Preparing Your Home To Sell
Showcase your home!
When you’re getting ready to sell your home, you have to start by seeing it as just any home. Prospective buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in that space. And not just living. Redecorating, replacing your photos, putting their own mark on their new home. That means you need to tone down your personality, make it more neutral and deal with any easy repairs right away. For steps to take to prepare your home for a photo shoot, see our article on Preparing Your Home for Photos.
At National Realty, we walk our home sellers through this change in outlook. It’s a shift that can feel like a big step, but it’s the first step in getting that all-important sale. Here’s what it looks like in practice.
Staging your home for showing
For your home to look like a show home, you have to see it like any other product in the market place.
1. Store your photos, put away your personal effects
It’s time to put things away and let this become a more neutral space. Once you’re ready to sell your home, you have to start thinking like someone who is already moving out of here. It can feel sad at first, but that shift in perspective has practical advantages too. Start packing now, and instead of filling your closets, find another place to store the boxes. When it comes to moving day you’ll already be on your way.
2. Deep clean your house, and attract a buyer’s interest
You want more than just a quick hoover and dust before that first showing. As far as possible, this place has to look as good as new. If you need a checklist, here’s one.
- Let the sunlight in by giving those windows a clean, inside and out. Focus on the main living spaces, like the kitchen, living room and the master bedroom
- Vacuum the floors, but don’t forget to dust and sweep less obvious places too. Look high and low for places to clean - ceiling fans can get very dusty
- Sinks and baths and showers and counter tops. It’s time to break out the cleaning products and scrub until they sparkle
- Even if you don’t often use that spare room much, re-imagine its potential. Open the windows wide, and let the fresh air in. This could be the extra bedroom your buyer needs.
- Some small expenses can make a big difference. Replace light bulbs, filters, add a small rug, or hire professional carpet cleaners. Even replace a carpet if it really needs it. It will make all the difference
3. That clutter needs to go!
You might be surprised how even a little clutter can put off a potential buyer. When tables and shelves and surfaces are covered your stuff, the whole room can look smaller. When closets are full to bursting, it looks like there’s not enough storage. Your buyer won’t be inspired by how your house looks on a bad day, and they won't care about the reasons. Deal with your clutter, right through the house. You’ll have to when it’s time to move, so bite the bullet now.
If you have a garage or an attic, these could be good places to store a few boxes. But even there, bear in mind that during a showing, great organization is going to impress, while a messy space is likely to deter. Remember to sort through your kitchen and bathroom cabinets too, as people are likely to check inside for space during showings.
4. Keep the colors neutral
Not everyone has the same taste in decor, so you have to set your style to the middle ground. That means you might want to paint over certain design choices in your home before it gets listed, just to make sure you hide any features or colors that might turn buyers away.
5. What does it look like from outside?
Get that potential buyer to do more than drive past your door, and make their first impression count. Everything about the front of your property needs to look clean, clear, welcoming and positive. Go the extra mile to make an impact.
- Hire a pressure washer to make sure every path and roof and porch is free of leaves and dirt
- Think about repainting any surface that needs refreshing, especially if it’s easy to reach and simple to do
- What about the front door? It has to look worth visiting, so check if it needs painting or maintenance and do the work to upgrade the welcome.
- Look at the locks too. Show the world this property is safe and secure to live in
- And tend to the lawn or the yard so that everything is looking well-maintained.
What about minor house repairs before selling your property?
Everyone knows there’s always some work somewhere that needs doing in any home. When you’re selling, any truly major work can often be factored into the asking price, saving you from carrying out the biggest jobs before you leave. However, there’s really no excuse with minor repairs, and in our experience, your home really could even fetch a higher price if you take the time to deal with things like:
- holes in the wall that could easily be plastered and painted over
- old-fashioned and worn out soft furnishings that you could replace with light and inexpensive fabrics
- leaking faucets, or rust or stained areas around sinks, baths and showers - no potential buyer will want to face that in the kitchen or bathroom
- those little things you’ve overlooked for years - chipped and cracked tiles, and garden fences that need attention
Okay, it’s no fun to have a to-do list when you're eager to get your home on the market, but in the long run it will probably speed things up. Properties in good repair tend to sell faster, and with less hitches. You’ll be glad you bothered.
But what about things you didn’t expect to have to mend?
If you’re concerned about major repairs on big appliances that might suddenly need doing while your house is up for sale, or come to light during the inspection, why not think about getting a home warranty. This is a simple contract that gives sellers peace of mind, by covering some of the potential costs of repairing your most expensive appliances during this time. Your realtor will be able to advise you on this.