What to do before you sell.
I am so excited to help you get your home ready to list for sale. Investing your time, energy and resources into the suggestions below may help you get thousands more on your home.
If you have not already set up a time to meet with me, let me show you my cutting-edge marketing, market insight, experience and how I use technology and social media to market my listings.
Many of my listings have sold for neighborhood record-breaking prices. Since most buyers will first see your home online, having it ready to go for the photo and video shoot is very important.
I will work with you to help you prepare your home. Please do not feel the need to have your home show-ready before my first walkthrough.
Realtor walkthrough. If needed, I will take the time to walk through your home with you, room by room to discuss possible improvements that you can do with little to no out of pocket expense. I will only suggest things that will help you decrease your days on market and increase your profit to help get top dollar for your home.
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 will want your home to be as bright as possible. Lighting makes an incredible difference. Please ensure every bulb is working, including lamps, pool light, landscaping lights and the light over your oven. I will have these all on for photo day.
Get some boxes. A big part of the adventure you’re about to embark on involves reducing clutter. (You can find free boxes on local FB neighborhood pages.) Think of it as getting a head start on moving. You’ll want your home clutter-free so the new owner can picture themselves living there. Box up anything you are not using. Organize closets and pantries. Think of your last visit to a model home. Less is more.
Storage unit or garage. Consider storing any boxes, clutter, bulky furniture pieces & toys in a storage unit or neatly in the garage. If your furniture is old, damaged and worn, it may be best to show that room empty. I will help put a plan together for any furniture that may need to be removed or relocated.
Make an extra set of keys. Prospective Buyers and their agents will need to access your home for showings, so you’ll need an extra set of keys for the digital lockbox. Agent showings are typically scheduled through a great app called ShowingTime. Sellers and Listing Agents will receive a text notification for all showing requests. Agents will only access your home upon an approved showing by you. Don’t worry, most showings are scheduled the day before.
Tackle the bathrooms. Remove all the toiletries you have on display, counters should be clear. Think white and bright! Invest in some new white towels for the towel racks in all bathrooms. The shower curtain should be light and neutral.
Laundry room. Should be cleaned and organized. If you have a shelf above your washer and dryer with a bunch of stuff on it, consider getting 3 matching bins to hide your stuff in. Pinterest Laundry Rooms for inspiration.
Spruce up 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. You’ll want the counters to be as clear as possible. Clean inside the oven, microwave, fridge (and remove the magnets, photos and reminders). You may also want to clear the decor on top of the cabinets which can be distracting and collect dust. Consider investing in some fresh flowers and a beautiful white or clear bowl with some fresh fruit in it such as lemons.
Next up: the bedrooms. The bedrooms should be inviting. That means more cleaning and decluttering and investing in a few props if needed. If you don’t already have one, invest in a neutral-colored duvet cover or a fluffy white down comforter (Amazon is a great resource). Think of your last visit to a luxury hotel, ensure all beds have a minimum of four pillows with crisp white sheets. Remove any bulky furniture.
Master closet. Take a close look at what you have not worn in over a year (including shoes). It may be a good idea to pack up those items or donate them. Less clothing hanging and folded on shelves will help make your closet appear larger.
Plumbing. Take care of any known leaks or plumbing issues. Update dated faucets. Switching out the kitchen faucet can be a low priced option to freshen up your kitchen.
Tackle the living room. Clean the sofa and chairs and you may want to invest in some new light-colored throw pillows. Hide the magazine rack and all the clutter that has accumulated. Hide the wires from your TV/stereo/speakers in all rooms, especially for photo and video day. Family photos are usually fine as long as there are only a few.
Dining room. Remove the kids’ homework and the piles of stuff that may have accumulated on the dining room table. Clean up the hutch. Simple and clean is best. The table should have one simple centerpiece.
Store vs. donate vs. throw away. It’s a pain (and expensive) to store all the stuff you don’t really need. Don’t pack anything that you don’t plan to bring to the next house. Consider donating anything you do not want or things that you have not used in over a year including clothing. Have a garage sale or post items for sale or free on local FB pages. House of Refuge and Goodwill are also great options for donations.
