Preparing Your Home for Sale

When it comes to selling your home, the first impression is often the most important. To make a lasting mark on prospective buyers, spend some time improving the interior and exterior appearance of your home before placing it on the market. Chances are the extra effort will pay off with a faster sale at a better price.

REALTORS® are familiar with buyers’ expectations and can help you make the changes that can lead to a quick and hassle-free sale. By viewing the home from a buyer’s perspective, you develop an objective position that allows you to make the changes necessary to receive top dollar. Even small, inexpensive changes can greatly enhance your asking price.

As a rule, do not spend more than 20 percent of the value of your home on remodeling. Whether undertaking some or all of the project yourself, remember to follow safety precautions and building codes and to select outside contractors with care.

Oftentimes curb appeal is the determining factor that persuades potential buyers to enter a home that is for sale. Buyers tend to be more inclined to request a showing if a home’s exterior is visually appealing, most of which can be done on even the tightest budget.

Here are some tips to improve your home’s curb appeal:

  • Keep the lawn watered and trimmed regularly.
  • Plant flowers along the walkway, or place seasonal plants on the porch.
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door. Choose a neutral shade similar to other homes in the neighborhood.
  • Store children’s toys, bicycles, gardening tools and other clutter out of sight.
  • Consider giving your home or deck a power wash to make it look new again.
  • Trim any bushes or trees that might obstruct the view of your home.

REALTORS often advise their clients to make some simple adjustments inside to really impress potential buyers. For example, begin to improve the interior of your home by clearing out the clutter. You can create a more spacious feel to the home by removing excess furniture and knickknacks. The interior decor should allow potential buyers to see the room’s purpose, but be able to imagine their own belongings in the space.

For those sellers who do not want to donate or toss their belongings before a listing, there are a variety of storage spaces available for rent. Many of these units are climate controlled so items can be safely stored until the seller moves into a new home.

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to prepare a house for sale is to repaint. Although color can add a unique feel to a home, painting a neutral shade throughout the interior will appeal to the most buyers. When in doubt, ask a local paint store what colors builders are using in new homes.   

Some tips for interior improvement include:

  • Repair any knobs, switches, faucets, or hinges and replace light bulbs. What it costs you now in maintenance will pay off come inspection time.
  • Set the dining room table with a neutral everyday set of dishes.
  • Consider hiring a cleaning service before you place your home on the market. Give the carpets, floors and light fixtures a thorough cleaning. A clean, fresh-smelling home is essential if you want to keep up with the competition.
  • Consider a fresh coat of paint in high-traffic areas
  • Put small kitchen appliances in cabinets to emphasize counter space.
  • Open windows and blinds to let as much natural light in as possible.
  • Move pets to another location before showings.
  • Let your REALTOR do the selling. REALTORS are trained to sell your house and are familiar with the buyer's needs. Let them point out the significant features of your home.