Before you list your home for sale you’ll need to prepare it for the market. A well prepared home will impress buyers and and the impressed buyer will make a quick offer, at or close to asking price. And that’s what you want, right? The best price possible for your home in the shortest amount of time!
Before you get started on preparing your home for sale the first thing you need to do is disengage your emotions and start thinking about your house as a commodity rather than a home. Put your “buyers hat” on. It will make it easier for you to go through your house or condo and figure out what needs to be done to make it more “saleable.”
Looking at your house from a different perspective is a good place to start. Do you usually enter the house through the garage? Try using the front door. You’ll think you’ve walked into a different house! What do you see? First impressions are important. The room needs to be clear of clutter and personal items. Furniture is helpful as it helps buyers get a feel for the space and size of a room. A room stuffed full of furniture on the other hand makes it look small. Personal items are distracting so you should remove as much as possible without making the room look completely sterile. You don’t want buyers wondering about you and your family and your hobbies and interests. You want them thinking about what they could do with the room if they were living there.
How to De-Clutter & De-personalize Your Home
So where do you start with the de-cluttering and de-personalizing? Neat and tidy is good. There’s no reason to overdo it though, you want to feel comfortable in your own home while it’s on the market. The list gives you an idea of where to start.
- Start packing. You’re moving so you can get a start on putting personal items in boxes ready for that move. This includes photos, knick knacks and anything you have on display in your living room, family room and bedrooms. Less is more. Shoot for at least 75% of what you have on display. Some items that you use daily, like phone chargers or personal electronics can disappear into drawers, but only if there’s room for them. Over stuffed drawers and closets is not the goal!
- If you’ve got kids, try to make sure their toys are limited to one area, (preferably stored in boxes) and not in every room of the house. This is a good time to mention that rooms should if possible be used for their intended purpose. In other words, if you have a fitness room that is actually a bedroom, now would be a good time to get a bed in there.
- Clear off counter tops in the kitchen and organize kitchen cabinets – This is huge. The kitchen is for many buyers the most important room in the house and needs to be as free from appliances on the counter top as you can make it. Cupboards also need to be clean, tidy and well organized. If your cupboards are cram packed full of stuff a buyer will assume the kitchen is too small for you and make the leap that it’s too small for them too!
- Clear off vanity tops in bathrooms – A good plan is to store personal items needed daily in a small container that you can quickly put in the cabinet prior to showings.
Time to Catch Up on Home Maintenance
How attractive your house looks when buyers walk in there is one thing. How it performs on closer inspection is equally important. Below are some basic home maintenance items to check prior to putting your home on the market.
- Change filter in the furnace.
- Check for leaks in the kitchen and bathrooms – This includes leaky faucets and under the sink.
- Check for creaking doors and doors that stick, (especially the front door).
- Check for chipped paintwork. This is a good place to mention that painting a house gives the biggest return on investment when your selling your home. The majority of buyers are looking for move in ready and when you’re preparing your home for sale you’re shooting for pleasing a maximum number of buyers. Keeping that in mind, paint is not expensive and an easy way to get buyers eyes to light up when they enter a house!
A Bright & Shiny House to Seal the Deal
After you’ve de-cluttered and taken care of any basic home maintenance items, the final step is to make sure your house is as bright and shiny as a new pin. All your hard work will be in vain if you miss this step. Buyers have a particularly low tolerance level when it comes to odors. I’m not just talking pet odors either, food smells can just as easily kill a deal as the smell of a dirty litter box. That means deep cleaning everything. The list includes some items to pay special attention to.
- Clean windows inside and out.
- Clean Ceiling Fan Blades.
- Remove water stains on faucets and polish so they look like new.
- Vacuum regularly, especially if there are pets in the house.
Reviewing your Work & Assessing Curb Appeal
You’ve de-cluttered your home, taken care of basic home maintenance and scrubbed your house until it’s bright and shiny like a new pin. It looks better than any other house on the block and you’re ready to list your home for sale. Or are you? How about the outside? Now is a good time to walk to the curb and assess the curb appeal of the house. We’re heading for winter in Iowa City so when I talk about curb appeal, I don’t necessarily mean luscious landscaping. The house should look presentable from the street. Trees and shrubs should be cut back. Gutters free of leaves. The roof and siding should be in good shape.
This time when you walk through the front door now you should be greeted by a light and airy room that gives a big warm welcome to buyers and that they can navigate easily to get to other parts of the house.
Selling a house in the Iowa City area is dependent on several pieces of a puzzle falling in place to create the perfect picture for potential buyers. How well you prepare your house for sale will have a direct impact on what happens next. A good agent will capitalize on the good work you’ve done and see to it that your house gets noticed by buyers when they shop for homes online. The Internet has made selling a home harder and easier at the same time. Easier if your agent knows how to work the Internet. Harder if they don’t! Buyers are fickle and have lots of choices online. They’ll move on if they don’t like what they see. I’ve helped plenty of buyers in and around Iowa City and I’ve lost count of how many times a buyer client has told me they don’t want to look at a house based on photos they see online. You have choices too. And choosing the right agent to sell your house is the next order of business….
Are you ready to sell your house in the Iowa City area? Call Denise now at 319-400-0268.