This guide to preparing to sell your home is designed to help with the many questions homeowners have about staging, furniture, and personal items. To sell your house fast, a good first impression is essential. We will talk about listing photos, decluttering, paint, first impression areas, cleaning, smells & odors, and more! When selling your house, make YOUR home stand out in the sea of houses for sale.
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How To Prepare Your Home For Sale
This is probably the second most common questions home sellers have, right behind “How Do I Price My Home to Sell?”. I always tell my clients that a good first impression is absolutely key for a fast sale at top dollar.
Nearly all home buyers today start their search on the internet. They look at the pictures of your home on the internet and decide if they want to come tour it or not. It’s up to you to make sure it shows well when they arrive.
Pictures: Good pictures are mandatory these days. Good agents, or even homeowners that plan to do a For Sale By Owner will hire a professional photographer. The professional not only has the right equipment to do the job right, but they also know what lights to turn on or off, and what items to move out of the shot. You can ensure a smooth photo shoot by making sure you’ve done everything you can to make your home shine.
Decluttering: This is often an awkward conversation when I’m on a listing appointment, but is a must-have convo. When you live in your home, you tend to not notice as much as when someone new comes inside to tour your home. Ask your agent for advice on what to remove- they see lots of homes and know what will help it show its best. Don’t be offended when they ask you to remove family photos and personal items. Remember, you’re wanting the buyer to visualize THEIR family living in your home, not YOUR family. The less “personal stuff” the better. And when in doubt, throw it out!
Decluttering doesn’t just mean getting rid of extra furniture and pictures. In the Kitchen and Bathrooms, remove almost everything from the counters. Leave some nice soaps and towels out, just like you would expect in a Hotel.
It’s generally just fine to move extra items to the garage, or you can get a storage unit. Potential buyers can see past a cluttered garage more than clutter inside the home.
First Impression Areas: These areas are what a buyer sees when they are approaching and entering your home. Think about the last time you toured a home for the first time. You probably came up the driveway, through the front door, and straight to the Kitchen! Walk these areas of your house through the eyes of a buyer. Remember that the buyer has developed an opinion of your home before they even reach the Kitchen. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is the walkway to the door dirty or cluttered?
- How does the paint on the front door look?
- Is the doorknob tarnished and nasty?
- Does the key easily open the front door lock?
- Upon walking through the door, how does the flooring look? Torn carpet or dirty tile?
Cleaning: Everyone’s favorite subject! Most people know how to clean a home, so I won’t get into all of the details on this, and will instead focus on areas that need extra attention to ensure a SOLD sign.
- Clean showers and toilets thoroughly
- Hire a professional to steam clean your carpets and hard floors, including tile grout
- Clean all windows inside and out. Especially the ones at the front of the home (remember first impressions??)
- Wipe down baseboards. No one wants to look down and see dirt piled up on a nice white baseboard
- Clean the oven, refrigerator and other appliances
- Pay close attention in Bath areas for mold or mildew on caulking and other areas
Smells: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out showing homes and have people say either “It doesn’t smell very good in here” or “Wow it smells great in here”. Which house do you think the buyer will spend more time touring? You guessed it. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned (especially if you have pets) put a few air fresheners in your house. Don’t overdo it, just something to leave a nice fragrance throughout. People’s noses are particularly sensitive to pet and food odors. Either refrain from cooking with a whole head of garlic, or open the windows for a while after cooking. Ask your agent or a friend how your house smells, as we tend to go “nose blind” to the odors in our own home.
Paint: Neutral colors are preferred. If your paint is really worn, then a re-paint may be in order. This is often an inexpensive way to get more money from your sale. Focus on the main living areas first. Master Bed and Bath second, and if your timeline and/or budget allow, then look at the extra bedrooms. Most people can see past a teenager’s bedroom color, but many can’t visualize a funky color in the Kitchen.
Things to remember:
- When you agent makes suggestions, they’re just doing their job. Don’t be offended that they suggest changing things.
- Try your best to see your home through the eyes of a buyer. Sometimes it helps to leave for a few minutes then enter the home as a buyer would.
- It may be best for you to hire a professional cleaner, they know exactly what to do and are less expensive than you may think.
- Ask your agent to help connect you to a Handyman, Painter, Carpet cleaner, etc. Good agents know just who to call.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Phoenix area, you should contact a reputable, reliable agent with a proven track record. Ryan Welch and his team are always here to help and can be reached at 480-356-3197