Selling your home in a seller’s market is an obvious advantage, but that doesn’t mean you can throw a sign in the front yard and hope buyers start flocking to your door. To sell your house quickly and for the best possible price, you have to show off its best features and make it attractive to buyers.
Many of us develop an emotional attachment to our homes, making it difficult to let go and imagine someone else occupying it. Remaining too attached can make it difficult to complete the steps below and you could end up overvaluing the home and pricing it too high. Remember that a house is just a building. A home is the people and memories that fill it.
Remove personal items
When a buyer walks through your home, they want to envision themselves living there. Seeing too much of your personality can prevent that from happening. Create a neutral environment by removing personal belongings such as family photos, pet bowls and toys, sports memorabilia and flashy furniture. Store medications, toothbrushes and other personal care items out of sight.
Organizing can only take you so far. First, you have to get rid of the junk that’s encumbering your space. Go through each room and donate or discard anything that:
- Is worn out, damaged, or expired
- Hasn’t been used in the last year
- You have duplicates of
Sort through everything, including clothing, kitchen items, toiletries, bed linens and electronics. This may be the most time-consuming task, but you’ll thank yourself for completing this step when it comes time to pack. Once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, go back through your belongings and organize them neatly.
Make repairs and boost curb appeal
Most buyers will complete some minor repairs before moving in, so a little bit of wear and tear is acceptable, but you should fix glaring issues such as holes in walls, peeling caulk around sinks and tubs, leaky faucets and torn window screens. Be sure to address the exterior of the home because that’s where first impressions are made. Pressure-wash the walkway, trim trees and shrubs, add fresh mulch and flowers and clean the gutters. If your entrance looks dated, consider painting the front door and replacing your porch light, house numbers and mailbox. Talk to your real estate agent to determine which repairs are essential so you don’t spend too much in this step and decrease your profit.
Make it squeaky clean
A thorough deep clean can work wonders. Wash the windows, dust shelves and light fixtures, declutter kitchen countertops and make appliances, faucets and floors sparkle. This is also your chance to combat unwanted odors. Short on time? Hire professional cleaners. Once the deep clean is done, maintain it with some daily vacuuming, organizing and wipe-downs. While it’s extra work, having a spotless home will be a welcome relief during an otherwise stressful time.
Stage the space
It may be worth your money to hire a professional staging service, which can cost about $1,500, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). According to a NAR survey, 23% of agents said staging can increase the offer price by 1% to 5%. If hiring a stager is not in the budget, you can do it yourself and focus on the most important rooms: living room, master bedroom and kitchen. Rearrange your furniture to maximize the space. Move sofas and chairs away from the walls and reposition them to face each other and create conversation areas. The idea is to highlight all of the usable square footage and make the space feel larger. Remove heavy drapes to let in natural light and add flowers and greenery around the home for a touch of freshness.
Price it right
This is where the expertise of a great real estate agent comes in, but you have the final say. Price it too high and buyers might overlook your house or it may not show up in online search parameters, excluding groups of potential buyers. An overpriced home also runs the risk of sitting on the market too long and becoming stale, forcing you to cut the price. Price it too low and people might think something is wrong with it. You also may end up leaving money on the table. Work with an experienced agent to look at comparable sales, nearby listings and market conditions to find the appropriate price point.
Getting your home ready for the market requires some time and planning, but it will pay off by helping you sell fast and for top dollar. It’s also good to remember to contact a trusted mortgage lender once you’re ready to look for your new home.