If your home is going on the market this year, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Even if you don’t plan to start seeing prospective buyers until June, there’s no time like the present to start spiffing up your home and yard.
Even if you see your home as spotless and needing nothing new, any real estate agent will tell you prospective buyers need to have your house look a certain way. The more you do to make your house look better to them, the quicker it will sell and the higher the price you can command.
Make a list. There are seven essential to-dos to place on it.
1. Repaint in Neutral Colors
Repainting your home’s walls is a relatively inexpensive project that most people who are selling their home take on. Homes for sale should be painted neutral colors, like white, ivory, light gray and light beige on the interior and the exterior.
Why? People need to be able to visualize themselves in your house. That’s harder to do if the paint colors call attention to themselves. Plus, if your colors aren’t neutral, you run the risk that a specific color will turn off some buyers. You want your interested buyer pool as big as you can get it.
2. Depersonalize Your House
You also need to go through your house and depersonalize it. Remove any items specific to your personal taste. The idea here is to make the house a neutral backdrop, just as it is with painting. While you may love the enormous peacock statues in your living room, they might become a topic of conversation among the buyers. If the conversation isn’t positive, you’re not going to sell your house.
Think of your home as a staging area for buyer walk-throughs. That’s what it has to be for the duration of the sales period, with your personal touches largely absent.
3. Clean Inside and Outside
Homes for sale need to be thoroughly clean inside and out. Yes, we know you keep your home clean — but it has to be super-clean to be sales-ready. Wash the windows and walls. Clean the gutters and siding. Vacuum and scrub the floors. Vacuum behind little-used areas, like the refrigerator and stove.
Be sure to power-wash areas like the porch, deck and patio.
4. Make Necessary Minor Repairs
Most homes have minor issues that don’t get fixed. It could be loose door or kitchen cabinet handles. You might have a leaky faucet that is so familiar you no longer hear it. A mailbox lists ever so slightly to one side. A screen has a small hole.
Do a thorough inventory of your home for small issues like this, because they make your home look less than shipshape. Then get them fixed.
5. Gauge Garage Repairs
Many people use their garage door as a secondary entry point to the home. Be sure to check that the garage door and opener are in top condition, as a non-working door can turn off prospective buyers.
It’s also a good time to insulate your garage door, especially if you are selling it as a storage or “bonus” space. The energy savings can be a selling point, and add to the home’s asking price.
6. Declutter Inside and Outside
While the fad to declutter, declutter, declutter may have died down somewhat, it’s still an excellent idea if you’re planning to sell a house. First, having a lot of things around can make a home look cluttered to prospective buyers. Even a box of matches sitting on the fireplace can, in their eyes, detract from the fireplace.
Second, rooms with very spare furnishings look larger and more airy, which is more attractive than small and crowded. If your living room contains three chairs, two tables and a sofa, make it contain one chair, one table and a sofa.
7. Add Some Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is the visual snapshot people see when they drive up to your curb. You want your home to look as visually appealing as possible from the very first moment they see it. Therefore, put some effort specifically into sprucing up what they will see.
Buy some flowering plants to put on either side of the door, for example. Hang a seasonal wreath. Paint the door a deep, rich color. Invest in street numbers that are highly visible, so buyers can easily find your house, and also make a dramatic statement. Place wicker chairs on the porch in an inviting group.
Selling your home will be easier once you’ve finished this essential to-do list. It may also happen faster and for a higher price than if you don’t follow the list.