The typical home seller desperately longs for a stress-free sale experience. They desire a seamless transaction where they merely list their property and quickly find a buyer with a fair offer. Afterward, all that’s left is handing over the keys.
In truth, putting a house on the market involves numerous elements within and beyond your control.
Over the past two years, prices have been rising, and bidding wars have become increasingly common as inventory levels sit at an all-time low. In some markets, a rise in interest rates and worries about economic recession has cooled home sales.
You only have one time to make a good first impression.
To secure the best deal, you’ll want to ensure that every factor of home selling is optimized and fine-tuned. From deciding to sell to closing day, here are all the critical steps in preparing your home for sale.
Preparing Your House For Sale
Spending a bit of time and energy upfront to ready your house for showings will increase the likelihood of receiving offers shortly after you list. Lingering on the market can make your home more challenging to sell. Don’t let that be an issue by investing in some preparation beforehand.
#1: Complete necessary repairs
Over time, even minor signs of wear and tear can accumulate in your home. From chipped paint to loose cabinet handles, these minor issues might seem harmless, but if left unchecked can quickly become more significant problems.
Buyers may view these minor issues as devaluing your home or bargaining chips to negotiate a lower purchase price.
Make a plan for repairs
Take a tour of your home, room by room, and jot down any necessary repairs. Carefully inspect walls and floors for any holes, dents, cracks, or chips.
In the kitchen, all appliances should be in perfect condition. Inspect cabinets and drawers, ensuring they correctly operate when you open and close them.
Bathroom and kitchen faucets, light fixtures, drains, tubs, and showers must all be airtight and function optimally. Moreover, inspect for signs of water damage or broken tiles to ensure everything is in tip-top shape.
Your HVAC system, water heater, smoke detectors, electrical panel, and circuit breakers should function optimally without any leakage.
When surveying outside your home, inspect exterior surfaces like eaves, windows, and weather stripping for signs of damage such as rot, cracks, or peeling.
To ensure optimal safety and functionality, decks and patios should be pristine; fences must show no signs of rot or rust damage.
#2: Declutter your home
Giving the illusion of a larger space is attractive to potential buyers. Take advantage of open spaces and storage areas to make your rooms appear as spacious as possible.
Give your home a thorough decluttering and organizing to ensure every space looks its best.
Create an organized space by utilizing storage bins you can tuck away under beds or organize neatly in a basement or closet. Having your possessions stored this way allows for neatness without compromising aesthetics.
If you’re selling your house, renting a storage unit for all your belongings is wise; it provides more open space and will give potential buyers the blank slate they need to imagine your home as theirs.
#3: Deep clean your home
#4: Depersonalize your house
Besides tidying up and organizing, take the extra step of depersonalizing your house.
When you’re trying to sell your home, it can be difficult for potential buyers to envision themselves living in the house if there’s too much of your style present. You want them to imagine making this place their own and how they’d decorate it.
Give any room a blank canvas by taking away eye-catching objects such as family photos, trinkets, knickknacks, religious symbols, academic certificates and awards, hobby essentials, or treasured collections.
#5: Provide a blank canvas with fresh paint
A brand-new coat of paint can instantly give your home a breath of fresh air. A fresh coat of paint can make small rooms appear larger and emphasize details like crown molding and trim.
Choosing neutral colors for the interior walls of your home can significantly benefit potential buyers; these shades pair with all types of decoration and furniture, making it easier for them to visualize their belongings in the space.
Homeowners frequently take on the task of painting their own homes. To ensure a smooth process and stunning results, it is essential to thoroughly prepare each room beforehand by wiping down walls to remove dust and dirt, fixing any holes or damage in the wall, laying painter’s tape along trim lines, and covering furniture pieces as well as floors with drop cloths.
Or you could hire a professional if you have the money to spare.
#6: Proactively clean
Establish a cleaning routine and commit to it. Embrace organization by putting items back in their proper places when you’re through with them:
- Before you depart, give your house a quick vacuum or sweeping.
- Ensure that your walkway and porch are always tidy.
- Keep your lawn lush and weed-free by regularly mowing it each week.
- Systematically dispose of any waste to keep areas clean.
- To keep your kitchen and bathroom clean, develop a daily routine of wiping down fixtures and surfaces.
House Repairs and Renovations Checklist
In seller’s markets, it is common to be able to sell a home in its current state without much resistance. However, suppose the market is either regular or buyer-focused. In that case, repairs can determine whether or not your house will get sold.
House repairs checklist
- Fix leaky faucets
- Paint walls with neutral colors
- Patch any holes in the wall
- Repair doors that don’t close properly
- Replace cracked floor or counter tiles
- Replace lightbulbs
- Unstick kitchen drawers that jam
House renovations checklist
By making the right renovations to your home, you can make it look more attractive to potential buyers and add considerable value. While some improvement projects may seem beneficial, it is essential to carefully consider the value of a renovation before investing in its cost, time, and energy.
