There is a lot to be done when selling a home. There are contracts that need to be drafted, photographs that need to be take, packing to be done, and so much more. Luckily, there are real estate agents to help get things all under control. Still, there are dozens of things that only the owner of the home can do. Some of them important, some of them not so important.
The following is a checklist of some of the more important things that you, as the homeowner, need to do before much else can happen. So, if you are thinking about selling, but haven’t started the process, try and do all of these before you call an agent. If you have already called an agent, don’t sweat it, just try and get these done as soon as possible.
Cleaning is vital for getting your home ready to sell. If people are coming into look at your home, you will want it to be as clean as possible. If it is not clean, then many potential buyers will not feel comfortable in your home and will be less likely to buy it. So, clean the house top to bottom as best you can.
It is important to note, however, that this is just a preliminary cleaning. It is not an in depth cleaning. That will come later. But for now, clean as you would normally, but maybe a just a little bit more. Don’t worry about over the top things like cleaning the carpets or scrubbing the walls down. You just want to get everything tidy so that organizing and other preparations can be completed more easily.
Once the house is clean, the next thing to do is to declutter your home. You may feel comfortable with the amount of stuff you have, but it may be too much for a potential buyer. So, it is best to get rid of a good amount of your belongings. Experts recommend reducing your things by about a half. Half of your furniture, half of your decorations, etc. However, you don’t need to throw these away or sell them, they just need to be taken out of the house. This can be done as a measure of prepacking, or just removed from the house somehow.
When prepacking or decluttering, if you intend to keep all the things you take out of your home, it would be wise to rent a storage unit. These can usually be rented by the month and there are hundreds of them available in the Treasure Valley. A pod may also be useful, however you will want to put it somewhere other than the front driveway of your home.
One strategy for decluttering and prepacking is the sticker method. The sticker method is a way that you can not only determine what you can pack but also help to create a packing schedule for the coming weeks. The way it works is like this, first, buy three different colors of stickers, 20 to 25 each—for simplicity’s sake, let’s say they are red, yellow, and blue. Next, you will take one of the colors—let’s use yellow—and put a sticker on every item that you use on a day to day basis (excluding everyday clothes, toiletries, cookware, and food). This can be the TV, books, tools, or whatever it is that you use on a daily basis. Then you’ll take the next color—blue—and put those on all the things that you use on a weekly basis. Lastly, take the last color—red—and put it on everything that you use on a semiregular basis.
Once you have all these stickers in place, look at everything in your home that does not have a sticker and pack that first. Once you have packed all of that, move on to the things that are marked with the red stickers. At this point, the amount of things in your home should be about right, so, after this, you wait until a week or two before the move date to pack the things with the blue stickers, and then finally, the week of the move, the things with the yellow stickers. Once all of these are packed, you should be down to just your everyday things that you would have packed if you were just going on vacation. Those can be gathered up the day of the move.
Before this sticker method is employed, it is important to remember two things. The first being that everything does not have to be taken from the house before it can be listed. In fact, a home might be ready for showings and photographs before a homeowner even gets close to packing or moving anything with a red sticker. The second thing to note is that these stickers should be placed discreetly on all of the things in the house. It will look strange to a prospective buyer if everything in your home is covered in small stickers.
Once your home has the proper amount of things in it, it is time to think about staging. Now, during the decluttering process half of the furniture should have been removed as well (unless the room would look bare without it). So the next thing to do is to arrange the furniture so that it looks inviting, social, and comfortable. If this step seems a bit daunting, talk with your agent, they will either be able to help you, or direct you to someone who could help.
After the furniture is in place, then comes the process of depersonalization and neutralization. This step is designed to help sell your home psychologically. It works like this, if a person comes into your home and sees your personal photos, awards on display, and sports or art equipment in the garage, it will be hard for them to visualize themselves living in your home. So, it is important that your home is neutralized. This means in color, in decorations, and even in smell.
The best way to picture what the goal is here is to think about a model home, or a hotel. Think about how plain and neutral they are; they are still beautiful, just neutral. They have neutral colors, the artwork is either of nature or the city that the home is located in, and there are never any personal pictures or awards up. Try to make your home look like a model home, and you will have the psychological advantage when selling.
This is the time when you will want to do a deep clean. This is everything you cleaned before plus the carpets, windows, walls, baseboards, underneath the washer and dryer, the closets, the front and back lawns, and then dust everything. This is not a comprehensive list however. For a comprehensive list, talk to your agent, or search online for cleaning checklists.
Curb appeal is one of the number one most important things you can do for your home. You can never sell your home if no one thinks it is attractive enough on the outside to come inside. So, spruce up the trees, trim the grass, and clean up the outside of the house—making it look pretty is the first step, the next is to add to it. If possible, plant some flowers, have the trees professionally trimmed, and fix anything on the house that needs fixing. Once that is all done, if more is needed, replace the hardware on the home like door knobs, lamps, mail boxes, etc.
Now that the inside and outside of the house is looking good, it is time for photographs. Do whatever you can to have these photos done by a professional. Your agent should have some people in mind, but if not, look into getting someone professional because they will turn out much better, and sell your home much quicker, than if they are taken with a smartphone.
Again, this is not to be a comprehensive list of everything that you can do to get your home ready for sale, but it should get you on the right path. Contact one of our agents for more details on how the Hughes Group can sell your home and get you the best bang for your buck.