A seller can reap huge financial benefits if he/she takes the time to prepare his or her home in advance of putting it on the market. Just making some simple improvements can do the trick. It really pays off to start early, be organized and stay on task. Here is a quick checklist that I encourage my clients to follow in order to get the job done.
Task #1: Call Your Handyman: Do a thorough walk-through of your home to be sure everything works. Check windows, doors and latches. Inspect your floors for loose boards. Examine grout and caulking in your kitchen, baths and laundry room. Do all of your appliances work? If not, get them fixed. Don’t forget leaky faucets and sinks. Be sure to check your yard, decking, pool, fences, etc. And get those windows cleaned as well. This is also the perfect time to make some simple cosmetic changes to enhance your home’s appeal. You may love the crimson walls in your bedroom, but trust me, switching to a soft neutral color will have a much more universal appeal! It’s wise to think about switching out any tired and dated fixtures to something a bit more stylish. Even making a simple change such as replacing bathroom or kitchen knobs can make a big difference, and it isn’t a big expense. New, fresh and neutral colored carpet can make a room look new for a small investment.
Keep in mind that many sellers benefit from engaging the services of a professional “staging” company who can take care of many of the aesthetic choices that will maximize your home’s appeal to buyers.
Task #2: De-Clutter and Purge: Here’s your chance to purge all the “stuff” that has accumulated while you were busy living. The “Three Pile” system works well; Keep, Donate or Toss. Depending on your circumstances, a “Store It” pile may make sense. If this task is just too overwhelming, I can recommend some wonderful personal organizers who can help you with the process. And trust me, you will feel so much better once you’ve completed this task!
Task #3: Do Your Research: It’s in your best interest to do some research about recent home sales in your neighborhood. How are similar homes priced, and how long did they stay on the market? Of course, your realtor can provide this data and will work closely with you to determine a realistic sales price, but it’s wise to familiarize yourself with your local housing market ahead of time.
Task #4: Start Packing: Packing up a household full of belongings can be a daunting task. I always encourage my clients to start the process early so that the job can be accomplished in stages. After you have pared down your inventory of belongs by completing Step Two, begin by boxing up those items that you and your family can live without for awhile. Be sure to pack valuable items very carefully. Keep similar items together, and label each box on all sides so that you can easily find items once you are ready to unpack. Don’t forget that there are professional organizers and packers that can take care of much of the work for you.
Task #5: Take Care of Yourself!: Okay, this really isn’t a task”, but it’s an important tip. Moving, selling a home, and packing can be an extremely stressful and exhausting process. Pace yourself as you tackle the job. Include some downtime for yourself everyday, even if you think you can’t afford to. Take a walk, go to the gym, spend time with friends or in nature. Pay attention to what you eat, and make sure that you get enough sleep. Keep in mind that the physical process of sorting through belongings, and packing and unpacking boxes can be very hard on your back, so be very mindful of your posture. And if the whole thing gets to be too much, think about hiring a professional to do some of the work for you.