Spring is upon us! Which means that people will be getting out and about more. They will be taking walks in the park, shopping and looking for homes!! Have you been thinking about selling your home? Are you scared or nervous because the thought of getting your home ready is too overwhelming? It is for many people – know that you aren’t alone. Good thing for you is there a ton of information out there on where to start. Best place is to consult with a Realtor that you know, love and trust! I mean, that IS what we do for a living – look at houses all day, every day.
If you don’t want to reach out for advice from a Realtor yet, at least check out my list below on where to start. Then when you are ready to get a fair market value assessment of your property and list it, give your Realtor (or your favorite Realtor, April) a call!!
Okay, before we get down to the nitty-gritty day-to-day seller checklist, you need to set your timeline, determine your budget and establish a game plan .
1. Set your timeline:
• When do you want to put your home on the market?
• Are you trying to sell your home before a certain date?
• Do you have only a few weeks to get your home ready or a year?
• Have you began the buying process?
You NEED to ask yourself ALL of these questions. Timeline is the most critical part of all of this. If you have a year, more than likely you will be able to accomplish the majority of items on a check list if you so choose. If you only have a few weeks before you want to put on the market, then you will need to heavily prioritize.
2. Determine your budget:
• Pretty simple - Do you have $100 or $10,000 to spend on repairs and updates?
Was your home updated a year or so ago? Then you may not have to make many repairs to the home. Maybe everything is minimum and you just need to buy new paint. At least plan out how much you are willing to spend on repairs so you don’t feel like you’ve been smacked in the face when you get a quote back on repairs.
3. Establish a game plan:
After you have set your timeline and determined your budget, now it’s time to mind meld before you begin to execute. Examine and evaluate each room of your home. The key here is to be open and objective. It’s easy to overlook things in your home – it happens to us all. It’s because we look at the home every single day. The outdated bathrooms may not phase us at all but it may be the first thing a buyer sees and it may be the determining factor in if they purchase your home.
So be as objective as you can. If you can’t be objective, and you don’t want to consult a realtor yet, bring in your most honest friend or family member (because we all have that one brutally honest person in our life) to come tell you what they first notice in your home. Which rooms need the most attention? Bathrooms? Bedrooms? Kitchen? Bonus? Maybe it’s not one specific room but maybe your trim needs to be cleaned and painted. Whatever it is, write them down. Then prioritize those. What absolutely has to be done to what could be done but isn’t going to be a deal breaker in the end.
Major items to look for are:
• Outdated kitchen
• Outdated bathrooms
• Curb appeal
• Flooring – what kind of shape is your floor in? Do your carpets need to be cleaned? Does the hardwood need to be refinished?
• Paint colors (Are they neutral and going to appeal to everyone or bold and bright and may deter buyers)
After those three steps have been completed - Then it’s time to attack the big items. If your biggest item is to paint the home a neutral color, then you may be able to complete this yourself. If you need to update the kitchen, I advise you to consult a professional.
Once all of your big-ticket items have been completed, begin to complete the check list below. You must remember that you look at your home every day. You will not notice some of the things that a buyer will. A buyer is going to be much more critical of your home so you need to ensure that your home stays in show condition, always. Some of these items may only need to happen once. Some will need to be completed every day. Either way, always try to look at your home through the eyes of the buyer. They will want to see a spacious, clean home.
Clean as needed:
• Dust everything: Walls, blinds, ceilings, ceiling corners, baseboards, windows, Ceiling fans, Shelves, door frames.
• Light bulbs
• Front door
• Doors and door knobs
• Paint for exterior and interior
• Light switch covers
• Kitchen/bathroom hardware
• Trim pieces/crown molding
• Prune/cut back overgrown plants/trees
• Add new mulch to flower beds
• Plant flowers/plants to add color to the front of home
• Establish landscape area with stones, bricks or wood
• Paint your front door an inviting color
• Paint brick/siding a neutral color
• Pressure any concrete
• Restain deck
• Replace any rotten/broken wood/siding
• Remove any debris from walkways, patios, porches or decks
• Add outdoor furniture if needed to establish use of space
• Keep yard freshly moved and edged
• Weed all planting areas
• Open up the front entry way making it feel as big as possible
• Rearrange furniture if need be to make the home have a better flow
• Keep furniture to a minimum. Remove any unnecessary furniture that may be too big for the space or in the way
• Add lamps to spaces that are dark
• Add plants inside the home
• Reduce/Remove the amount of wall art and home décor (you want the space to look lived in but not overwhelming)
• Pack up your knick-knacks, figurines and personal photos
• Remove potent scented candles, sprays or plug-in air freshners. If you have these in the home, make sure they are a neutral, fresh scent but not overwhelming. You never know what people may be allergic or sensitive to
• Keeps coffee tables and side tables clear in living and family rooms
• Keeps toys stored in baskets or toy chest and out of the floor
• Softened up furniture with colorful pillows
• Clear countertops. This includes, large appliances that are taking up space (toasters, toaster ovens, airfryers, crockpots, large coffee pots, etc). You want your counters to feel as big as possible
• Clean tile grout
• Clean appliances: stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave
• Clear the refrigerator of calendars, cards, pictures, etc. We all love to see personal items on our refrigerator but a buyer may not be able to see past the clutter
• Empty the garbage before each showing
• Remove any pet bowls before showing
• Organize cabinets, pantry, etc. Buyer’s will look in cabinets and closets
• Pack up any dishes, cookware, utensils that you can live without for a bit. Less is more
• Repaint cabinets if they are scratched or paint chipping
• Try to unload your dishwasher immediately after use
• Remove all dishes from sink before showing. Do NOT leave dishes piled up in the sink before a showing
• Sweep/mop the floors
• Make your bed
• Clean bedside tables, dressers, etc
• Store daily items in drawers or closets neatly
• Remove any items you can live without
• Keep closet doors closed. Even though you know buyers will sneak a peek, it looks nicer if they are closed before.
• Vacuum before showings and keep floors cleared. No one wants to see your dirty socks lying on the floor
• Keep wall décor to a minimum
• Repair any holes/damages on the walls or doors
• Clean, Clean, Clean
• Keep décor to a minimum. Bottle of soap, bar of soap is enough
• Hang nice towels. If you need to purchase a couple of new towels, please do so.
• Coordinate any lines that are visible
• Remove all unnecessary items from counters, showers and tubs
• Clean or replace your shower curtain – especially the clear curtain
• Replace caulking to make it look new and pop again
• Keep toilet lid closed
• Hide garbage and cleaning supplies
• Hide toothbrushes
• Organize cabinets and drawers to be nice and neat
Other rooms/areas of home:
• Clean areas. Mop/sweep/vacuum if necessary
• Remove and pack up unnecessary items
• Repaint any areas that have been damaged, chipped, etc
• Keep remaining area neat and tidy
As I said before, this list may seem daunting and overwhelming but don’t let this scare you! Take it room by room. Do as much as you can. De-clutter and clean are the main items and not everything on this list HAS to be done. This is a starting point and a reference guide for you!!
Remember throughout this process that you are doing all of this because you want to make the BEST impression on every single buyer that walks through your door. You can do it – I believe in you! Your hard work will pay off in the end. If you are needing assistance, want more advice on how to get started or are wanting to get a fair market value price on your property, shoot me a message, email or call! I hope this list has helped in some way! Until next time!