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 will want your entrance and front yard to be clean, de-cluttered and inviting. Paint your front door if needed, invest in fresh throw pillows or cushions on patio furniture, add fresh flowers to a pot, pull weeds, put away your hose. Check out Target for a fresh new affordable welcome mat and simple wreath. Power wash exterior and driveway if needed. Keep the front porch swept before showings.
Backyard. Ensure your yard is free of weeds, clean and inviting. If you have a pool ensure the water is clear and pool tile is clean.
Personal Items. Once you list your home for sale think of it as an investment you are trying to get top dollar for. You will want your home to appeal to as many Buyers as possible. That will only happen if they can picture their own stuff in your house. Walkthrough every room in your house and pretend you’re a Buyer.
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 if needed. The kitchen and main living areas should have neutral colors. Light colors will help small rooms look bigger. Bedrooms can usually get away with bolder colors, I will help you with those suggestions. Don’t forget about baseboards and ceilings – they might need some white paint. Popular colors by Sherwin Williams that work great for most homes: “Accessible Beige” or “Anew Gray”.
Make a list of all the little stuff that you’ve been avoiding repairing including the leaky faucet, the picture holes in the wall, etc. and complete before listing. If you aren’t handy yourself, bring in a handyman to take care of it. Replace air filters.
Get the windows cleaned. Investing in professional window cleaning before your photo and video day is well worth it. Did you know that over time, your windows build up a layer of dirt, water deposits, streaks, smudges, and fingerprints ? This grime can obscure the incoming light and become unsightly.
Get the carpets cleaned. Unless your carpets are brand new, you’ll want to have them steam cleaned. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes. If your tile grout is discolored you may want to consider having that professionally cleaned as well. If your carpets are past the point of cleaning you may want to discuss other options for replacing flooring.
The final clean. While you can do this final step yourself, I recommend bringing in professional cleaners who will make sure to clean all the spots you don’t. It may also be wise to keep a cleaning service going while your home is on the market to keep it as fresh as possible for showings.
Make plans for the pets. Prospective Buyers may not love your pets as much as you. Make a plan to have your pets out of the house for showings if possible. Remove all signs of pets for photo and video day (hide bowls, litter boxes, crates).
Make plans for the kids stuff. Most Buyer’s won’t want to look at all your kids’ toys or finger painting works of art. Some toys are fine as long as they are organized. It may also help to store the extra toys in a hall closet for showings.
Make your house smell good. It’s important for home sellers to be honest with themselves about the smells curating in their home and take care of the root cause of the smell, rather than simply masking the smell. A clean smell and a deodorized smell are two different things. A strong scent can distract the Buyer’s ability to make a decision. You may want to also limit cooking certain things that leave a strong odor before showings. Vanilla and citrus are some of the best scents. Essential oils are a great option too.
Staging. There are certain situations where some light or full staging may be recommended. I will discuss this option with you in more detail during our walk-through.
Photo and video shoot. When your home is ready, it’s time for the photographer and videographer to work their magic. This will happen a few days before you list your home for sale. Natural light is very important, plan to have all lights on and blinds up for this day. I like to shoot in the best lighting possible, if there is rain or severe clouds I may need to reschedule the shoot. I can typically have your home’s website live and listed within 48 hours after the shoot. I promise that all of your hard work will be well worth it!
The final once-over. Take one final walk through all the rooms and adjust as necessary. Do you see anything that might distract or turn off a Buyer?
Showings. Consider leaving some bottled water and snacks out for potential buyers with a note neatly on the kitchen counter. Buyers love this! Open blinds to let the natural light in. Turn light music and lights on if possible. Secure valuable items, including medication, cash and jewelry.
Final note. I’ve helped clients accomplish everything on this list in as little as four days. I’m here to help every step of the way. If you need any help, have questions or additional referrals I have you covered!
Thinking about selling? Complete the Seller Consultation form to set up a time to meet one on one with me.