackle them as soon as they move in. For the kitchen, it had newer cabinets, but not hardware. We added hardware, put matching appliances in, put in a new sink with a nice faucet, and updated the lighting.
- Display a functional use of space especially if it is an awkward area in the house. Our home had two living rooms side by side. It was a horribly awkward use of square footage if you ask me, but we made use of it. We put the bookshelves, some chairs, and a kids table in there. It made it feel very cozy.
- Going back to updating and the kitchen. If you put new appliances in the house, be sure that you are prepared to leave them. The last thing potential home buyers want is to pay for updating, right? Taking the updated appliances not only brings down the monetary value, it also brings down the perceived value of the house. As for stainless, forget that junk! Check out the appliances we had in our home that people LOVED!
- You must fix all items that appear broken, loose, cracked. We had the awesome benefit of having just purchased our home 20 months earlier. As soon as we moved in, we tackled everything that turned up on our home inspection (was an As-Is property). We learned how to keep up the exterior of a home and how to do a bunch of DIY. We caulked, painted, replaced, updated, or whatever it took to make it look top notch!
- Ask your realtor if they use a professional photographer. If not, ask them to hire one or get a new realtor. I truly believe in the power of good photos. We had so much interest so quickly because of how brilliant the photographer was.
- Meet with your realtor way ahead of time, I mean months before listing the place. They need to tour your home, point out things that need to be changed, and guide you in regards to staging. You will meet with them one other time prior to listing your home to do the listing details and paperwork. You will need to have all of the items fixed by this time.
This is a pretty basic list. Notice that I didn’t talk about staging or storing the “extras” in your home. Unless you have a ton of stuff laying around, I don’t think this is necessary. Refer back to number 3. Keep it basic. Sell a home is stressful enough without having to pack up all of your belongings first and redecorating. Be sure that your home is in good repair and that it is clean! It can be that simple (although we know it is not that easy, right)!
Have you sold a home recently? Did you do the full on HGTV style prepping?