How to prepare your home for the sale

Preparing yourself as well as your home for the sale will make the process more successful. You will reach your goals in selling your home and experience far less stress if you follow these steps:

  • Prepare yourself: The most common problem for most sellers is that at least one of the sellers is not ready to sell the home. Although the house might be filled with personal memories and personal mementos, it is important to, as much as you are able, see the house from a prospective buyer’s perspective. Some suggested ways that can help with that are:
    • Educate yourself: Make sure you understand the buying and selling process and what role you will play in it. Review the challenges and risks with experienced professionals such as Tellus Real Estate Solutions. It’s a rare transaction where everything goes perfectly from the seller perspective. It is also important to make yourself aware of the local real estate market, so you know how your home compares to the competition. That way, you can avoid the frustration caused by the unexpected, whether it is an unexpected delay or an unexpected sale price.
    • Remove family photos and mementos: This serves two main purposes: It helps the buyer to see the home as their home instead of yours. And, it helps remove the reminders of all the memories for you. Removing items also helps de-clutter the home which will make it more appealing to a buyer.
    • Start searching for your next home: You will have to find another place to live. Focus on the search for your new home or your life in a new home that you’ve already purchased. Focus on the future instead of the past.
    • Start packing: Keep yourself busy packing the items in your home and you won’t have time to think about memories. Packing also has the benefit of de-cluttering. The general rule of staging your home is: less is better than more.
  • Prepare the outside: The first thing a prospective buyer will see is the front of your home, whether it is when they drive by or when they see it on the internet. Increasing street appeal is the most important thing you can do for a successful sale. If you can manage to make a prospective buyer fall in love with your home before they step inside, they may be willing to forgive quite a few shortcomings. The following are some examples of ways to increase street appeal:
    • Remove the extras: Remove any tools, toys, trash or extra vehicles from the front of your home. Park vehicles down the street or park them in the garage. Put unused vehicles in storage. You want the buyer to focus on your home that is for sale, not on your motor home that also happens to be for sale.
    • Clean up the landscaping: It might seem obvious, but mow the lawn and rake the leaves. Trim hedges and remove any tree branches that block the view of the home. Remove old or overgrown plants and plant some annual flowers to add color. The main objective is to keep the focus on the house. Landscaping should accentuate the positives and minimize any negatives.
    • Keep up the upkeep: Perform any required maintenance. Paint the trim, caulk the windows and pressure-wash the siding. Take a broom and lightly brush any leaves or other debris off the roof and don’t forget to clean the gutters.
  • Prepare the inside: While a prospective home buyer may fall in love with the outside of your home, their impression of the interior will ‘make or break’ the sale. The guidance for preparing the inside is similar to that for the outside:
    • De-clutter: Too many nick-knacks or too much furniture are more often the problem, rather than not enough of either. Remove extra furniture. Remove the majority of personal photos and mementos. Clear the kitchen and bathroom counters except for a few decorative items. Don’t just hide everything in the counters and closets since most buyers will investigate. You don’t want to have a pile of sports equipment fall on them when they open the closet door. If you give them the impression that you are extremely organized, the impression will extend to their assumptions about how you have maintained your home.
    • Clean: Buyers expect your home to be clean and to look better than it does normally. They will wonder, “If it’s not clean now, how well did you take care if it when it wasn’t for sale?” Wash your dishes and put them away; don’t just put them in the dishwasher. Pick up clothes and make the beds. Sweep the floors and vacuum before leaving each day. Do not use powerful incense or other air fresheners as their use makes buyers suspect that you might be hiding a problem.
    • Maintain: Repair any obvious problems and perform typical maintenance. Caulk bathtubs and toilets. Patch any holes in the walls and use touch up paint (or repaint). Change furnace filters and replace any burned out light bulbs.
    • Protect your property: It is a rare occurrence, but thefts by prospective buyers or agents during showings do happen. Put jewelry, medicines and other easily removed valuables in a safe place away from visitors. Also, take steps to address any liability issues. Repair broken steps, remove moss from walkways and decks and tighten screws and bolts securing handrails.
    • Show it off: This is the icing on the cake. Take steps to show off any special features or minimize any negatives. Arrange furniture to make rooms look bigger or to highlight features such as a fireplace. Paint older cabinets to give them a fresh look. Turn that office back into a bedroom. Make improvements if they make financial sense. Crown molding, new carpet and paint can all be high value improvements that help a home sell for a higher price or more quickly. The advice and help of an interior designer or home stager can be invaluable during this stage of the process. Contact Tellus Real Estate Solutions should you need help with home staging services.

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