The Seller’s Guide is a new Series we created, to provide useful tips to prepare you & your home for sale. Our first edition covers ways to prepare your home to sell.
1. First impressions are everything. Make your home’s entryway have a lasting one on potential buyers. Prior to a showing or open house, do a porch sweep to rid leaves and other debris for a clear entrance. If you have a glass door, be sure to wipe off any fingerprints or dog nose prints. Style your porch as if it were an interior room, with a couple of chairs, rocking, wicker or anything that fits your personality and add a few decorative plants for some added color.
2. It always feels good to do some spring cleaning, right? One of the most effective and quickest methods to clean out your home of all the miscellaneous stuff you’ve collected throughout the years, is to hold an annual garage sale. Some communities even pool together and host a weekend of sales. This is also a great idea to do prior to putting your home on the market for sale. Plan ahead and purge items from your home, room by room, do one a week, until your garage is full of someone else’ treasures! Donate the items that don’t sell!
- Neutral is in! Especially when selling your home. Give your entire home a fresh look by painting every wall prior to listing it for sale. Stay in the neutral zone, of light beiges, grays and even whites. It makes it so much easier for buyers to envision their own design colors and furnishings in the home. Ultimately you want buyers to picture themselves in the home rather than getting distracted by your design preferences. One of my favorite gray paint colors is Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.
4. This is a stylish and useful organization tip to do, especially if you leave items scattered around your kitchen (like I do!). To keep your kitchen counters always tidy when you’re selling your home, make a stove-side tray of items to have them handy for cooking. Gather the items, like the salt and pepper shakers, kitchen towels, cutting board and utensils and combine them all in one tray and place next to the stove. This clears the clutter off the counters, keeping your kitchen neat and tidy for prospective buyers walking through the house!
5. Got clutter on your bathroom counters? When it comes to selling your home, clearing your counters of all the bathroom things – the toothpaste, lotions, medicines, etc., is the best way to present a clean and tidy bathroom for potential buyers. I found the easiest way to do this is to have bins at the ready to throw all of your toiletries into, right before you have buyers walk through your home. I just finished organizing our bathroom linen closet, I added tons of bins and categorized our toiletries into medicines, first aid & bandages, dental hygiene products, hair products & lotions and a bin for all the backup products we have. This keeps your bathroom drawers or closet organized at all times, and makes it easy to clean off those cluttered counters when it’s time to sell your home!
6. Where there is light, there are …many buyers! To this day, I’ve never sold a home that showed as a dark and closed-in space. People always tend to lean towards buying the light & airy homes. To obtain this feel when you’re preparing your home for a showing to a potential buyer, be sure to uncover all windows to let the most natural light in. Pull back the drapes and tie them, open all the plantation shutters and all other blinds. You want your home to show to its best potential and providing the most natural light will accomplish this.
7. Who wouldn’t love freshly baked cookies? Make your guests, your prospective buyers feel welcome upon walking through the front entryway into your home. If you’re holding an Open House or if you have several showings lined up for the afternoon, bake a fresh batch of cookies for buyers to enjoy, as a courtesy. They may have been out looking at other homes all day long prior to stopping at yours and could use a snack to refuel. What better home to re-energize in than in yours, you know, the home you want them to buy! Not to mention, it makes the house smell good and sets a warm inviting tone as they enter. Bonus: Leave out some small bottles of water to wash down the cookies! Your guests will thank you and will be an extra reminder of how lovely your home is and they just may end up making an offer to buy it!
8. Imagine yourself in the buyer’s shoes, when you’re preparing your home to sell. Would you want to enter a home and see someone else’ family photographs & mementos? The answer should be no. As a seller, clear out most of your personal photos & items before your home goes on the market. This allows buyers to come into their potentially new home and envision a life for themselves & their family, without any distractions.
9. There’s nothing like walking into a new home and smelling the crisp, new-ness of everything. It’s a smell that is difficult to duplicate. You can however freshen up your home with other scents, like subtle-scented candles, for prospective buyers. Try a fresh & clean scent. Light a few candles in the main living areas for an hour prior to a home showing, (be sure to blow them out before you leave the house, prior to the showing!), to release the fragrance into the home. When buyers come into the home, they’ll be greeted with a nice, clean & fresh aroma in the home. Eliminate the use of air fresheners or sprays throughout the home. They tend to be too strong for most people’s senses and it leaves behind the odor in people’s minds, rather than how beautiful the home is.
10. Create a checklist of to do’s before a home showing. When you’ve receive the call from your real estate agent about showing your home to a potential buyer, you’ll want to have a checklist handy to reference to make final preparations to get your home show ready. You may only have a one or two hour notice, which every minute counts and you don’t want to forget anything important. Include tasks such as clearing clutter (mail, coupons, keys, etc) off counters & wipe down, washing dirty dishes & putting away in cabinets, tidying up door entryways (shoes in closets!), putting the toilet seats down, wiping down bathroom counters, if you have pets, running a vacuum on the floors and so on. A list of these to do’s will eliminate the stress out of showings and will ensure your home looks the best it can look for every prospective buyer!
Looking for more real estate guidance? Refer to our other Sellers Guides for additional relevant home sale preparedness and information.