In the first article of this series we talked about how to Get Ready to sell your home. Today we’ll take the next step and explore how you can Get Set for putting your house on the market. Fact is, even if you’re not selling your house, it will look better and be better maintained if you follow these steps!
Before you plant this sign in your front yard you need to make sure you’re ready to welcome potential buyers. Walk through each room of your home and look at it through buyer’s eyes. You’ll be surprised at the things you suddenly notice that you’ve become used to or oblivious to over the years. Make a list of things you need to clean, fix, repair or update so that buyers will be attracted and not turned off to your home. Your homework checklist for each room should include:
Last week you decluttered and depersonalized your home as well as reduced and organized the contents of all of the closets and cupboards. Now everything inside and outside your home must be clean – spotless in fact! Be sure to take pay close attention to:
- Carpet – clean it (professionally if stained) or replace it if worn.
- Window coverings – clean curtains, blinds, shutters, mini-blinds, cornices – whatever decorative or functional items adorn your windows.
- Windows – the glass must be spotless, streakless and fully intact.
- Grout lines – clean all grout lines whether on counters, floors, showers or tubs
- Finger prints – check out wall switches, door knobs, stainless appliances, and walls
- Appliances - make sure your stove, oven, refrigerator (no magnets, art, photos or lists on the exterior!), microwave and dishwasher (yes, even dishwasher!) are absolutely clean both inside and out. Scrub the kitchen sink and then run a whole lemon and lots of water through the disposal so it smells fresh.
- Flooring – vacuumed, scuff marks removed, scratches repaired and surfaces mopped as appropriate. Clean the baseboards too. Also, sweep the garage and unfinished basement floors.
- Outside – powerwash walkways, decks and patios as needed. Clean all outdoor furniture. Clear gutters. Remove moss, leaves or evergreen needles from the roof. Trim bushes, weed, and mulch all flower beds. Move garbage cans out of sight and stash building materials and yard tools.
- Bathrooms – clean and disinfect everything!
- Fireplace – remove all ashes and partially burned wood, clean glass doors and screens, remove any smoke stains from hearth and fireplace surround.
As you’re cleaning make any needed repairs. Pay attention to:
- Squeaky or sticking doors.
- Holes or cracks in walls from hanging art or shelves that have been removed or other damage.
- Anything broken including cracked tiles, leaky faucets, running toilets, worn carpet, failed windows, chipped countertops, damaged trim, worn or broken doorknobs and locks, broken or missing switch and outlet covers, missing shingles, etc.
In order to appeal to the broadest possible share of potential buyers, make sure the colors in your home are neutral. You may love your bright red dining room but that very personal choice could lose a sale. Same goes for wallpaper – it’s a personal decorating choice and a turn-off for many buyers. Repaint any brightly or overly dark painted rooms and remove wallpaper - the sweat equity will mean more potential buyers and more money. Make sure your front door is freshly varnished or painted an appealing color that will welcome buyers and not repel them.
The more current your countertops, cabinetry, hardware, window coverings and light fixtures, the more appealing your home will be to buyers and the higher its perceived value. Remember, you’re trying to give your home a model home feel so that buyers are drawn to it and can easily imagine themselves living there. Dollars you spend painting, sprucing, replacing and updating these items will mean a better sales price.
Once your house is clean, repaired and updated you want to make sure buyers can easily see it! Replace lightbulbs throughout your home with the maximum wattage allowed allowed by each fixture. Then, in addition to turning on all the light for showings, throw open your window coverings and let the sunshine in!
While living in your home, you may use rooms for purposes other than the builder intended and you may have more furniture in the rooms than is needed. This is great for your personal use but when you’re selling a home buyers need to understand the real purpose of a room (set it as a bedroom instead of a fly tying workshop!) and the room needs to appear as large as possible, so leave only the minimum amount of furniture. Store your hobbies and extra furniture temporarily – get your house sold and you’ll soon be in your new space with your hobbies and all your furniture.
Ready for the Next Step?
After you’ve completed the Get Ready steps from last week and today’s Get Set steps, you’ll be on track to Get Sold, our topic for next Thursday. So Get Ready, Get Set and be sure to check next Thursday’s post!