Stage 2: Get Your House Ready to Sell
Now that you’ve gotten your initial questions answered and have a better idea of what the home selling process entails, it’s time to begin the serious work of converting the home that you love back into a property that appeals to the most buyers possible. As you prepare your home for sale, you’ll detach, declutter, depersonalize and deep clean.
Detach: These step is easier for some than for others. Over time, a house becomes homes. When you decide to sell, you’ll have to separate the memories you’ve made from the place you made them in. It can be difficult to let go, but the task will be much easier if you can think of this move as a new beginning rather than an end. You can take your memories with you to your next residence, but you’ll have to leave the house behind.
Depersonalize: The goal is to make your home a blank canvas. You want potential buyers to focus on imagining themselves living in the house surrounded by their belongings – not on admiring yours. Make room for their imagination to blossom by removing any and all of your personal items like wedding or vacation photos from the walls, report cards and finger paintings from the fridge door, and the college beer stein collection from the display case in the family room.
Declutter: In addition to removing any personal items, you need to get rid of as much clutter as possible, as well. Pick up toys, books, magazines and store them neatly away. Your plan is to move, so start packing now. Clean out closets, schedule a Goodwill pick-up, and donate anything you aren’t planning to take with you. A clean, clutter-free home seems larger and airier than a cluttered home sends a signal to the buyer that your house is too small, cramped, or has insufficient storage.
Deep Clean: You would never dream of inviting guests to your house without making certain preparations, so don’t invite potential buyers in without making your home. Dust and polish wood furniture and floors. Shampoo stained and dirty carpeting, clean the windows inside and out, make the beds, clean and hang fresh towels in the bathrooms. If you can swing it, have your home professionally cleaned prior to listing. Then do your best to maintain that level of tidiness until you’ve got an accepted offer.
Complete Necessary Repairs / Updates: The last thing you might want to do is invest money into a home you’re hoping to sell, your best chances for selling your home for the most money in the least amount of time is to get it into tip top shape before it hits the market. If there are obvious repairs, or deferred maintenance issues, they should be addressed prior to listing your home. Walk around inside and out and create a punchlist of any areas that need repairs or updates. Then decide which you’ll do yourself, which you might need professional help with, and which you’ll leave for the new owners to address.