How to get your house ready to sell, in three easy steps

Realtors are often asked, “What do I need to do to get my house ready to sell?” There are many things you can and should do to improve your chances of selling your home, but today I’m going to concentrate on the things you need to do before you put your home on the market.

In no particular order, here are the three most important things you need to do before you put your home up for sale…

© Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half

Clean.  Clean like your mother is coming to stay with you for six months.  When your home reaches a level that she’d find acceptable, clean some more.  It is literally impossible to clean too much in this situation.  Selling your home, no matter what, is going to involve some inconvenience and expense, and this is a great thing to throw some money at if you can.  You really don’t want someone to decide against making an offer on your home because your baseboards were dirty and that made them think that you haven’t been taking care of the big stuff either.  (No judgment here – I doubt most people ever think about the cleanliness of their baseboards unless they’re trying to sell!)

Declutter.  It can be tough to decide what to keep, what to get rid of, and what to store off-site during the sale process, since after all, it’s all your stuff and there’s probably a good reason you brought it into your home in the first place.  Think about it this way: the more stuff you have in your home, the more it distracts potential buyers from the permanent features of your home (i.e., the stuff that’s actually going to stay with the home when they buy it).  If you’ve ever been house-hunting, you’ve probably experienced the phenomenon of talking over the day’s viewing with your significant other/house-hunting partner and referring to the homes you saw by a kind of shorthand.  When people leave your home after an open house or a showing, you want them to remember your home as “the one with the amazing kitchen” or “the one with the hot tub on the deck,” not “the one with the creepy clown collection” or “the one where the owners do some seriously weird stuff.”  See what I mean?

Fix stuff.  Now is the time to take care of any little maintenance items (and any big ones) that you’ve been putting off, like that kitchen cabinet door that never quite closed all the way or the old water stain on the ceiling.  As above, even the smallest fixable imperfections can give buyers the impression that you haven’t been taking care of the home, and they’ll think that they might end up with a nasty surprise after closing.  If you’re not handy, this is the time to enlist some friends or professionals to help – don’t let the small things cause you to lose out on getting the best price for your home.

Once you’ve taken care of these three things, it’s time to think about staging… stay tuned for Part II!

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