If you want to get top dollar for your house, you need to be sure it’s in as close-to-perfect condition as possible. To figure out what you need to do, you can:
- Walk through your house as if you were a buyer. Sometimes that works. You can also try pretending you’re having a big party and walk through the house to see what you would need to do to get it party-ready. Or better yet, pretend a magazine writer is coming to do a spread, complete with pictures, featuring your house. What would you have to do to get it ready to be photographed? Your answers to these questions are what you need to do to get it ready to sell.
- You can also have a friend or family member walk through with you and point out things they notice.
- Or you can have your soon-to-be-realtor walk through and tell you exactly what you need to do.
If you’re making the list on your own, here are some tasks to start with:
1. Be sure everything is super clean, including the windows! A clean house sells faster than a dirty one.
2. Organize the closets and cabinets. If the closets and cabinets are too full or messy, the buyer might assume the house doesn’t have enough storage space.
3. Get rid of clutter. Regardless of whether you like clutter or not, your house will sell better if you get rid of as much as you can. If the house is too cluttered, buyers might see it as small and cramped and nobody wants a house that’s small and cramped.
4. Minimize the personal décor. You want the buyer to walk in and picture their stuff in the house – not yours. So put away some (but not all) of the family pictures, trophies and other personal items for now.
5. Fix anything that’s broken or damaged. That would include cracks in the walls or ceilings; major scratches in the wood flooring; broken windows; badly nicked trim (or chewed if you have a pet) – fix anything that’s broken or damaged.
6. Decorate/stage a room in accordance with its intended purpose. For example, we have a basement bedroom we’ve been using as an exercise room. It works for us. But for the purpose of selling our house, we’re putting it back as a bedroom. Not all buyers can see a room for what it could be but instead see it as it is.
7. Freshen-up the paint or re-paint if needed. If you have wild or bright colors, you might want to repaint them a neutral color.
8. Clean up the yard and outside living areas. Pick up any broken branches. Remove dead plants. If you have a dog, you should probably clean up the poop regularly while you’re trying to sell your house. Add some flowers if you can. Clean up oil spots on the driveway. Make the outside of the house look awesome since that’s the first thing the potential buyer will see.
9. Fix anything that’s “rigged”. Sometimes we do temporary fixes that are fine for us but will not be fine for a buyer or an inspector! If you have anything like that, fix it. Remember that buyers (and inspectors) are picky and something “rigged” will probably end up being a problem.
So if you’re thinking about selling your house and want top dollar, take the time to make your house look clean, crisp and new. And hopefully you’ll be moving in record time.