Selling a home is an exciting, but challenging process. The eight simple steps below will help smooth the transition from home-sweet-home to SOLD.
Whether working with a realtor to sell a home or whether it’s for sale by owner, leave no stone unturned in the quest to impress buyers. Follow these guidelines to put out the welcome mat for the next home owner.
When Selling a Home, remember: Breaking Up Is Hard – but Not Impossible – to Do
Selling a home can bring nostalgic memories flooding back. Maybe that sturdy shade tree was just a seedling when the twins were born, or crayon marks on the wall bring back memories of a toddler’s creative streak. Even so, home sellers can detach emotionally by focusing on their next exciting new abode. Buyers will want to imagine a home as their own. Keep it neutral and remove personal items, such as photographs and collectibles.
Selling a Home Goes Faster When the Home Is Free of Clutter
Even everyday items, such as stuffed pencil-holders, buried mail baskets, cluttered counter tops or tangled electronics can convey a disorderly home or make a home seem smaller. Gather large boxes or bags and label them: TOSS, DONATE or STORE. Then set about sorting, filing, pitching and downsizing.
A Home Will Sell Well if You Start Packing Early
Remove things that aren’t used often, such as specialty appliances, holiday items, or seasonal displays. Examine every corner, inside and out. Move extra furniture, too, to present an inviting, spacious appearance. Put items in temporary, off-site storage if possible. Otherwise, stack them neatly out of the way in closets, a shed or elsewhere. (Remember that buyers often open cupboards, closets and even appliances, so keep things orderly, even behind closed doors!)
Cleaning Thoroughly Helps Clear the Way for a Quick Home Sale
Untidy areas, stained carpet, dusty surfaces or unpleasant odours can make the difference between a “no thanks” and a “yes, we’re interested!” response. Pay special attention to bathrooms and kitchens. Sweep. Dust. Vacuum. Polish. Air out rooms, clean window coverings, and wash windows inside and out. Treat stains, steam carpets, and polish wood floors and tile. If necessary, hire professional cleaners. When it sparkles, a home shows and sells well.
Make Repairs and Improvements before Selling Your Home
If the fence needs paint, the gate needs a latch and the mailbox is leaning, this is the time to straighten up. Selling a home quickly requires paying attention to every detail. It’s important to clear the walks, trim the hedges and keep up lawn maintenance while the home is on the market.
Selling a home sooner calls for a fresh coat of paint inside and out. It’s one of the simplest, most profitable improvements a home owner can make. Consider removing patterned wallpaper, too, since personal preferences vary widely. Use neutral colours for walls, floors and window coverings. One person’s beloved pink carpet and fuchsia floral walls is another person’s idea of a fixer-upper!
Before selling a home, allow time for major repair jobs if needed. A certified home inspector can help identify repairs, such as faulty wiring, that can delay or derail a sale. Some buyers will negotiate costly repairs, such as fixing a leaky roof, installing a new water heater, or replacing threadbare carpet. However, many prefer to avoid the hassle. It’s best to complete repairs before putting a home on the market.
When Selling a Home, Keep Things Tidy While the House Is on the Market
Once all the prep work is done, try to keep things in order while a home is for sale. This can be challenging if the sellers are still living in the house while buyers come and go. But it’s worth the effort! Be ready to show at any time. Consider having laundry baskets or bins ready to stash things away in case of a last-minute call to show the home to a buyer.
While the Home Is for Sale, have a Plan and a Bag that’s Ready to Go
If a Realtor is selling the home, it’s a good idea to leave before buyers arrive to view the home. Buyers will feel freer to explore, linger and ask questions. Some buyers are uncomfortable commenting on features they dislike or candidly discussing details, such as the selling price, when the current home seller is present.
Be ready to go someplace nearby on short notice. This could be a quick-service restaurant, coffee shop, mall, library or gym. Have an escape plan and have a handy bag ready with appropriate items, such as gym clothes, running shoes, books or games for the kids. Some home sellers use this time to run errands, take in a movie or spend time with nearby family and friends.
Finishing Touches Will Help Sell a Home
Preparing a home for sale should include a few final touches. It’s often the little things that make a house feel like home. Put fresh flowers in a vase or set a large bowl of fresh fruit on the table. Hang stylish new towels and put specialty soaps in the bathroom. Plant abundant foliage and flowers near entryways.
Pay special attention to landscaping for curb appeal that will attract drive-by viewers. Consider other improvements, too, such as brass kick plates or a doorknocker and other practical and charming elements. It all adds up to that all-important first impression that opens the door and closes the sale of a home.