Before you pay a home staging firm to try to entice home buyers to purchase your house, and definitely before you spend thousands on home upgrades, it is important to understand you do not have to invest a fortune or a massive amount of time to prepare your home to sell.
What are some of the best ways to prepare your home to sell that do not cost a fortune or demand a lot of time? Here are 7 easy ways to prepare your home to sell that will help you get the most out of your property and potentially get it sold quickly.
- Clean Everything
Yes, you need to clean everything in your home! The importance of this step cannot be overstated. The carpets do not have to be replaced unless they have stains that will not come out or are thread bare, but they must be cleaned. Any areas where pets may have made a mess will definitely need to be steam cleaned. In addition, furniture should be vacuumed or covered up. Although in most instances buyers are not purchasing your furniture, it can omit odors and leave the wrong impression about the rest of the home if it is not in good condition.
Put on your buyers hat and think of everywhere consumers will be looking when you are looking for places to clean. At a minimum, the bedrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms need to be tidy and spotless. Also, ensure you eliminate cobwebs from under sinks and in closets, make certain that there are no toothpaste splashes on counters, mirrors, or in the sinks, and keep the trash cans empty.
Dust, and not just the obvious locations, though those should be dusted first. Dust the ceiling fan blades, on shelves and mantles, and all wood or metal furniture. It is also important the counters and sink be clear of dirty dishes as this can be a huge turnoff for some buyers who will be unable to look past the mess and see all the potential your house has.
- Eliminate the Smells
The scented plug-ins could trigger an asthma attack, and in many cases buyers just do not like them, so put them away. If you have too many scented candles, incense sticks, or chemical sprays in the house, home buyers may wonder what you are trying to cover up. The last thing you want is for their mind to wander and think you are hiding a mold or smoke issue when there is none present.
Kitchen smells can be overbearing to some buyers so keep that in mind as you prepare meals. While you may enjoy the aroma of Indian or spicy Italian cooking, it could overpower some home visitors. Also, avoid frying fatty foods whose aromas can linger.
It is important to do everything in your power to remove all the pet odors from your home. Any places where animals have had accidents must be thoroughly scrubbed or steam cleaned. If you have indoor pets, ensure their bedding area is well sanitized.
If you have young children, the diaper bins needs to be thoroughly sealed and emptied regularly so that no visitors catch a whiff of the contents. It is also a good idea to keep the air filters as clean as possible as well as any air vents your home may have. Finally, if you smoke, you may consider cleaning the air ducts to greatly decrease the smoke smell from your home.
- Avoid Home Character Issues
All those little marks, scuffs and signs of damage to the property that give it its unique character should be fixed if at all possible. You may also need to repaint rooms as well as removing any dirt marks or fingerprints from the walls and doors. Even something as simple as a floorboard that creaks could put doubt in a buyer’s mind about the home’s structure.
It can be tough for some sellers, but the more you can de-personalize your home, the better able home buyers will be able to imagine their things in the home. You do not have to put away all pictures, books and keepsakes, but the more you are able to store away the better (and it gives you a jump start for when the home sells and you need to move).
If your home has too much character, such as zebra print on the walls or bright purple living areas, repainting in neutral colors is a worthwhile expense (and fresh paint also can help get rid of odors). Those mismatched door handles, faucet handles and light fixtures will be seen as a future expense for the new buyer so take the time to standardize for maximum positive effect.
- Clear Out Clutter
The clutter needs to go. No piles of unopened bills on the counter, no heaps of toys in the corner, no shoe piles, and definitely no closets so full they give the appearance they are smaller than they actually are. Clearing out the clutter also applies to those extra cushions, unused chairs, garage/storage areas, as well as going minimal in the bedrooms to give them a larger feel.
If you have oversized furniture, it could be advantageous to remove it from the property before trying to sell. You want potential buyers to be able to visualize their items going into the home, not trying to navigate around your stuff. Also, the more you have in the home the smaller it makes the house look and feel which is exactly opposite of what most buyers want.
- Let There Be Light
Dimly lit rooms often make the space look dingy and drab, even when it is not. Pull back the curtains and open the blinds to showcase the natural light your home may have (ensure you first clean the windows, screens, and blinds). If views are obstructed by privacy bushes, trim them back to improve the natural lighting.
Do not forget to replace burned out light bulbs throughout the home. It is also worth considering replacing darker drapes and bedding to give those rooms a lighter look which will make them look more spacious.
- Bring Nature Inside
Within reason, you might want to consider bringing nature indoors. This does not mean you have to go out and buy a bunch of new potted plants to scatter them around your home, but a few well-placed varieties can make your house feel homey. If you do have potted plants, make sure they are green and lively, not yellow or brown.
Another nice touch is having a bouquet of flowers in a nice vase on the living room table or a kitchen island to give the room an inviting look. If you are concerned about allergies or insects, silk floral arrangements are a suitable alternative.
- Tend to Nature Outside
When considering your home’s curb appeal, the first thing you should think of is how the house looks from the outside. Is the grass cut? Are the trees well maintained? Are the shrubs lively and a reasonable height or overgrown? Are there weeds in the front yard? Does it look inviting to someone driving by?
Other considerations worth resolving are cracks in the sidewalks or stairs, weathered doors or shutters, mailbox areas, flower beds and pet messes. Additionally, you should do everything in your power to eliminate potential pest hazards like ant mounds and gopher holes.
As you can see, getting your home ready to put on the market and attract buyers does not have to cost you a fortune. With a little planning and preparation, you can get your home listed, seen, and sold in a short amount of time, especially if you price the property according to current market conditions.
For more specific information on how to stage your home yourself, as well as proven methods for organizing and decluttering, see this list of resources from the National Association of Realtors.
Anita Clark is a Realtor® in Warner Robins, Georgia, who has been helping home buyers and sellers in the greater Houston County area since 2007. You can learn more about Anita on her sellingwarnerrobins.com website or by connecting with her on social media!