According to FortuneBuilders, the top five return on investment (ROI) renovations are the following:
- Minor bathroom remodel
- Minor Kitchen Remodel
- Attic Bedroom Conversion
- Major Bathroom Remodel
Having a checklist is an absolute must to guarantee that you don’t forget anything significant while renovating your home:
- Formulating an effective plan is your first step toward success.
- To ensure no costly repairs are necessary, have experienced professionals inspect the home’s foundation, siding, roof, windows, plumbing, and electrical systems.
- Make sure to acquire a generous dumpster to store all the clutter you are discarding and begin disposing of it immediately.
- This is the ideal opportunity to frame your walls, whether you are constructing new ones or moving them.
- Add support beams when necessary and make any changes for doorways and windows – let’s get creative with this step.
- Before installing insulation and drywall, any new HVAC systems, pipes, or electrical wiring must be in place.
- Installing insulation in your attic and walls before putting up your drywall.
- Get your drywall installed.
- With the walls finished, you can have your new windows installed. This is also an opportune time to modernize other room areas with molding, baseboards, trim, and stylish built-ins.
- Giving your walls a complete transformation – from painting to hanging wallpaper.
- Install them last to protect your new carpet, tile, hardwood, laminate, and other surfaces from being damaged during the remodeling process.
Home Improvements Checklist
Regularly inspecting your house’s exterior, appliances, climate control systems, plumbing, security alarms, and electrical wiring will help avoid costly repairs while keeping it in top condition.
Taking the time to examine your home and consistently doing monthly DIY projects will help you stay on top of maintenance needs, making it more straightforward in the long run:
- Carefully look at the tub and sink drains for any blockages, then take the necessary actions to clear them away if needed.
- Check your water softener is well-stocked with salt for optimal operation
- Eliminate smells from your garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes, followed by a flush of hot water and baking soda.
- Ensure that both interior and exterior airspace ducts are clear.
- Examine electrical cords for any signs of degradation.
- Inspect all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, and ground-fault circuit interrupters and test regularly for optimal safety.
- Refresh your faucet aerators and showerheads by eliminating mineral buildup.
- Deep cleaning your furnace filter rids it of dust accumulation, maintains even temperature control in your home, and ultimately achieves lower energy bills.
- To prevent sediment buildup, regularly refresh your water heater by draining out any hot water.
Home Staging Checklist
Making a home more appealing to potential buyers is known as staging.
Make a plan
- Walk through each room and objectively assess the property from a potential buyer’s point of view.
- A professional home inspection ensures that your home is free of any required repairs.
- Entrust an experienced contractor with your significant projects for top-notch results.
- Uncover your current market value by considering a professional appraisal.
- Transform your home into a clutter-free space by hosting a yard sale. Get rid of any items you no longer need or use and make some extra cash in the process. Donate whatever’s left over.
Prep the home
- Give your entire home a thorough, top-to-bottom clean.
- Declutter and streamline your space by removing unneeded items and personal items.
Lift the kitchen and bathroom
- Adorn your bathroom with crisp, new towels for an inviting atmosphere.
- Bring out the shine of your floors by mopping and polishing them.
- Declutter your countertops; organize and create a clean, inviting space with clear surfaces.
- Eliminate stains from your sinks, toilets, and bathtubs for a spotless finish.
- Ensure that all toilet seat lids are securely closed.
- Make your kitchen sparkle by cleaning and tidying up the pantry, drawers, and cabinets.
- Provide a thorough cleaning of all appliances and fixtures.
- Transform and upgrade the sealant around sinks, bathtubs, and other fixtures with fresh caulk.
- Upgrade to modern hardware.
Enhance curb appeal
- Carefully examine the roof, and address any necessary repairs.
- Clean the gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage.
- Ensure that the front door is secure, the doorbell works, your address number is visible, and you have a welcoming mat ready to greet arriving visitors.
- Freshen your entryway and walkways with a thorough sweep to ensure they stay clean and tidy.
- Fill in the crevices and cracks on your driveway and walkways.
- Give the siding and windows a power wash to freshen up their appearance.
- Keep your lawn healthy and vibrant by regularly mowing, watering, and fertilizing.
- Prune the shrubs and trees, then gather up all of their fallen leaves.
- Pick up any toys or outdoor equipment scattered around the yard and store them away.
- Revitalize the home’s exterior by giving it a fresh coat of paint, including touching up trim, doors, and shutters.
- Take the necessary steps to ensure a clean and safe yard by removing their droppings.
- Transform your outdoor space into a vibrant paradise with the addition of colorful flowers and shrubs.
