How To Prepare Your House For Sale

Disassociate yourself from your home. Make the mental decision to "let go" of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will belong to someone else. Look toward the future.

De-personalize. Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. You don't want buyers to be distracted by personal artifacts. You want them to imagine their own photos on the walls. You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here."

De-Clutter! People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it.  If you don't need it, why not donate it or throw it away? Leave just a few books in bookcases. Pack up those knick knacks. Clean off everything on kitchen counters. Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

Rearrange closets and kitchen cabinets. Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Imagine what buyers will think when they see everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means: alphabetize spice jars, neatly stack dishes, turn coffee cup handles facing the same way; hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction; line up shoes.

Rent a storage unit. Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose, with plenty of room to move around.

Remove/replace favorite items. If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove and replace them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, he/she won't want it. Once you tell them they can't have an item, they will covet it, and it could blow your deal.

Make minor repairs. Replace cracked floor or counter tiles, patch holes in walls, fix leaky faucets, fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam. Consider painting your walls neutral colors. Replace burned-out light bulbs. If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!

Make the house sparkle! Wash windows inside and out. Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior. Clean out cobwebs. Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks. Polish chrome faucets and mirrors. Clean out the refrigerator. Vacuum daily. Wax floors. Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. Bleach dingy grout. Replace worn rugs. Hang up fresh towels. Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows. Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.

Scrutinize. Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you? Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer. Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense. Make sure window coverings hang level. Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull.

Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You're almost finished.

Check curb appeal. If a buyer won't get out of the car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, you'll never get her inside. Keep the sidewalks cleared. Mow the lawn. Paint faded window trim. Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together (yellow evokes a buying emotion); marigolds are inexpensive. Trim your bushes. Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.

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Suzanne Dingley

Suzanne Dingley

Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
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