Prepare Your Home for Sale Checklist
Let’s start with Curb Appeal. Builders typically understand curb appeal better than anyone. Click here to search hundred’s of brand new homes for inspiration.
Curb Appeal Basics:
This Old House Magazine offers great ideas to improve curb appeal.
- Can you see the door? Is it a welcoming entrance?
- Are shrubs and trees overgrown?
- How many colors is your home? (3 colors is ideal; a base color, a trim color and an accent color) Do those colors appeal to a large audience?
- Is anything broken or in need of repair?
- Is the house number attractive and visible?
- Is the sidewalk in need of a quick power wash?
Check out before and after pictures at Get More Curb Appeal or do a quick Google Image Search.
Often times curb appeal can be dramatically improved with even the most limiting of budgets. Sometimes a simple arrangement of potted plants or a little paint is all it takes.
Often homeowners get so used to seeing the little defects they have been meaning to fix for years such as a missing trim piece in the living room that the don’t realize how the home appears overall. It’s like the old saying, we sometimes don’t see the forest through the trees.
Walk to your front door the way a buyer would, stand there and look around as a buyer does while their Realtor opens the door. Then walk in, pause, look around, smell, and listen as if this is the first time you’ve seen your home. Do this with every room and finish with the back and side yard.
Start with a boxing party. Remove about 50% to 70% of everything. Box it up and send it to storage until the move is over. Your furniture should convey use to the buyer but not take up more floor space than absolutely necessary, we want as much square footage as possible to stick in the mind of the buyer.
- Remove all personal items like trophies or collections, fridge magnets and yes, the family photos gotta go. (We love your family and your matchbox car collection, it’s just that they are distracting and the buyers end up not remember your home, just your stuff)
- For dining and kitchen tables, typically about half the chairs you would normally use
- For bedrooms, send the dressers away so that the rooms fills larger and allows buyers to walk all the way around beds.
- For the office, it needs to be tidy, your message to the buyer should be one that says, “Hey, when you buy this home, you too will be organized” this goes for the laundry and garage areas too.
- Bathroom and kitchen countertops need to be naked – use a box or basket that you can put your daily use products that can easily be put in the under sink cabinets for last-minute showings.
Notice the “movable color” – see how it adds interest without turning away potential buyers.
- Have your home professional cleaned, the same as you would when selling a car. Think of it as a detail clean service for your home.
- Have your windows professional cleaned.
- If you have pets, make the evidence of those pets scare, or at the very least make it look as nice as possible; i.e. new pet bowls, placements under the bowls, new doggie beds and the cat box has to be cleaned daily while the home is on the market.
- Paint and use warm neutral colors. Add interest with movable color; i.e. Light tan walls with a beautiful bouquet of bright orange flowers or fun throw pillows on the couch. It’s okay to have color, just as long as the color is not permanent.
- Treat yourself to beautiful bedspreads and fluffy new towels, you can use them for staging and take them with you when you move.
- If you have a difficult area, say a bathroom with dated tile, use the principles of “Black, White and Green” Black or white towels and rugs (either or, not both) will dramatically defuse the intensity of the color, next add real or silk “greens”. You can also use other natural textures such as wood or rock, but adding green plants is the easiest for those who consider themselves decoratively challenged.
- Keep in mind that professional staging pays for itself at the closing table. After countless examples and as a professional real estate Broker, I would never dream of selling a home without either staging it myself or paying a stager to do it for me.
- Keep in mind that the better the home looks, the less time you’ll have to keep it in that condition.
In the backyard:
Overall House Condition:
- If you have one, go into your crawl space and verify the vapor barrier and insulation are in good condition, that there isn’t any standing water, evidence of rodent or pest activity and that all the vents are properly covered with mesh wire and not blocked.
- Go into the attic and make sure that the insulation is in good condition and that there are no signs of moisture or a leaky roof.
- Go onto the roof and make sure the roof is in good condition and free of moss, that the gutters are all connected and free of debris.
- Cut back any tree branches or shrubs that touch the house
- Have your furnace serviced and make sure your water heater is not set higher than 120 degrees
- Check all plumbing to make sure it’s not leaking and is operating correctly.
- Check all the exterior siding and fascia boards to check for any evidence of wood rot or wood destroying organisms.
- Check all windows and doors that they are operating properly
If you feel overwhelmed, email me a photo of your home at Jana@JanaSchmidt.com and I can help give you a few pointers. I see thousands of homes and I know what appeals to today’s home buyers.