How To Prepare Your Home For Sale

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Spring has sprung, and it home selling season! Over our 35+ years of homeownership, we’ve bought and sold nine homes, learning through trial and error what truly makes a difference when preparing a home for sale. This experience has taught us that the right preparation not only showcases your home in the best light but also significantly impacts its market value and how quickly it sells. Here’s our distilled wisdom on how to prepare your home for sale, drawing on decades of firsthand experience.

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Understanding the Basics of Home Preparation

A well-prepared home not only stands out in listings but also attracts more viewers, sells faster, and garners higher offers. It’s about highlighting your home’s strengths and enabling buyers to see its potential as their future home.

Exterior Preparations

Boosting Curb Appeal

We’ve seen firsthand the transformative power of curb appeal. Simple steps like landscaping, painting the front door, and ensuring walkways are welcoming can drastically improve first impressions. It also generates drive by traffic!

Making a Great First Impression

The entryway is your home’s handshake. A new doormat, vibrant potted plants, and a tidy porch set the stage for what’s inside. Through our sales, we’ve noticed these small touches significantly impact buyer interest. Every time we walk through an open house, this is one of the most memorable images that impacts our opinion.

Interior Preparations

Decluttering and Depersonalizing

The importance of decluttering and depersonalizing can’t be over stated. Removing personal items and excess clutter allows potential buyers to envision their lives in the space, making it more appealing.

Deep Cleaning and Minor Repairs

A pristine home is essential. Kitchens and bathrooms should be spotless, and all minor repairs addressed. We’ve walked through some very nice homes that were dirty and unkept, certainly a turn off for many reasons. This diligence removes any doubts about the home’s condition.

Deep Cleaning Checklist for Preparing Your Home For Sale

Clean the oven, stovetop, and range hood thoroughly.
Deep clean the refrigerator and freezer, inside and out.
Scrub the sink and polish the faucet.
Wipe down all countertops and backsplashes.
Clean inside and outside of cabinets and drawers.
Mop the floor, paying special attention to corners and under appliances.
Scrub the shower, bathtub, and sink.
Clean and disinfect the toilet, inside and out.
Wipe down mirrors and glass surfaces.
Clean tile grout and re-caulk around the tub and sink if necessary.
Wash or replace shower curtains and liners.
Mop floors and clean baseboards.
Dust all surfaces, including shelves, mantels, and window sills.
Clean windows, including tracks and frames.
Vacuum carpets, and consider professional cleaning for high-traffic areas.
Wash curtains and blinds, or dust and vacuum as appropriate.
Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans.
Wipe down doors and clean knobs.
Sweep and mop hard surface floors throughout the house.
Vacuum upholstery and consider professional cleaning for stained or odorous pieces.
Dust and clean all electronic devices and screens.
Organize closets, donating or discarding unwanted items.
Replace air filters and clean vents to improve air quality.
Ensure all light bulbs are working and replace as needed for consistent lighting.
Power wash siding, decks, and patios.
Clean out gutters and downspouts.
Sweep walkways and driveways.
Tidy up the yard: mow the lawn, trim bushes, and remove weeds.

Updating Interiors

A fresh coat of paint or new cabinet hardware can make a significant difference. We’ve found that these cost-effective updates can refresh spaces and appeal to a wide range of buyers.

Staging Your Home

The Basics of Home Staging

Staging, whether DIY or professional, is about arranging your space to showcase its potential. Well-staged homes sell faster and often at a higher price. Also, bake some cookies just before a showing for a great smell and leave them out for the potential buyers.

Essential Documents and Inspections

Gathering Necessary Documents

Organizing documents, from warranties to repair records, has streamlined our selling processes and built trust with buyers. This preparation can facilitate a smoother transaction.

Pre-Sale Home Inspection

A pre-listing home inspection can preempt negotiation hurdles, a lesson we’ve learned the hard way. Addressing issues beforehand can clear the path to a successful sale.

Marketing Your Prepared Home

High-Quality Photos and Virtual Tours

Our sales have underscored the importance of professional photos and virtual tours. They’re essential for attracting online shoppers and should highlight the best features of your prepared home.

Wrapping Up

Drawing on our 35+ years of homeownership and the sale of nine homes, we’ve learned that preparing your home for sale is more than a set of tasks—it’s a strategic approach to marketing your property. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating an inviting atmosphere that potential buyers can see themselves calling home.

Final Thoughts

These tips are simple and seem obvious, but make sure you take action on all of them. Leverage our decades of experience to get the best offer for your home. Start with these expert tips on preparation, and don’t hesitate to reach out to a real estate professional for guidance.

Let us know in the comments any other tips you might have for prepping your home for sale!

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