Selling a home can take more time than the seller might like. You’ve made your decision, and all you want is to be at the end of the process with an amazing sell. One of the first steps for a speedy settlement is to hire a real estate agent. As you research your best options, here are some quick tips to make your house sale-ready before your agent even steps through the door.
Depersonalize Your Home
Depersonalizing should be the first step when preparing the house for sale. Removing the plaques, awards, and family pictures can be painful, but you need to create an environment that will allow the buyers to imagine the house as a potential home. Personal items will make them feel more like trespassers than members of the household.
While you are depersonalizing, you will need to look out for rooms that are too cluttered. When you locate a cluttered room, you should remove some of the items. The problem with clutter is that it creates the illusion that rooms are smaller than they are. If you remove the items now, when the buyer walks into the room he will be amazed at all the space available.
Staging the House
As you weed out items, remember that you do not want to remove too many items from the room. An empty house is just as hard to sell as a cluttered house. As long as the furniture isn’t moldy, covered in dog hair, or torn to shreds, the presence of furniture will create an environment that the buyer can imagine his or her family living in.
If your house has old furniture or no furniture, you can:
- Borrow some nice furniture from friends or family.
- Use this as a time to invest in some new or used furniture for your next house.
If your family or friends do not have furniture to spare, and you do not have the money to invest in new furniture, you should consult your real estate agent for more suggestions.
Cleaning the House
Remember those cleaning binges you would go on whenever someone was invited over? You should go beyond that level of clean before the house hits the market. If there’s a guest that you need to impress, it’s the potential buyer.
Before the cleaning binge is done, you’ll want to:
- Sweep and mop tile and wood floors.
- Vacuum and steam-clean carpets to remove dirt and stains.
- Dust cobwebs from ceiling if present.
- Clean bathroom, and be sure to focus on cleaning discolored grout between bathroom tiles.
- Clean under and around more permanent furniture.
- Don’t forget to clean the windows and wash down the siding of the house.
Cleaning the Yard
Now is not the time to falter on yard work. Curb appeal is vitally important to the success of a sell. You want the buyer to love the house from the first glimpse. You want them to imagine playing tag with their kids or playing fetch with the dog. This process should take anywhere from four to 12 hours depending on the size of the yard and how in-depth you go.
Areas to focus on include:
- Maintain grass: Mow and weed. You might want to buy a weed killer.
- Prune bushes and trees. Remove and replace dead or wilting bushes.
- Replace missing woodchips or stones in the front of the house.
While you’re preparing the house to sell, be sure to look for damaged, worn, and outdated areas of your home. You should form a list and decide what areas of the house need to be replaced, patched up, or improved.
Remember not to go all out because most of the home improvements that you invest in will not receive a full return when you eventually sell. The point of these repairs is to make the house as appealing as you can without going too far in the red. This will hopefully speed the sale process along.
Simple areas to renovate:
- Replace the worn front door with a steel door.
- Repaint chipped or oddly colored walls.
- Replace chipped outlet coverings.
Selling a house can be a long process. You will need to decide what will and won’t remain in the home during the sale. You will need to clean the house and yard. And you might be advised to renovate portions of the home. Eventually you will have a real estate agent to tell you all this, but why wait that long? If you begin now, you will have less to do later, which will lead to a faster sale.
This guest post was written by Wade Myer. Wade has worked as a grunt, framer, grunt again, light equipment operator, and building inspector. Finally, he’s getting to write about his experiences on behalf of Steiner Homes, which builds St. John custom homes.