After you decide to sell your house, there are some basic tasks you should complete before calling a realtor for a listing. These basic tasks will not only make your realtor’s job easier, but should also take full advantage of the first few weeks of your listing, when interest should be high.
To begin, you want to declutter and depersonalize your space. Take down family photographs and personal items and carefully pack them. The focus should be on your home, not your family while showing your house. By minimizing personalized items, you leave room for the buyer to imagine living there.
Take this time before listing with a realtor to remove any item in your house that you would not consider selling with it. This includes the drapes that are irreplaceable or a weathervane on top of your house that was a gift. Many realtors will tell you that a buyer may want a specific item to be left with the house. To refuse may mean missing out on an offer.
Now is the time to reduce clutter as well. Remove items that you have not use within the past year. Consider donating items you do not use or have sentimental attachment to. Pay particular attention to items that collect on countertops and desktops. Remove these items and place them in drawers.
Each drawer and closet should carefully be examined. No closet should be more than half full. Remove any items you can part with and pack them away. Make sure that each drawer in your home is neat and tidy, despite the presence of a realtor; many buyers love to snoop through a home.
Be precise and meticulous while organizing your home. Carefully stack dishes and organize the pantry. Clothing should be ironed and carefully hung with everything facing the same way.
Look at the remaining items in your home with the critical eye of a realtor. Pieces of excess furniture should be removed and put into storage. This includes any piece of furniture that interrupts the flow of the house, or dwarfs a room. Rent a storage unit for all of these excess items.
Before the realtor comes to tour, arrange the items that are in plain sight to their best advantage. If you have built in bookshelves, consider displaying not your favorite books, but those that make the best visual impact. Anything that makes a negative impact should go into storage.
Make a list of any minor repairs that may be needed. This includes hairline cracks, holes in walls, even leaky faucets. Check each drawer and door to make sure it opens and shuts easily. If you have unusually colored walls, paint them. Any realtor will tell you that buyers want to be able to envision their own things in your house. Make it easy for them to do so.
Clean your house as thoroughly as possible. This includes waxing floors, cleaning windows, and bleaching grout. Dust and clean ceilings and light fixtures. If you have ever considered hiring a cleaning service, do it now, before you sign a listing with a realtor.
Make a plan so your house stays clean every day for the duration of your listing with the realtor. Someone should vacuum and clean the bathrooms everyday. Don’t expect a lot of time to clean your house before a realtor calls with a prospective buyer.
Many people forget the exterior of their home in their focus on the interior. Look at the outside of your home with a critical eye. Paint faded trim and clean the exterior of your home, not just the windows. Make sure your house number is clearly visible from the road so anyone with the information from your listing or realtor can find it.
Be sure before you solicit a listing that all of your yard work is up to date and your yard is well maintained. Trim your bushes and prune your trees as needed. Consider planting flowers or putting flower pots near the front of your home to make it look more inviting.
It may take several weekends of hard work to make your house ready for listing, but the time and money invested will be well worth it. A home that is carefully prepared for before it is listed with a realtor will yield higher offers and a shorter listing.