Thinking of Selling Your Home? Do these things first

Selling your home can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. By taking the right first steps, however, you can avoid much of the stress that comes with preparing to put your home on the market. Here are 8 tried and true ideas to get you started:

1. Choose your agent wisely

When you’re selecting an agent to work with, ask for referrals from people you trust and who have been through the process itself. Be sure to interview more than one agent before making a decision, though, because you want to ensure you feel comfortable and confident with that individual. You want to be working with a Realtor who is as invested in selling your home as you are, which means someone who will tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve it – not someone who will just stick a lock box on your front door and help coordinate showings. 

When interviewing a seller's agent, be sure to ask about their experience in your neighborhood, connections to potential buyers and social media expertise. The Realtor should be able to give you a thoroughly laid out plan for how they are going to sell your home. 

2. De-clutter

Once you've chosen an agent, it's time to get your house ready to sell. First thing - de-clutter. Clutter takes up space, and space is what sells. Make your home look bigger and more desirable by editing down to just the basics. You don’t have to get rid of things forever, but you should certainly be packing them up and getting them out of the house. This includes any un-seasonal clothes, most of your décor (you can keep a few select pieces if they’re subtle or minimalistic), papers, games, and pretty much anything else that you don’t need on a day to day basis. Buyers will be opening your closets to look at their storage potential, so take your time there removing as many miscellaneous and non-crucial items as you can. The less clutter you’ve got in the space, the bigger it will look and the more appealing it will be to buyers.

Store excess items—especially kids’ toys—in your basement, as long as there’s enough room that you’re not just creating a new problem in that area, she says. Otherwise, box up your clutter and leave it in a storage unit. 

3. De-personalize

One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal things in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. This means putting away the majority of framed photos, bulletin boards and personal items (think: photo albums, magazines, toys, equipment, awards, etc) throughout the home. Keep clothes stored away and out of sight, and clear bathroom counters of personal items, like toothbrushes and contact solution. Remove anything overtly religious as well. While it’s true that de-personalizing your home makes it a little weird to live in, it is extremely useful for helping buyers better connect with the property.

4. Clean, clean, clean

Now that you have cleared some space, it's time to do a deep clean!  This means cleaning toilets, wiping down surfaces, mopping floors, cleaning rugs and scrubbing bathrooms. If you’ve neglected certain tasks, like cleaning the inside of your refrigerator or regularly dusting your window blinds, now is the time to tackle them.If this sounds overwhelming, consider calling in the professionals to ensure that your place is in pristine condition - as someone who has done it both ways, paying for help is SO worth it. Ask your Realtor for a recommendation - they've likely worked with many cleaning companies and can provide you a list of the best in your area.

5. Finish any projects

The last thing you want buyers to think about is all the work they’ll have to put into a home if they move in. If there’s a hook falling off the wall or a cabinet hinge that won’t shut right, now is the time to repair it. Anything the potential buyer comes and says, ‘I’ll have to fix that when I move in,’ go ahead and take care of that so it’s not something they’ll have to think about. Again, if you don't have the time or ability to fix everything, don't be afraid to call a handyman. Your Realtor should be able to recommend someone.

6. Make a good first impression

The first thing a buyer is going to see when they walk up to your house is the front entrance, so you want it to make a strong positive impression. Remove any sort of seasonal decorations, which can date a house in both pictures and during viewings. If you have a front stoop, consider power washing it, or at least scrubbing off any dirt. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Keep the space simple but welcoming to start buyers off on the right foot and suggest good things to come inside.

7. Brighten it up

Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

8. Ask for feedback

Some buyers’ agents will contact your Realtor after a showing to give feedback on the property – good or bad – but many don’t. You want to know exactly what you’re doing right and wrong though, so it’s important to get clear feedback from every single agent who comes through your door. Make sure your Realtor is always following up with buyers’ agents to get their opinion on the property and finding out what buyers liked or didn’t like about what they saw. Then use that feedback to make changes as necessary.

The Realtor you choose should be able to provide you with other recommendations for staging, upgrades, repairs, painting, and organizing, as well as recommendations for professionals who can provide these services for you, if desired.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or if you're looking for any other tips or suggestions!

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