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Tips for Preparing to Sell

In the current market, the seller is in the lead for the moment.  Some homes stand out more due to a beautiful presentation and correct pricing.  These homes will sell fast and for near or over the asking price.  They are staged, de-cluttered, de-personalized, and clean.  In the first two weeks as a new listing, your home is going to attract the largest amount of potential buyers.  The first impression is most important because it causes a gut reaction which results in the buyer moving onto the next home or making your home their home.  Therefore, it is very important to have your house stand out and shine!

Prepare Your Home for Sale

  • Envision you home as a product that will appeal to a buyer
  • Make the decision to let go of your attachments and think about how best to represent your home on the market.
  • Start by opening your front door. Is the house welcoming? Does it seem inviting and spacious?
  • Linger in the doorway of each room and imagine how it will look to a buyer.
  • Picture yourself at the closing table and handing the keys over to the new owner.

Pack up personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyer’s cannot see past personal artifacts and get distracted with photos. They end up trying to figure out who you are, rather than imagining themselves living in the home.

Almost every home shows better with less furniture and clutter. You want to allow for a natural flow through the home. If furniture blocks a pathway, consider placing it in storage. Large pieces such as bookshelves and dressers also can take up a great deal of room space, making the room appear to be smaller than it actually is. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the purpose of the room and leave plenty of space to move around.

  • If you don’t need it, donate it or throw away
  • Neatly arrange books in bookcases
  • Pack up all non-essential items, clothing, and collectibles
  • Clean off everything from the kitchen and bathroom countertops
  • Put items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet or under a cabinet when not in use.

Buyers will open closet and cabinet doors. Having your closets and cabinets neatly organized will make an impression on the buyer that you probably have taken good care of the rest of the home as well.

  • Arrange food and spices in the cabinets
  • Neatly stack dishes
  • Hang shirts together, buttoned and faced in the same direction
  • Line up shoes

If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the entry is something you cannot part with, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, they won’t want it. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

  • Wash the windows inside and out
  • Remove any cobwebs
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks
  • Polish faucets and mirrors
  • Clean out the refrigerator
  • Vacuum daily
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades & light fixtures
  • Steam clean carpets and ceramic tiles
  • Replace worn rugs
  • Hang up fresh towels
  • Clean & air out any musty-smelling odors. Bad smells ruin a good impression fast.

Homes that are in move-in condition will appeal to a wider group of prospective home buyers. Minor repairs can make your home more attractive and potentially sell your home faster. You can make a few minor repairs that will create major appeal to potential home buyers:

  • Patch and paint cracks and holes in walls
  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Fix doors that do not close properly and drawers that jam
  • Paint your walls neutral colors, especially if you have flashy or bold colors.
  • Replace burned-out or dimmed light bulbs with the brightest bulb you can find.
  • Replace all worn out bed linens

In the home-selling market, curb appeal is the most important first impression. If a potential buyer doesn’t like what they see outside, they might not want to see what’s inside.

  • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior
  • Keep the sidewalks cleared
  • Mow the lawn, rake leaves, trim bushes, and mulch beds.
  • Paint faded trim
  • Plant flowers and/or buy potted plants
  • Make sure your house number is visible from the street
  • Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
  • Does each room seem to leave a positive impact?
  • Sparsely decorated, organized and clean?

View the Preparing to Sell flyer.

Completing the following tasks prior to moving from your sold home will ensure an easy transition.

Hire a moving company; purchase/collect moving supplies (boxes, bubble wrap, newspaper, tape). Helpful Hint: To pack hanging clothes, lay a flat sheet out on the floor and leave clothing on hanger and stack; tie opposite corners together to create an easy knapsack to transport your clothes; upon arriving at new home, untie sheet and hang directly back up!

  • Contact a home insurance company to see if any changes need to be made to your policy
  • Fill out Post Office change of address online at ups.com
  • Fill out an IRS change of address online at  irs.gov/taxtopics/tc157.html
  • Change address with all major credit cards/banks/accounts
  • Transfer or Cancel/Setup utilities (Electric, Water, Gas, Telephone, Internet, Cable)
  • Needs to be done weeks in advance as companies need notice; recommend at least 2-3 weeks
  • Collect keys, garage openers, mailbox keys, alarm codes, etc for closing
  • Inform lawn service, maids, exterminators, any outstanding upkeep contracts of the move, and new address
  • Email blast to family and friends with the new address

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