Home-Selling Checklist: Things to Do Before Selling Your Home

By The Sellin With Elin Green Team on 2/16/2021

Not sure how to get your house ready to sell? We are! As a full-service real estate team, let us help you with all of your listing needs, not just the paperwork.

1. Hire the Sellin With Elin Green Team

With over 15 years of experience, we are a dedicated team of professionals who not only specialize in real estate but also customer service. Buying and selling a house is so much more than a business transaction and it is not always easy. It is a journey that we take seriously, because we care. We will be there every step of the way, helping you to navigate the ups and downs and get you to the finish line. Please call or email us for a no obligation conversation about what we can do for you. We genuinely love what we do, are good at it, and are here to help. We want to be your Realtors for life. 

2. Consider Your Curb Appeal

Buyers do tend to judge a book by its cover. Therefore, you will want to make sure their first impression of your home is a good one, one that inspires them to stop by the open house or schedule a private showing. By investing some effort in relatively easy fixes, like planting colorful flowers and repainting your front door and shutters, the outside of your house can beckon prospective buyers to come in. If you are not sure how to improve your home's curb appeal, ask us for some suggestions.

3. Declutter Living Areas

Less is more when it comes to getting your house ready to show. Do a clean sweep of counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas. (And, no one wants to see your toothbrush or hair products J) Next, tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers. If the house is overflowing, buyers may not be able to “see” how their belongings fit into your home or worry there is not enough space. Either donate your unwanted belongings or pack and store off site. Not only will clearing clutter help your house look more appealing to buyers, it will also help you once you've accepted an offer and it's time to move into a new home. Moving out will be so much easier if some of your belongings are already packed.

4. Depersonalize Your Space

Remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves living in the house. Remove personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that are very taste specific. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their visions of their own life and hopefully loving where they live. Go outside, put your buyer hat on, walk back inside and look at your house from a different perspective.

5. Repaint Walls to Neutral Tones

You might love that orange accent wall, but if it’s your potential buyer’s least favorite color, that could be a turnoff. Neutral colors are a safe bet because it is rare that anyone dislikes it. In addition, a light color allows buyers to envision what the walls would look like with the color of their choice. It is the seller's job to help buyers picture themselves in the house. If they do not feel at home, they will probably look at other options.

6. Touch Up Any Scuff Marks

Even if you are not doing a full-on repainting project, pay special attention to the baseboards, windowsills, and doorframes. A deep clean of these areas and paint touch up will make the house look clean and well cared-for. When buyers walk into an open house, or go on a home tour, they want to fall in love with the house, not add a bunch of small repairs to their to-do list. A home that is truly move-in ready, will typically get more interest, possibly multiple offers and a higher price.

7. Fix Any Loose Handles

It's a small thing, but you would be surprised by the negative effect a loose handle, dripping faucet or missing lightbulb can have on a buyer. They might begin thinking, what else is broken here? You may even consider having a prelisting home inspection completed and make any necessary repairs. Again, a home that is truly move-in ready, will typically get more interest, possibly multiple offers and a higher price.

8. Add Some Plants

When staging your house, remember that green is good. Plants create a bright and more welcoming environment. You might also want to consider a bouquet of flowers or bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter or dining table.

9. Conduct a Smell Test

Foul odors, even slight ones, can be a deal breaker. Invite an unbiased third party in to try to detect any pet smells or lingering odors from your kitchen. If the smells are pervasive, prepare to do some deep cleaning as many buyers are on to seller's “masking techniques” such as candles or plug-in room deodorizers. Plus, covering up odors with a stronger scent might backfire if the buyer doesn't like the smell of lavender or artificial citrus. Remember to take out your garbage every day while the house is on the market and if you have a garbage disposal, run it with some lemon to deodorize.

10. Clean, Clean, Clean

Once you are done cleaning your house, clean some more. When selling your home, it is so important to keep everything tidy and clean for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour. Remember to take special care with the bathroom, making sure the tile, counters, shower, and floors shine. And, don’t forget the windows! It is okay to call in the professionals like a cleaning service, carpet shampoo company, etc. There is no shame in outsourcing. We are all busy.

11. Hide Valuables

From art to jewelry, keep your treasures are out of sight. Unfortunately, we cannot trust everyone who comes into your house. Hide your valuables or move them to a safe space away from your home.

12. Consider Staging

Although staging is optional, it really shouldn't be. Relative to the amount of time and money involved, staging may be one of the most lucrative projects you ever undertake. Potential buyers are not just looking for a structure to inhabit – they're looking to fulfill their dreams and improve their lifestyles. Staging helps sell those dreams and creates a more emotional purchase that can generate more money for the seller. While there are plenty of room-specific staging tips, if you're on a limited budget, it's best to focus on big-picture improvements and on the areas that will make the biggest difference in your home's selling price. We will gladly walk through your house with you and provide you with a detailed list of suggestions.  

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