Are you planning to put your home on the market? From cleaning to touch-ups, your home may require at least a few weeks’ worth of attention. Follow our checklist for getting your home ready to sell to help ensure you attend to every detail.
Clean Your Home Thoroughly
You probably have a regular cleaning routine that includes dishes and dusting, but getting your home sale-ready will take a lot more. You don’t want people to get distracted by dirt on the basement windows or a stained carpet. You want your home to look move-in ready. Here are a few places to start:
- Scrub the face of the cupboards in the kitchen and bathrooms
- Get your carpet professionally cleaned
- Wipe down all the windows (inside and outside)
Declutter and Organize Your Belongings
Clutter can be a major turnoff to potential home buyers. It makes it difficult for them to imagine their own furniture and other things in the home — and no, you can’t store it all in a closet. Potential buyers will be looking in them, too. Consider renting space at a nearby storage facility if you don’t want to permanently part with your stuff, or ask a friend or family member if you can borrow some space in their basement or garage while your house is on the market. Follow these rules for decluttering.
- Keep furniture to a minimum in every room to make the space appear bigger
- Remove most throw pillows and blankets, knickknacks, books, magazines, and games. You can keep your artwork on the walls — they make the house seem homey. However, it’s typically recommended to remove personal items, such as family photos, since you don’t know who will be coming through your home during tours or open houses.
- Eliminate kitchen counter clutter, such as toasters, bread makers, and mixers
- Secure personal documents, including your mail. Potential buyers often have free range of the home, so you want to lock up anything that should be kept private.
Paint Stains and Patch Over Holes
Over time, every home takes on small imperfections that are easy to ignore, like nail holes from picture frames on the living room walls. It’s time to fix all those minor issues.
- Remove everything from your walls. Then walk through the home with a brightly colored set of sticky notes.
- In each room, start at the bottom of one wall and look back and forth until you reach the top, putting a sticky wherever you see a stain, hole, or other issue. Don’t forget to look at the floor and ceiling, too.
- Have another member of the family take a look at the room a couple of hours later so no spot gets missed. Then tackle the spots with spackling, carpet soap, or paint.
Replace Caulking Around Sinks and Bathtubs
Caulking doesn’t last forever. It can get moldy or dried, and it won’t protect your tub or sinks from moisture as well if it warps. Here’s a three-step method to replace it. You can also consider contracting with a professional, if you’re not comfortable taking this project on yourself.
- Apply a commercial caulk remover to the caulk and wait four hours. Using a caulk remover tool, scrape away all the caulk. When you are done, use an old toothbrush to rub away any remaining caulk.
- Wipe down all the formerly caulked surfaces with rubbing alcohol. Then, after it dries, kill any mold using a mix of one gallon of water and 1/3 cup of bleach. Again, wait until it dries.
- Caulk the area
Replace Outdated Hardware
Hardware from even a decade ago will give your home a dated look. For an inexpensive refresh, replace all the hardware in your home, using these guidelines.
- Get knobs and handles that match throughout the kitchen and bathroom
- Invest in matching vent covers and window hardware
- Stick to classic looks instead of jumping on the latest trend so the look appeals to more potential buyers
Get Your House Smelling as Clean as It Looks
Bad smells turn off potential homeowners immediately. Improving the smell of your home is especially critical for pet owners — you may not even notice the odor coming from your dog, but someone new to the home will. Try these ideas, but remember not to go overboard or the home will smell sickly sweet.
- Open the windows to air out the home
- Use fabric freshener on furniture after vacuuming it
- Plug in wall air fresheners or heat candles whenever you have an open house
Undergo a Home Inspection
Potential buyers usually request a home inspection before purchasing your home. Get one pre-emptively so you know what the potential issues are and can get them fixed before the house goes on the market, removing any hurdles to the sale. After getting the results:
- Fix any small issues you can on your own
- Consult with your real estate agent about what to do regarding bigger issues
- Keep receipts and evidence of work performed on hand to show potential buyers
Request an Appraisal of Your Home
You want to know the fair market value of your home before you set the price. Ask friends and your real estate agent for appraiser recommendations. Make sure the appraiser has:
- A state license that you can view
- A current listing in the national registry
- Experience working in your town or neighborhood
Improve Your Curb Appeal
Potential buyers’ first impression of your home is made outside. Do some basic cleanup to make your home feel welcoming and move-in ready.
- Pull weeds, and trim bushes and trees
- Plant colorful flowers
- Power wash siding, porch, and deck
- Wash windows
- Mow the lawn regularly
Discuss Home Tours and Open Houses with Your Agent
There are a lot of small details to figure out related to showing your home. Talk to your real estate agent about:
- When to schedule open houses
- How long you should stay away from the home during showings
- Small staging efforts to take before a showing
Take Care of Small Aesthetic Details
Once you’ve cleaned, decluttered, and deodorized the house, you can still undertake a few finishing touches before a showing or open house.
- Pull back the drapes to showcase your views
- Remove throw rugs
- Clean up pet feeding areas and litter boxes
- Clean up children’s toys
Create a Property Description Sheet
Agents showing your home will want a property description to give their clients. This is slightly different from the listing you or your broker put online and should highlight the small things people would appreciate about your home, such as:
- Convenient location
- Playground equipment or other outdoor touches
- Boundaries and size of the property
Now that you have more information on how to get a house ready to sell quickly with these recommendations, you can sit back and wait for the potential buyers to arrive. Have you already found the dream home you’ll be moving into next? Talk to us about our mortgage options available to members. You can also check out our blog for more tips on buying a home.