How to ensure your home is show ready and will sell as quickly as possible!
Everyone knows that selling your house is a big decision, and there are so many emotions involved, not to mention all of the work it takes to get your house ready to sell!
Well, having been through the process multiple times and having to sell homes super quickly, I thought I’d share my simple tips for getting your house ready to show! You ready?
To make this as clear and easy to follow as possible, I broke down the process into three categories: things to do before listing, things to do consistently during the listing period, and things to do the day of a showing.
Things to Do Before Listing Your House
You can interview several and choose the one who you feel the most comfortable with. Having an agent you can trust and respect is crucial for a happy selling experience!
Give your agent a house tour.
Have your agent walk through your home and advise you if any remodeling work is warranted before you list the house. You might be surprised at the things that they will tell you to leave alone. For example, in one of the houses I sold, I had this adorable little girl’s room with large floral wallpaper (pictured above). It was clearly catered to a young girl, so prior to listing our home, I was worried that we would need to remove it or paint over it.
However, our agent advised us to leave it alone because the room showed well with the decorative style. It turns out one of the first guests who toured the house had a two-year-old daughter who fell in love with that very room! For them, the room was instrumental in selling the house. However, even if someone with boys walked through, they might have thought, “No big deal, we can repaint that one wall.”
Dejunk your house.
Go through each room in your house to remove excess clutter. Throw away or donate belongings that you no longer need or use and box up items that you won’t need during the listing period. Too much stuff can crowd your space and make it feel smaller than its actual size.
Even though dejunking an entire house can seem totally daunting, it’s actually my favorite step! Getting rid of all of the junk we have accumulated over the last years always feels so liberating. Plus, it means less for you to pack up, move, and unpack later!
Once you’ve done these steps you’re ready to move onto the next phase of preparations!
Things to Consistently Do During the Listing Period
Maintain the best possible curb appeal.
While this tip might seem obvious, you would be shocked at how many open houses I went through where the sellers had put no effort into the outside appearance. In fact, when I worked in a real estate office, I heard plenty of stories of agents pulling up to houses with their clients and having the clients want to drive away before even going inside!
First impressions are crucial and your home front is no exception. During the listing period you should take extra care to make sure your lawn is mowed, your garden is weeded, and flowers are planted. At the very least make sure your porch is swept and you have sprayed for bugs — nothing turns someone away on a house tour like staring spiders in the face while waiting for your agent to get the key out of the key box. In the fall and winter make sure leaves are raked, stray branches are picked up and sidewalks are shoveled and salted.
While prepping for house tours, take out anything that is super kitschy or specific to your tastes. The goal here is to make your home appeal to as many different people as possible. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and eliminate everything with personality. For instance, if you have a nice focal gallery wall of family photos, leave them as it might give potential buyers decorating ideas. Plus it looks more appealing than a big empty wall.
Stage your home.
Staging your home means rearranging furniture and decor to make it look most pleasing to the eye. For example, your side tables might typically not be decorated because you’re worried about little people breaking things, but for the tour, it’d be nice to place little plants and candles on them (like pictured above). You don’t have to spend a ton of money doing this, sometimes just rearranging items from room-to-room, or shifting around furniture can visually make a huge difference.
You’re almost done, time to move onto the last phase!
Things to Do the Day of a Showing
Make sure your home is clean and shown in it’s best light.
When we sold our first home, our agent instructed us to turn on all of the lights, open the blinds, and keep all bedroom doors open before any showing. Basically, do anything to make your home feel brighter or bigger.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to freshly vacuum before every showing if you aren’t able to. However, try to make the beds, stow away toys, and generally ensure everything is neat and tidy!
It’s especially important to ensure your bathrooms are clean. Make sure toilets are flushed, seats are down, towels are picked up and counters are wiped. This can be especially difficult if you have a baby, but it’s worth it! I had a friend who threw all her baby’s belongings (chair, changing pads, bassinet, etc.) into the back of her trunk before each listing.
Try to use all of a potential buyer’s senses.
I have a vivid memory of the time I walked into our first home (before it was ours). The woman who lived there had just baked cookies and left a plate on the counter for us. The smell of cookies was in the air and the house was clean and homey. Now, I can’t say for certain how much that impacted my final decision. I will say I still vividly remember it eight years later. It was the feeling of “this could be our home” that was comforting. You obviously don’t have to bake cookies before every showing, but you can light a candle or burn incense. And minimize distractions by turning off TVs and electronics.
Disable alarms, get your pets, and get out!
Last step in the process, leave your house. I know some people stay in their home for various reasons during showings, but honestly, I don’t believe it is the best idea. It make potential buyers feel uncomfortable, or want to leave more quickly.
Often homeowners want to give tips about the house or gush about the neighborhood, but unknowingly say the wrong thing and turnoff prospective buyers. Even if you have a houseful of kids and nowhere to go, ask a neighbor if you can hang out for a few minutes. Or, load everyone up in the car and go get yourself a treat . . . you’ve earned it!
Well, there you have it friends! I hope these tips will make you feel a little more comfortable throughout the listing process.