Even though it’s a seller’s market, it’s not enough to just put a “For Sale” in the front yard and call it a day. True, your house will probably sell eventually. But it likely won’t be at the price you want. Preparing your home for the market and for showings is crucial to making sure buyers see your home in the best light.
First impressions matter even in a market where sellers seem to have the upper hand. Most buyers are looking for a turn-key home. A messy or cluttered house gives the impression that the home hasn’t been well cared for.
Before you list your home for sale and open it up for showings, make sure you take these 8 steps to prepare your home:
- First Impressions Matter
It bears repeating that first impressions are everything. Up your home’s curb appeal by sweeping the walkways, cleaning up the landscaping, painting the front door, and setting out a new welcome mat.
- Let the Light In
Before leaving the house for a showing, pull back the drapes and open up the blinds to let the natural light flood in. No buyer wants to imagine themselves living in a cave. Make sure their first impression of your home when they open the door is of a light, bright, and cheerful space! If the home is being shown at night, turn on all the lights both inside and outside to give your home a warm glow.
- Take Care of Small Repairs
Windows that don’t open, doors that stick, and handles that don’t turn are all easy things you can fix before your home goes on the market. As buyers explore your home, they’ll be keeping a mental list of all the things they’ll need to fix or change if they buy your property. Avoid adding to the list by taking care of the simple things up front!
- Stage and Declutter as Needed
The goal of staging and decluttering is to help buyers imagine themselves living in your home. It can be hard to keep your home picture-perfect if your family is still living there, but it’s so important to clean up before every showing. When a buyer sees a cereal bowl in the sink or a stray sock on the floor, it instantly reminds them that they’re walking around someone else’s home.
- Keep Bedrooms Neat
If you have kids, this can be a tall order. But decluttering your entire home ahead of time can help. The fewer possessions your children have in their rooms, the easier it will be for them to tidy up before they leave for school.
- Keep Bathrooms Clean
After the kitchen, the bathroom is usually the second most expensive interior remodeling project. Even if your bathroom isn’t updated, keeping it neat and clean can help buyers see its best features and overlook the less desirable elements.
- Make Closets Look Bigger
Buyers will almost certainly be checking out the closets and existing storage space you have in your home. Ruthlessly declutter these areas and neatly arrange the items you leave behind to create the impression that your home has plenty of space for all of their belongings!
- Get the Pets and Kids Out of the House
If your home is being shown, your home whole family needs to get out of the house – including your pets! Many people are afraid of dogs or just don’t like animals. No matter how nice your pets are, you want buyers to feel calm and relaxed as they view your home. Work with your agent to develop a showing schedule that will allow you to get your pets out of the home or at least, into a secure area before every showing.
Likewise, if your kids are used to coming straight home after school, work out a plan where they can stay with a neighbor until the showing is over. The only people that should be in the home during the showing are the potential buyers, the buyer’s agent, and your agent, if you want them to be there for showings.
As time-consuming as it can be to prepare your home for every showing, this preparation is absolutely crucial and will help shorten the time it takes to find a buyer. Once an offer has been accepted, the showings will stop and you can focus on packing for your move!
If you’re planning to move this spring or summer, I can advise you on what steps you need to take to prepare your home and help you develop a gameplan to get your home on the market during the home-buying peak!