Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

We have decided on a price and have discussed how your home will be marketed, now what? It is important to make your home appealing to buyers. Review these handy tips below to help your home stand out above others and demand the price that it is worth.

Before Putting Your Home up for Sale:

  1. Consider a pre-sale home Inspection. This will help you pinpoint any trouble areas that might stand out to prospective buyers, furthermore, you will be able to make any repairs prior to beginning the showing process.
  2. Take care of minor repairs. Sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking or a dripping faucet my seem trivial, but they’ll give the impression that the house isn’t well maintained.
  3. Get replacement costs. If you have big ticket items that you know will need to be replaced soon, go ahead and get estimates even if you don’t plan to replace them. This will help buyers determine if they can afford the home and can help us during the negotiation process.
  4. Locate warranties. Go ahead and start gathering up warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for all appliances (hot water heater, dishwasher, oven, etc.)  that will be remain with the property. This seems like a simple task, but it is better to have it all together in the beginning than trying to scramble for it later.
  5. Curb Appeal, Curb Appeal, Curb Appeal. Put your buyer’s hat on and walk outside to view your home. Does it look nice and well kept? If not, you might consider adding some curb appeal to your home. Some buyers will pull up to a property and immediately not even care what is inside because the outside is unkempt.

General

  • Start by airing out the home. Most people are turned off by even the smallest odor.  Odors must be eliminated, especially if you have dogs, cats, young children in diapers, or if your home has been smoked in.
  • If it has been over a year since the carpets have been cleaned—or if they really need it—now is the time to do it. Bare floors should be waxed or polished, as well.
  • Clean and wipe down all stained woodwork including doors, cabinets, and base boards with a wood maintenance product such as “Old English” or “Liquid Gold.” (Either one of these make any wood product shine).
  • Replace or clean A/C filters. Clean all A/C vents and intake grids.
  • Keep A/C set no warmer than 75 degrees and heat no cooler than 70 degrees.
  • Use an air freshener in each room, but be consistent. Try to stay with the same scent throughout the home. (Glade “Plug-ins” work well, but stay away from floral scents as they can be overpowering).

Interior

Lighting:

  • Upgrade the wattage in all light fixtures to the highest level safety will allow, especially in low-light areas. This allows the buyer to see your home better.
  • Dust/Wash all light fixtures and fans.

Windows:

  • Dust blinds, windowsills, and plant ledges.
  • Remove any cobwebs inside and outside.
  • Clean interior and exterior of all windows and glass doors. You don’t need anything special to polish up window glass; just mix a solution of one part white vinegar to eight parts water, plus a drop or two of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Wipe with newspaper to avoid streaks. (Washing on a cloudy day also reduces streaking).
  • Remove window screens and place them outside on a tarp or other clean, waterproof surface. Use a garden hose, an all-purpose cleaner, and a soft brush to gently clean the screens.
  • Keep all blinds/shades pulled up/open and draperies removed to allow maximum light. It may be necessary to replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that show off the natural light.

Carpet:

  • Steam clean if not replacing. If replacing, we can help you make choices that will be most appealing to buyers.

Bathrooms:

  • Clean all tubs, toilets, and sinks. Then polish the sinks with lemon or vegetable oil.  Polish all hardware to a shine. You can also pour a quarter cup of baking soda and vinegar down the drains, leaving the concoction overnight, then flush with boiling water.
  • For tile floors, apply your usual cleaner and then run a wet/dry vac, which will suck contaminants out of the grout.
  • Bathtubs, showers, and sinks should be freshly caulked. The grout and tile should be clean and in good condition.  There should be no leaks in the faucets or traps
  • If you have a plastic shower curtain, that is a little out of shape, and don’t want to buy a new one. You can clean the soap scum and mildew from the curtain by tossing it in the washer. Run it on the gentle cycle in cold water, with detergent and 1/2 cup vinegar (if mildew is present, add 1/2 cup of bleach instead of vinegar). Throw a couple of large towels into the machine to act as scrubbers. Allow the curtain to drip-dry on the rod.
  • Stow unused shampoos, soaps, scrubbing implements, razors, etc. under sink.
  • Stow laundry hamper in closet.
  • Stow wastebasket under sink.
  • Rugs/commode lid covers should be removed.
  • Store cleansers under sink.
  • Declutter the counter—1 or 2 decorative items only.
  • Linen cabinets should be organized and items reduced.
  • Use baskets to hold make-up and toiletries so that after use they can be stored under the counter.

Kitchen:

  • One of the most common kitchen odors is the beloved refrigerator. Check the drip tray underneath your refrigerator and wash out any standing water from defrosting. Scrub the inside of the fridge with a baking soda and water solution. Activated charcoal in the fridge can help keep odors at bay. Remove all magnets, notes, pictures, etc. from the front and sides of refrigerator and wipe down the exterior.
  • Keep all flat surfaces (countertops, appliance tops, and furniture) as clutter free as possible. Kitchen counters should have very little on them to show that there is plenty of available workspace.  Keep appliances stored when not in use.
  • Clean the oven, range (new drip pans) and the seal of the dishwasher door.
  • Stow trashcan in pantry.

Utility Room:

  • Organize shelves and put away non-cleanser items.
  • Keep area clear of clothes.

Pantry and Closets:

  • Thin all closets dramatically and reorganize remaining items neatly on shelves and be sure to allow space between hanging items. At one very visible spot, leave space, so the rear wall of the closet and/or pantry will show when the door is opened.  Leave a small empty space on each shelf to show potential storage space.

Bedrooms and Living Areas:

  • Vacuum mattresses and box springs, and then rotate and flip over. Do the same for removable furniture cushions. This is also a great time to wash or dry-clean the dust ruffle and mattress pad. Add new fluff to a lumpy comforter by having two people vigorously shake the comforter up and down to redistribute stuffing.
  • Make sure that there is not too much furniture in a room. Select pieces that look best and put others in the garage or storage.
  • Depersonalize your home and get a jump start on packing by storing personal photos so that potential buyers may visualize their personal items in the home. This is probably one of the most important things to a potential buyer! 

Exterior

Once these simple tips are followed and you feel like you need a little more help with adding curb appeal to your home, that’s ok. Feel free to explore the adding curb appeal tips for some additional ideas.

House:

  • Thoroughly sweep down all exterior sides of house and eaves to clean cobwebs and wasp nests.
  • Clean out all gutters.

Yard:

  • Keep lawn mowed, weed-eated, and well-edged
  • Trim trees, bushes and shrubs.
  • Clean out flowerbeds and invest in a few flats of colorful flowers.

Front Entry Porch:

  • Be sure front door area is clean and free of dirt, dust, cobwebs.
  • Grab a pot of colorful flowers to place by the front entrance or walkway.
  • Repaint door and trim if necessary.
  • Make sure doorbell is working properly
  • Give your doormat a good shaking or purchase a new one for outside your front door.
  • Polish or replace your house numbers.
  • Clean off any dirt, dust and cobwebs that may have collected on your outdoor furniture. If necessary, you can pressure wash those items.

Garage:

  • Drastically clean and re-organize
  • Sweep and clean—remove all cobwebs and any oil or grease from floor.
  • Use a pressure washer to give your driveway and garage floor a good cleaning. The acidity in dark cola drinks can help remove oil, rust and grease stains, along with a little elbow grease.