Spring and its sense of renewal will soon be in the air. For sale signs, like flowers, will be blooming in the coming weeks. Perhaps, you have decided that it’s time to plant a sign in your front yard, but where do you start?
Of course, the first step is to call us. Our agents love to talk with sellers to help them understand what they can expect throughout the process. We will use our deep experience working in the Capital Region’s housing market to help you successfully sell your home, guiding you every step of the way from that first call to the closing table.
When we meet at your house, following all safety protocols, we’ll walk through it and have some specific advice for you about getting your home ready to show to prospective buyers. We’ll discuss things you can do to increase your home’s appeal to today’s buyers and maximize its value.
Your home doesn’t have to look like it should be on Million Dollar Listing to be ready to show, but it does have to be clean, decluttered, and in a state of good repair.
One of the first steps to take is deep cleaning your house. You don’t want odors or dirty surfaces to be the first thing that greets your potential buyer when they walk in.
Now, we know that you do a great job keeping up on your home, but few of us take it to the level of a professional house cleaner on a regular basis. Over time, we no longer notice things because we spend so much time in our homes.
For example, we all love our pets, but we don’t notice their smells or maybe how much they shed. They are family members, and we love them. However, a potential buyer will notice the pet hair or the litter box smell and potentially decide it’s not right for them.
Clean everything from top to bottom, including bathroom fixtures, walls, baseboard trim. Shampoo your carpets, mop the floors, and freshen up the furniture. As your house is shown, you’ll want to touch up as needed before and after showings.
Pro tip: Baking cookies before a showing appointment is a great way to make your house smell like home. Be wary of heavily scented candles or plug-ins with strong fragrances as they may have the opposite effect.
Declutter and depersonalize
While living in your house and when you are used to having your things where you want them, it’s tough to keep your home decluttered and depersonalized. However, removing clutter makes your space look larger, which appeals to buyers. Depersonalizing helps buyers visualize themselves living there.
It’s a great time to go through the house room by room to decide what needs to stay, what needs to be packed away because you can do without for now, and what needs to be donated or tossed out. Focus on one room at a time. As a result of this process, you will have boxes packed for your move, and you’ll be moving less stuff!
If you have a lot of boxes, consider renting a storage unit or moving them to a relative’s house since the boxes take up space, too. You don’t want to overload the basement and detract from that selling feature.
Pro tip: Kids’ toys are a challenge because your children will not want to have anything put away. Let them pick the toys they want to keep within reason and make sure you have a way to store them during showings neatly.
Decluttering means tackling your closets, too! You want to show potential buyers how much they can hold. Store off-season clothing and things you don’t wear frequently. Be sure to clear out the items you’ve stored in the back of the closet and reduce any clutter on the shelves. If you are using a closet for storing something beyond clothes or bath linens, restore it to its intended use. For example, if you have converted a linen closet into a t-shirt closet, store the shirts and put some bath towels there. Repurposing the closet may have worked for you, but the buyer won’t see it that way.
Pro tip: The goal is to show how spacious your closet is by having roughly half of the clothes bar showing.
As you are decluttering, you should take a moment to look at the room through the buyers’ eyes. Now is the time to take down the family photos and other personal items that are unique to you. You want the buyer to see themselves living in the house, and looking at your grandparent’s wedding photo in the dining room won’t help.
Paint, maintenance, and upgrades
Take a look around now that you’ve decluttered. What do the walls look like? Has it been a while since you’ve painted the walls, doors, and trim? Can you tell where Aunt Martha’s photo was on the wall? Are any rooms painted unusual colors that might not be right for everyone?
A fresh coat of paint is an easy upgrade that can significantly improve your home’s appeal - if you pick the right colors. Paint the house in neutral tones as it will present a blank canvas for the buyers to visualize how they would make the house their own.
You should take an inventory of all the big-ticket items and make sure they are in working order. These include air conditioning, furnace, hot water heater, electrical, and plumbing. You want to check your roof and your basement, too.
Make repairs to anything that’s broken and have service done as needed. These items can be a deal-breaker and shouldn’t be ignored because they will be discovered during an inspection. Don’t forget to make sure there aren’t any foundation issues.
Pro tip: Do sweat the small stuff in this case. Walk through like you’re buying the home to find broken doorknobs, cabinet pulls, broken outlet covers, stuck windows, and so on. Most things you’ll find are easy to fix and will make a good impression on potential buyers.
A common question from sellers is about what upgrades will help the house sell. It’s important to understand that some upgrades will help you sell more quickly but won’t necessarily increase your selling price.
Pro tip: Consult with one of our agents to explore upgrades that make sense. It’s a good topic to discuss during your walk through together.
Don’t forget the outside!
Curb appeal. You need it.
Take a look at your property from the road - safely, of course. Clean up any debris from last fall or the winter. Make sure that your flowers, plants, shrubbery, and trees are in good health and trimmed. Fresh mulch will make those flower beds pop.
Walk around the house and look for any issues with siding, gutters, or roof. How does that front door look? Time for a fresh coat of paint? The answer is almost always yes.
You may want to consider hiring someone to clean your siding, roof, and windows as well.
Pro tip: You want your house to make a good first impression for buyers every time. Keep the lawn mowed and the greenery trimmed.
Don’t be overwhelmed! You don’t have to do it all in a day or a weekend. You can even hire someone to help with things like cleaning or junk removal. If you are thinking of selling, just considering it as getting a jump on your spring cleaning.
Don’t forget, we’re here to help and advise you every step of the way!
Contact us for a no-obligation seller’s consultation today!