Last week on Instagram Stories, you overwhelming asked for a list of things you should do before you list your home. Keep in mind, this article will provide general advice that will apply to general situations. If you have a glaring problem that I haven't mentioned on this list, please don't interpret that to mean you get to skip over that item!
There are generally two types of listings, I'm going to make these pretty broad, but usually yours can fit into one or the other. You're either selling a home that is 'move-in-ready' or a 'fixer-upper.' Make no mistake, one is not more valuable than the other, as there are so many buyers that are looking for a 'fixer-upper,' so much so, that they will not look at anything that has been updated. Their thought process is, that they don't want to pay 1 penny for a finish they didn't choose themselves.
You're going to want to get an experienced agents perspective on this as I can't come up with a. rule that I can't find an exception to, but you're typically in the 'fixer-upper' category if your home hasn't had substantial updates in the last 15-20 years. Again, I can think of examples where this doesn't apply, so get an experienced agent's expertise on the matter. If you're in the 'fixer-upper' category, I wouldn't make any substantial changes to the property, knowing buyers are going to come and re-do it anyway. You'll want to stick to de-cluttering, deep cleaning and getting the yard in tip-top shape.
Most sellers, however, will find themselves in the 'move-in-ready' category. Even if you feel like your home is dated or not quite the upgrades you'd like, there is almost always a buyer who loves that particular style, so don't re-deocrate your whole house. Instead, focus on these 6 things:
1. Consider Paint. If you've decorated your space for your family that is wonderful. If you've used non-neutral color palettes (reds, pinks, purples, even some greens and blues) consider repainting to a neutral palette. Here's a list of gray tones and a list of white tones, test 3-4 samples and then get to painting. Don't forget the baseboards! You'll be amazed at what a fresh coat of paint can do to a space, it honestly makes it look brand new. In the event you haven't used overly saturated colors, but haven't had your home painted in the last 5 years, you might want to consider this as well.
2. De-Clutter. By de-clutter I mean get rid of, or pack up 50% of your stuff. All the cookbooks nicely displayed on the kitchen counter? Pack them. The pile of toys in your kids' closet? Pack them or donate them. The over-flowing linen closet? Reduce it by 50%. If you're moving in the summer time, pack up everyone's winter clothes and put them in a storage unit. Open every cabinet, every closet and try to reduce it by 50%, you'll probably land closer to 30% and that's okay, but really reduce the clutter as much as possible. This includes the garage too.
Reducing everything in the home will make your home appear larger and more spacious. No buyer wants to open a linen closet that is over-flowing with beach towels. It communicates to them that there isn't enough space which is always a turn off. Opening a pantry door to reveal a tidy space with room to spare communicates that there is plenty of room and reassures buyer's that you took good care of the home. It changes the feeling of the space and most buyers buy because of feelings, not logistics.
3. Deep clean every inch. I usually hire this out for my sellers, but while you're decluttering, take the time to deep clean your kitchen and bathrooms. Wipe out drawers and cabinets, wipe down banisters and DOORS! Your front door, your garage door, your kids' bedroom doors -- they're dirty and it's showing. Wipe them down, along with the baseboards too! Dust every surface and make it shine.
4. Clean your Windows. This is a simple thing that makes a huge difference. You might consider taking off the screens, but that isn't totally necessary. Clean windows attract the eye outward, giving the impression of more space. Open them up & clean them up. If you have outdated, heavy drapery, consider removing.
5. Landscaping. If you live in Arizona like I do, I can't stress this enough. Edge your lawn, mow it meticulously, trim your trees, pull every weed and plant some flowers by the front door. While you're at it put out a new door mat and sweep your front porch. This is your first impression, don't blow it. If you have a yard suitable for entertaining, just like a model home would, place furniture to showcase how to use the space. If you have big sliding doors that open onto a patio perfect for outdoor dining, place a table there. Put a table cloth on it and it simple plant and when buyer's see it, they'll envision themselves pool side with dinner on the back patio. Again, it creates a feeling and tells the buyer a story of how they will live in the space.
6. Staging. I rarely suggest outside staging, but I do suggest using what you've got and removing what's awkward. If you've got an office/playroom/guest room in your house (don't we all?!) remove the excess and make it 1 designated space. Too many big pieces of furniture make a space feel crowded and while we all tend to live that way, we don't want to sell that way. So remove the guest bed or the awkward oversized desk and make it a dedicated space.
While logistics play a big role, often times buyers are pushed over to purchasing because of a feeling. Home is our most private space, the safety from the pressures of day to day. Take efforts to make your space feel like a reprieve from the world, with well-thought out functionality and you'll have it sold in no time.
If you're interested in a FREE pre-listing consultation, sign up below. This consultation is designed for homeowners who are considering listing their home for sale and want to position it in the best possible way to receive the highest return on investment. The free consultation takes about 30 minutes, we'll go through your home room by room and at the end, you'll have a list of simple things to improve your home's show-ability.
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.