How to Get Your House Ready for Sale

Buying a house is an exciting event – but if you need to sell one in order to move, it can be deflating! A lot of work may be needed to get both the inside and outside of your home in tip-top shape for listing. There is a systematic process of evaluating your house, room by room, which makes it easy to get ready to sell.

To start, write one room name on the top of the paper. Sit in that room and write down everything that needs to be accomplished. The list should start with the following items which need to be cleaned, dusted, washed or organized for every room:

  • Closet – It needs to look organized so potential buyers can see how much of their “junk” they can squeeze in.
  • Window treatments – blinds, sills and curtains. More sunlight filtering in makes a room appear bigger.
  • Dresser tops, shelves, bookcases – Clutter looks messy, so put away everything possible.
  • Door jambs and floor molding
  • Ceiling fans
  • Carpet

Look for additional items to fix which will make the room appear perfect. Are there a lot of nail holes that should be spackled? Does the carpet have a lot of stains and need to be replaced? Do the closet doors hang crooked? If your budget allows, repair everything to its original state.

If the budget can stretch further, allow for new carpet and neutral paint. The term ‘resale beige’ was created for a reason. People like to see neutrals in a potential house. They might have plans to change to red, blue or green, but until they can afford the change, neutral colors are satisfactory. Neutral colors are easily adaptable in bedrooms. If a wall is a non-gender specific color, bed linens, curtains and pillows can give color to a room without spending the time to remove wall paper and re-paint.

High Traffic Areas

The most time a person or a family spends awake in one room is the kitchen. Food preparation, eating, packing lunches and cleaning happen on a daily basis. This room needs to appear roomy and efficient, no matter what size a prospective buyer’s family is.

Make the refrigerator spotless. Whether the appliance is staying or not, it needs to sparkle on the inside and out. Clean all of the shelves in both parts and throw out old food. Get rid of all of the clutter on top too.

Empty the countertops. A countertop full of small appliances, paperwork and odds and ends gives the impression of clutter. Put away as much as possible, while still leaving your cupboards organized. Box up the extra appliances if you don’t need them right away.

Vacuum the pantry. Take care to clean up spilled food, crumbs and flour residue that usually are left behind. It might be the most popular cupboard in the house, but it doesn’t need to look abused.

Use a tablecloth. People love nostalgia. Whether the potential home buyers ever sit down to dinner or not, the look of your table with covering gives a homey feel. Everyone likes to imagine sitting down to a family meal every night, so give them the visual. If it looks like a well used table for your family dinners, it can be for theirs too.

The bathroom is another high traffic room, but it gets a bad rap. Sure we clean ourselves there, but it has a reputation of being full of germs. To prove everybody wrong, scrub the sink, toilet and tub. Get rid of rust stains, hard water spots and mildew.

Other things to consider in the bathroom include removing important medication. People snoop and the first thing they will probably do is open the medicine cabinet. Use diligence to remove all signs of hair and hair products from the floors, counter tops and mirrors. Lastly, close that nasty toilet lid.

When each room is clean and organized, take a last sweep through to make sure all personal pictures are removed. Prospective buyers can imagine themselves in your home more easily if there aren’t pictures of you and your family about.

Now it’s time to hit the outside!

If you have a garage, make sure your car fits in it. The garage is meant for cars, but when people look at them, they are really envisioning how much “junk” it will hold. The garage shelves need to be as organized and clutter free as the rest of the house.

Remove any evidence of problems. Hide the bag with a mousetrap in it. Put away the bottles of weed killer. Give the appearance your house is perfect inside and out.

The yard needs to be mowed, weeded, pruned and trimmed to perfection. After all, the outside is the first impression people have. A professional can be hired is the budget allows, or you are under a time constraint to get everything ready.

Check to make sure the roof, siding, soffits, porch, shutters and walkways are all perfectly maintained. Repair paint chips, cracks and leaks. Nail down loose shingles or secure a shutter. The little details you correct will all add more value to your curb appeal.

Appearances are everything when selling a house. Keep everything neat and tidy, and your house will sell fast! Organization is attractive to any potential buyer, whether they are organized or not. The hottest thing on the market is clean and move-in condition, no matter what a realtor tells you.

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