Top-Ten Things To Do Before Listing Your House

Top-Ten Things You Should Do Before Listing Your House For Sale

Curb Appeal: First impression’s make a huge difference and your curb appeal will determine if a prospective buyer wants to see the inside!  With a relatively minimal investment, fresh mulch (not red mulch) and a few colorful flowers will be very inviting to any prospective buyer to see the inside!

  1. De-Personalize! You’re about to list your home for sale and have dozens of prospective buyers walking through.  When they walk in your home, they need to be able to visualize it as their own which means it’s a good idea to pack up all those family photos!  Remember, you prospective buyers to visualize themselves living there, don’t distract them with personal family photos.
  2. De-Clutter! I can’t state this enough.  De-clutter your tables, window sills, counters, and ALL flat surfaces.  Depending upon your furniture, it may also be a good idea to remove some furniture or rearrange your furniture to better highlight and help  your prospective buyers focus on the details of the house and each room.  De-cluttering also helps the a room feel larger compared to rooms filled with personal items.
  3. Clean your windows!  When was the last time your windows were cleaned.  Nothing makes a house brighter than natural light and if it’s been a couple of years….or more…you wont believe the difference it will make!
  4. Empty out full closets. Are your closets packed with clothes?  It’s a great idea to thin them out.  I always suggest plastic bins with locking lids to store out-of-season or excess  clothes either attic or in temporary storage.  The bins keep the clothes safe from moisture and dust.  Prospective buyers are always looking for closet space; no matter how much space you have, a half empty closet will always look bigger than a full closet!
  5. Repaint walls to neutral colors. You may love the accent wall or room you painted in your favorite color, but a prospective buyer may hate it. Remember, you want your house to be broadly appealing to prospective buyers: repaint those colorful walls or rooms with a neutral color.  I love Repose Gray from Sherwin Williams with white semi-gloss trim.  It’s a fairly inexpensive way and an easy DIY project to make your home look fresh and new.  If you’re not going to repaint, make sure to clean and touch-up existing paint and clean off any scuff marks on your stair risers.
  6. Fix anything that is broken. Do you have an old door knob that just spins or a door that doesn’t close properly?  Remember,  a prospective buyer is going to look at every detail of your house.  If there are obvious examples of things that aren’t working, the buyer will wonder what else hasn’t been repaired.
  7. Update electrical outlets and switches. This is one of the easiest things to do that will make a home look fresh and updated.  Whether you have almond toggle switches from the 1980s or black toggle switches from the 1940s, consider updating your switches to a new modern white toggle switch, or my favorite, the décor style switches.  Many municipalities now require lighted switches for stairway lights, so keep that in mind as well.  Do you have old ungrounded outlets with painted covers?  Swap those out with a modern ungrounded outlet and fresh new white cover plate; it will make a world of difference and does not require a licensed electrician.
  8. SECURE VALUABLES and PRESCRIPTIONS. Most people will think of hiding valuables, but don’t forget to hide your prescription medication as well.  I once had an experience with an agent open house where a basset hound’s prescription for pain medication was taken out of a cabinet.  Make sure you either take your prescriptions and jewelry with you or secure them with a lock and key, preferably a safe.  If you ever find that anything has been taken, even your dog’s pills, be sure to file a police report.
  9. Clean! The most important thing as you prepare to list your house is to clean thoroughly.  Leave no surface unturned with particular attention in the bathrooms.  Clean the grout and remove soap scum in the bathrooms and set some candles out to create a relaxing environment.  Carpet?  Clean any visible stains and consider having any carpets professionally cleaned or renting a carpet cleaner from Lowes or Home Depot, you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.
  10. Consider staging. We don’t all have homes that look like a Restoration Hardware catalog, but depending on the property and home, there may be tremendous value added hiring a professional stager.  I’ve worked with professional stagers to stage a variety of properties over the years and in each case, it was worth every penny.  Whether staging entire rooms, or selectively picking pieces to work with your existing furniture, staging can significantly raise the appeal and desirability of prospective buyers as they visualize themselves living in their new home.