Make your home look and smell pleasant
- Accentuate your space with natural light and let the stunning views shine through by opening curtains or blinds.
- Avoid smoking inside.
- Illuminate your interior areas by installing light bulbs with a higher wattage, such as incandescent models.
- Invite in the refreshing scent of fresh air by flinging open your windows.
- On the day of your open house, be sure to move any pets out so potential buyers can get an unimpeded look at the property.
- Transform your home into a sweet-smelling paradise by baking cookies or lighting fragrant scented candles.
Highlight the home’s amenities
- Embrace the beauty of hardwood floors by taking away carpets and rugs.
- Ensure that fireplaces are functioning correctly and safely.
- Let the sunshine in and reveal magnificent views by drawing open your curtains.
- Transform your front porch or deck by adding stylish furniture and luscious potted plants.
- Thoroughly clean the backyard and surrounding pool area for maximum effect.
Be ready for an open house
- Compose detailed property descriptions and supply essential documents, like the HOA rules, inspection reports, and purchase offer forms.
- Let your immediate circle of friends and family know when and where you’re hosting an open house.
- Place ads in local newspapers, real estate publications, and free websites such as Craigslist.com for maximum exposure to potential customers.
- To advertise your property, strategically post “Open House” signs on the front lawn and at nearby junctions with precise directions leading to the abode.
House Selling Process (Things To Do)
Here’s a home-selling checklist to guide you through the process.
#1: Decide how you want to sell your home
Identifying a real estate agent is relatively simple, with the internet at your fingertips. You can quickly research their past sales experience and professional credentials.
You can save money by skipping commission payments and instead deciding to go the “for sale by owner” (FSBO) route. Still, you’ll have to pay for many things out of pocket and devote a ton of sweat equity.
Sell to a cash buyer to avoid the hassle of repairs, staging, open houses, and real estate commissions.
#2 Establish a timeline for selling your home
Putting a house on the market is an overwhelming process that could take anywhere from two to four months or may even be delayed longer, depending on your local housing climate and inventory levels.
#3: Pre-listing home inspection
Investing in a pre-listing home inspection is an optional yet wise decision. Spending a few hundred dollars on it can save you from dealing with issues before listing your home for sale.
A comprehensive report will help detect structural or mechanical problems before buyers do their inspections, thus avoiding expensive repairs.
#4: Repairs and renovations
When investing in significant upgrades, ensure that your modifications yield a high-reward outcome.
Updating your kitchen and bathroom is one of the higher ROI investments; it will improve the look and increase its value. If all your cabinetry has seen better days, adding new doors and hardware can give everything a modern facelift that may increase your home’s value.
#5: Professional photographs
To boost your home’s online presence and increase the odds of a sale, hiring an experienced photographer to capture marketing images is essential. High-quality photos can decide between having your property listed for long periods or sold in no time.
#6: Set a listing price
In competitive real estate markets, buyers will only pay what the comparables reveal, making it vital to price a home correctly.
Setting your pricing too high can backfire and leave you in an unfavorable place, yet undervaluing a property may mean leaving money on the table. Consequently, learning how to determine market value is essential for success accurately.
#7: Field offers
After you place your home on the market and buyers have had an opportunity to view it, multiple offers may come in.
When the market in your vicinity favors sellers, buyers may offer an amount equal to or greater than what you are asking. You could even get several bids.
On the other hand, if sales are sluggish around you and offers do not come in, you should consider negotiating with potential buyers.
#8: Prepare for closing costs
Closing costs apply to both the homebuyer and the seller. On average, a home seller is usually responsible for paying their real estate agent’s commission which amounts to about 5-6% of the property’s sale price.
#9: Gather closing paperwork
Make the selling of your home faster and more efficient by organizing all paperwork in one spot. Gather some key documents, like:
- Purchase contract.
- Certificate of occupancy
- Certificates of compliance with local codes
- Mortgage documents
- Tax records
- An appraisal from your home purchase
- Homeowners insurance plan documents
- Home inspection report
#10: Close the deal
Scrutinize contracts and documents, recognize potential obstacles and guarantee that the sale progresses without a hitch.
An attorney’s shrewd eye can spot title issues that could delay the sale for weeks, even months, or worse, prevent it from occurring.
If you have been residing in your home for some time, it’s easy to ignore the minute details that could make or break a potential offer.
To position your home for a successful sale, detach yourself from memories and envision it as if you are viewing the house with fresh eyes. Take on the perspective of potential buyers to understand how they might perceive its value.
If you want to ensure your home looks as beautiful and appealing as possible before listing it, don’t hesitate to reach out for honest feedback from friends or family members. Doing so guarantees that all the hard work you put into making your house stunning pays off when prospective buyers view it.