Be brutally honest with yourself: What needs be done to make your house look its best so it sells at the best price? Notice I said “needs” to be done. You want buyers to see themselves living in this wonderful place you call home. So, look at your house as if you’re the prospective buyers whom you hope will make an offer. Think back to why you bought your home in the first place. Listen to your Realtor; he or she will help you see things through a buyers’ eyes. Remember – most people will see your home online, and if they don’t like what they see, in just 2 to 3 seconds, they’ll wipe it right off their screen. So make your house look as good as possible. Put it in the best shape possible. There’s a lot of competition out there. Open your eyes – and your mind! – and focus on making it as lovely as the day you bought it.
- Make a plan, and stick to it. You’ll need time, patience and some help. Every day fill clear out a room and fill at least a few boxes. Have your Realtor take you to other homes that are competitive to yours. You’ll get some great ideas on how you should prepare and stage your home.
- De-clutter inside and out! Get rid of 50% of everything. Since it’s not too cold outside yet, start there. Get some big trash bags and plastic storage boxes. Mark the bags for trash, donation, and things to pack. Add an extra for items you can’t decide on at first … the “unsure” bag … just don’t let that “unsure” box get too filled up. Clean out the flowerbeds and the gutters, pack up or donate the kids’ toys, recycle or toss out the withered plants and add seasonal ones. Weed and mulch. Clear out your closets, the garage and storage areas. Depersonalize the house. Remove items that are religious, scandalous and valuable.
- Repair what’s broken and Replace what’s dated. Is there a missing switch plate? A leaky faucet? Cracked or broken bathroom tile? Are the garage doors working? Is your kitchen or bathroom dated? Replace the knobs yourself, or, for the bigger projects, discuss ideas with your Realtor and be willing to hire a pro.
- Paint. This is the least expensive upgrade and worth its weight in gold. Choose neutral colors. Get your inspiration from websites like Pinterest, Houzz.com and West Elm. Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore are great paint stores.
- Make everything sparkle! Bathrooms, kitchens and windows are key. Dust and vac light fixtures, fans and window treatments. Change the light bulbs to a higher wattage. Get a new shower curtain, liner and curtain rings. Get new areas rugs for the bedroom and baths, hallways and bedrooms. Get a new welcome mat. And close off rooms or spaces that you don’t have to be use. Air out the house, weather permitting. Bake something that smells good when you expect a showing.
- Stage your house with today’s styles in mind. Think “less is more.” Hire a stager and let them tweak your style. Set your table for “show,” using the current season as a guide. Remove pet items. Adjust the temperature.