How to Prep Your Home for Sale

How to Prep Your Home for Sale

Are you getting ready to sell your home? In a competitive real estate market, you need to make your home stand out to attract the right buyer and sell for a number close to your asking price. Making your home more attractive takes some time and effort, but it’ll be worth it when the sale goes through.

1. Make Any Necessary Repairs

Showing a home in need of repair will turn off potential buyers. Go through your home from top to bottom to determine what needs to be fixed and what can wait. Anything obvious, like a leaky roof or broken window, should be fixed immediately. Look for minor issues that could make buyers worry you haven’t taken care of the place, such as cracked walkways or distressed-looking faucets.

2. Organize Your Closets

People who want to buy your home will look everywhere, and even your closet will make an impression. You want everything to appear orderly and neat. An overstuffed, overflowing closet sends the opposite vibe. Try these tips for taming your closet.

  • Remove half the stuff in the closet so everything fits comfortably.
  • Invest in a closet organizer to keep everything in its place.
  • Limit the number of shoes on the floor, which can look sloppy.

3. Freshen Up Your Space

Take into consideration any unpleasant odors that may be lurking in areas of your home, such as near the cat’s litter box or your garbage can, and address any ongoing issues that may make your house smell less than agreeable.

Open windows to let fresh air in and be sure to give your home a thorough cleaning before listing. Change the litter box and take out your trash prior to showings and open houses.

4. Remove Clutter From Every Room

Rooms jammed with stuff feel smaller and less inviting than those with minimal furnishings. While you should obviously clean your home before selling, you should also declutter each room, removing anything that doesn’t have an immediate purpose. That means putting things like extra chairs, ironing boards, pictures, and more into storage. More open space will make the room feel bigger. You’ll also want to remove personal items like family photos or children’s artwork so the potential buyer can picture themselves, instead of your family, in the home.

All the decluttering and depersonalizing of your home can leave you with a lot of things to store, and you may not have the space. Rent a storage unit for a few months so you don’t have to worry about keeping your things hidden. You may find yourself removing more than you initially expected.

5. Consider Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Does your home look move-in ready? You’ll want to take the time to make any small updates that will make your house look refreshed, such as replacing faded house numbers or adding a fresh coat of paint to a faded door.

REALTOR® Tips

Real estate agents have seen it all when it comes to touring homes for sale and reactions from potential buyers. To help you when you’re prepping your own home for sale, we spoke with two real estate agents about getting a home ready to sell. Below, you can find their advice on how to attract prospective buyers.

Kate Tosto, Broker of Record, REALTOR®

RE/MAX Centre Realty

“A fresh coat of paint and a good deep cleaning of the home can both go a long way. Those improvements can be fairly inexpensive but help immensely with that oh-so-important first impression.

“I highly recommend property owners keep a notebook documenting upgrades, issues, and the overall condition of their home. When they go to sell, they will need to disclose such items to any potential buyer, and having a notebook to reference can certainly save some time and headaches. It’s easy to forget something that happened to the property years ago, but that instance may be something that the buyer needs to know.

“Price it right. Pricing a property too high to leave room for negotiating may not be the best tactic. Buyers have so much access to information in today’s real estate market that they know when a home is overpriced. Sellers should review the data with their real estate professional just as a buyer will. Price competitively and accurately.”

Kate Tosto is a REALTOR® and Broker of Record. She has been with RE/MAX since 2007 and became licensed in 2011.

Mark Mohn, REALTOR®

RE/MAX of Reading

“When it comes to renovations, the biggest factor is budget. Kitchen and bath remodels often get the most return on investment but are often areas where sellers over-improve for their market or fall into the trap of improving things to meet their needs rather than what the buyers in the marketplace might like. Some of the most widely seen improvements that are also cost effective are paint and carpet/flooring. A fresh coat of paint, often neutral colors, can do wonders for a home, and new carpeting or flooring often modernizes on a budget.

“Also, curb appeal remains incredibly important, as that is the first impression a buyer gets, even with the photos online. Removing bulky bushes and hedges that block a home not only showcases the lines of the home but also helps with home security as well.”

“Lack of proper planning is the area most sellers fall prey to. Rarely does a seller need to sell a property immediately, so if time is not at a premium, sellers should consult with their REALTOR® well in advance of proposed listing for sale.

“Not only will it help the seller get a good feel for what is happening in their market from an expert who does business there, but that same expert can also make recommendations on the best improvements to make given the seller’s particular budget. Real estate is very subjective — each home, neighborhood, and seller is unique, and consumers should keep that in mind. What worked for their family member across town or when they sold their last home five to 10 years ago may not apply to their situation today.

“Ultimately, selling a home requires the best possible information up front and early as possible. Realtors in many different markets are seeing multiple offers in a very quick time period immediately upon listing. Maximizing your potential sales price is done in the weeks and months ahead of time. Understanding what challenges your particular property/situation face should also be discussed in advance. Trust your local market expert to provide you with the knowledge you need.”

Mark Mohn has worked with buyers and sellers in Berks County since 2006. He is active, along with his family, in the Lion’s Club and Boy Scouts. He has defended private property rights through the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors.  

Get Help Preparing Your Home for Sale

If you’re ready to prep your home for sale, but are falling short on the cash needed to make the necessary repairs or renovations, PSECU has several home equity and other loan options that can help you bridge the gap while you prepare to sell your home. Visit our website to learn more about our loan offerings.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.