Things To Do Before Listing Your House

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Real Estate

Have you ever sold a home ?  Do you know what things you should consider in the selling process ?  Being a realtor for over 30 years, I am very familiar with the key questions that sellers have regarding preparing their home for market.  As I step into their home, the very first question 99.9% of the time is "how do you know exactly what has to be done before putting your home on the market?"  It can be extremely overwhelming to figure out just how to prioritize what needs to be done and whether it will be cost effective or not. 

Every home is different, and everyone will have their own unique list of things that will need to be done before listing their home.  This is why I put together a list of tips that you should plan to do before you put your home on the market .   Please keep  in mind that this post is not focused on staging for selling – that’s a whole different world that I can share with you at another time. This post is just sharing projects or home maintenance tasks that you should take on before you list your home.

- Fix any major eyesores. The first, and most obvious thing you’ll want to do if you’re preparing to sell your home is to address anything in your home that’s particularly unattractive and might chase off potential buyers.  This can be anywhere from old carpeting in the guest room, baseboards on the main level and the exterior of the home  in desperate need of paint, to a kitchen with old floor tiles peeling up in need of replacement. Think about the things that you don’t really notice anymore that might turn off a prospective buyer, and figure out an affordable way to address them. It could be very helpful to write a list of all the things that you want to accomplish and then begin to prioritize based on time and finances.  Then when you reach a point where you feel  like your home is “ready enough”  with only maybe a few projects left undone, knowing that you may have a buyer that wants to change things themselves, it is time.  

- Try to fix anything that an inspector wouldn’t like.   If you have a  bush on the side of our home that is way overgrown, along with a fence in really awful shape behind it, maybe cut the bush down completely if not salvageable  and replace the portion of the fence that was ruined behind it. You can also do things like trim all of your bushes at least 6-12″ away from the house and add fresh caulk in the bathrooms and kitchen, and around windowsills. These are all things an inspector will pick up on, so if you can take care of them before they come, that’s one less thing that they’ll need to point out to the buyer. But at the same time, remember that an inspector probably will find issues (maybe even some you have no clue about). It’s their job. Be prepared for it, and be ready to address them if necessary.

- Repaint any rooms that are too bold. We’ve all seen the home shows right? If you have, then you’ll know that buyers sometimes have a really hard time getting past really boldly painted rooms. If you have a room in your home  that’s really taste-specific, with wild wallpaper, a crazy bright color, or a giant mural on the wall, you’re probably going to want to go ahead and fix it before you list it.  Just swap out the bold blue in your bedroom for a more neutral hue, and I think it will probably help !

- Pretend you’re a buyer! Before you begin staging to put your own home on the market, do a thorough walkthrough of your home and put on your “buyer glasses”. It helps if you’ve been looking at homes to purchase and have a few things in mind that have stood out to you at other homes. Walk through your home and think about it the way a buyer might think – are there any stains on the flooring or crayon on the walls? Is the bathroom really outdated compared to other homes they have been looking at? Think about anything you might notice if you were considering buying your home and try to address the major red flags.

- Declutter Declutter Declutter. This goes along with staging and is something I can talk about in more detail at a later time , but it’s so important to declutter your home before you list. Get rid of absolutely everything that you don’t need, and consider renting a storage unit to hold some things you can live without until you move – it can be a major help while staging the house!

- Take care of any unusual smells. I know, it sounds silly, but please don’t underestimate how important this is. When you first walk into a home you’re going to notice how it smells before you notice almost anything else – and you don’t want that first impression to be bad! If you have stained carpet, pet smells, or smells from cigarette smoke in your house, be sure to find the source of the smells and address them before you go on the market. It can be hard to find smells in your own home, so it may help to ask a friend to come over and identify anything off-putting.

Aside from these major things, you’re also going to want to do some staging and cleaning in your home . I have lots of tips to share when it comes to staging.

There’s nothing more stressful than knowing someone is in your home evaluating it and judging it and that they’re going to be sending someone whose literal job is to find everything that’s wrong with your house. Not fun. But, it’s part of the process and if you think ahead and try to head off any issues, it can help things go a little more smoothly!