When you decide to sell your home you should immediately begin referring to it as a house. Of course, you’ll have an emotional attachment to the property, but now it’s time to say goodbye, so you should start detaching yourself by making some changes that will help you with the sale of the house.
You’ll probably have accumulated a lot of clutter over the years and sorting this out should be the first step….
1. Unclutter your home. Start in the basement and either throw things out or rent a locker to store it in until you move, because prospective buyers need to see what the house looks like behind all of your stuff. This means going from room to room and clearing everything out that makes it look cluttered and disorganized.
2. Neutralise the personal nature of your home. You may love the colourful tapestry on the living room wall, but we could guarantee that 95% of your prospects will have it on their minds when they leave your home and not in a good way. Knick knacks and generally all things that you’ve previously enjoyed should be stored away until after the sale, that includes your grandmother’s spoon collection that takes up half a wall in the kitchen. Replace these things with neutral items like picture frames or a vase with a simple arrangement.
3. Minor cosmetic work. Once you remove the clutter you will see all the things that you’ve been meaning to get to over the years. Painting where necessary, new carpet/s, skirtings and door surrounds repaired, cracked plaster and re-taping where necessary. When making these improvements think neutral colors for any coverings be it paint or carpets. If you have hardwood floors sand them and finish them. Area rugs can look amazing. Whatever you do, don’t over do it. Try and think like a buyer.
4. Hire a professional cleaner. Once you have the house cleared you could hire a professional cleaning company to wash the walls, windows, work over the kitchen and bathrooms, clean the floors and shampoo all carpets that don’t need to be replaced. Your house should be spotless and kept this way for the duration.
5. Staging each room. If your rooms are smaller rearrange the furniture to make the room look bigger. For example removing some furniture is better than having too much cramped in. Set your furniture up in conversation style. Make it cosy. Pull couches away from walls to give the appearance of depth. Remove wall clutter, one or two pictures but no more. Generally make it look inviting.
6. Kitchen and bathrooms. These are the most important rooms in your home to a buyer. Make sure they are impeccable. Plumbing fixtures should be working properly and look like new or they should be replaced. Use a good cleaner or even a metal polish to make them gleam. Showers and bathtubs need to be spotless! Sinks and vanity areas need to be pristine and uncluttered. Kitchen cupboards should be orderly, doors opening and closing properly, drawers the same.
7. Doors and windows. The first thing prospects see when they walk into your home is a door. Make sure its painted or cleaned up and that it will open and close properly. Windows should all be cleaned and be sure if someone wants to open them that they work properly. If they have been painted closed as is the case with some older homes, now is the time to get them to open. Do whatever it takes.
8. Garages and utility rooms. These are the second most important areas. Again remove all clutter from the garage and make it accessible so you can actually park your car in it! As for the utility rooms, try and organise it so the prospect will appreciate what they can do with it when they move in. It’s all about your prospect picturing themselves in your house.
9. Family effort. Everyone in your family needs to be on board with the presentation of the house. This means your kids need to keep their rooms tidy. Bribe them if you need to, but everyone has to help maintain the appearance of the entire house.
10. Odours and pets. If you have pets only you really love them. When you walk into a house with dogs or cats you immediately smell them, especially if you don’t have your own. Keep litter boxes fresh and clean daily. Restrict your animals if at all possible to certain areas of the home until after the sale. Vinegar and water will work wonders when you clean their areas every other day until the sale is complete, and top it off with effective air fresheners wherever you need them. Hoover regularly and use carpet cleaner if needed two or three times a week.
This sounds like quite a bit of work and it is. Try and remember that by following these tips you won’t just be making your house more attractive to prospective buyers, you’ll potentially be increasing the sale price of your house too. A little elbow grease now will be a solid investment of your time when it comes to showing buyers around.
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