Getting ready to sell your house? Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work because there are tons of things to do before listing your home!
Selling a home, after all, entails a whole lot more than just planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn or uploading a few random photos of your place—especially if you’re angling for the most cash. (And, honestly, who isn’t?)
So before you put your house on the market, peruse this checklist of what to do before selling your house. Some of these tips are surprisingly easy, while others might require a bit more elbow grease. But they’re bound to pay off once buyers start oohing and ahhing over your place—and hopefully ponying up a great offer.
1. Find a great real estate agent
Think you can sell your home yourself, and pocket the cash you would otherwise pay a real estate agent?
It can be tempting, especially in a hot market, but resist the urge, says Jon Sterling, a real estate consultant with Keller Williams Realty in San Francisco. He’s found that a “for sale by owner” transaction is almost always a disaster, leading you to sacrifice both money and time. That’s why one of the most important things to do before selling your house is find a great real estate agent.
That said, don’t just blindly hire the real estate agent who most recently sent you a flyer or the one your uncle’s friend’s co-worker’s cousin used. Do some research to find a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about your specific market, and then interview her to make sure she’s a good fit. Also read realtor for home buyer in Los Angeles.
2. Consider your curb appeal
Yes, for better or worse, buyers do tend to judge a book by its cover. You want to make sure potential buyers’ first impression of your home is a good one—and inspires them to stop by the open house or schedule a tour—so they can see more.
By investing some effort in relatively easy fixes, like planting colorful flowers and repainting your front door, the outside of your house can beckon prospective buyers to come on in.
3. Declutter living areas
Less is definitely more when it comes to getting your house ready to show, notes Boris Sharapan Fabrikant, a real estate broker with Triplemint.
Do a clean sweep of counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas, and then tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards—since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers.
If the house is overflowing with stuff, buyers might worry that the house won’t have ample space for their own belongings. They won’t sign up to pay a mortgage if they think they’ll also have to rent a storage space.
4. Depersonalize your space
The next step on your checklist for selling a house? Sellers should remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the property, says Kipton Cronkite, a real estate agent with Douglas Elliman in New York.
He says sellers should remove personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make the home less appealing to the general public. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of living there, and loving it.
5. Repaint walls to neutral tones
You might love that orange accent wall, but if it’s your potential buyer’s least favorite color, that could be a turnoff, warns Sharapan Fabrikant.
“You’re pretty safe with a neutral color because it’s rare that someone hates it, but the other benefit is that a light color allows [buyers] to envision what the walls would look like with the color of their choice,” he points out.
It’s the seller’s job to help buyers picture themselves in the house. If they don’t feel at home, they’ll probably look at other real estate options.
6. Touch up any scuff marks
Even if you’re not doing a full-on repainting project, pay special attention to scrubbing and then touching up baseboards, walls, and doors to make the house sparkle and look cared-for.
Selling almost any home can be tricky, but selling a home with lots of little problems and small repair needs can be downright difficult. When buyers walk into an open house, or go on a home tour, they want to fall in love with the house, not add a bunch of small repairs to their to-do list.
In order to impress buyers (and sell your house quickly), fix up your house before putting it on the market.
With a home that is fixed up and move-in ready, you will probably see more interest, and may even see multiple offers.
7. Clean, clean, clean
Once you’re done cleaning your house, clean some more. Even if you’re not worried about what buyers will think of your home’s scent, you want your property to look spotless.
Think of it this way: You’ll probably have professional photos taken of your house when it looks its best. Naturally, you’ll want your house to always look like it does in those pictures.
When selling your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour. Remember to take special care with the bathroom, making sure the tile, counters, shower, and floors shine.