When you’re ready to upgrade to a nicer home, you usually have to make sure your first house sells. Typically, this means you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and do a little work, as practically no property is ready to showcase without a bit of elbow grease. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are 10 things to do before selling a home for an upgrade.
1. Assess Your Curb Appeal
The first impression your house makes on a prospective buyer is from the outside. That means curb appeal matters, so carefully examining your property is a must.
Make sure that any existing plants are in good shape and well-tended. If your yard seems somewhat bare, consider planting flowers or shrubs that will fill in quickly, allowing you to get maximum impact in less time.
Also, consider the look of your front porch and doorway. If necessary, repaint your front door so that the color is fresh. Make sure the area is well lit and generally inviting.
2. Declutter Everywhere
Clutter can make your home look and feel smaller. It suggests that there isn’t enough space for everything, even if the rooms and storage areas are actually large.
Before you get ready to sell, head to every surface – including shelves, tables, and windowsills – and remove everything. Then, consider whether each item actually needs to be there and only put back those that genuinely make the space more appealing.
Finally, look at every closet, cabinet, and drawer. Prospective buyers will peer into these areas too, so, if they are overflowing, it makes it look like there’s a storage issue.
3. Depersonalize the House
While pictures of your friends and family may be appealing to you, they make it harder for buyers to connect with the space. When you depersonalize your home, it’s easier for them to imagine the house as theirs.
Additionally, consider removing any furniture or artwork that is incredibly bold or will only appeal to a limited number of buyers. While home shoppers know that aren’t purchasing your belongings as well, coming across something they dislike can still create negative associations about your property.
4. Embrace Neutral Paint
Even if you enjoy having deep wall colors or accent walls, not everyone will feel the same. When homebuyers encounter paint colors they don’t like, they automatically think of the work and cost involved in repainting.
Instead, you should save them the trouble and embrace neutral paint colors. Opt for white, gray, or beige, and try to keep things light and bright.
5. Remove Scuff Marks
Doors, baseboards, and cabinets often end up with scuff marks during normal use. However, if you don’t clean them up, they can make your house look dirty even if it isn’t.
Whether you simply need to clean them with a little soap and water or touchup painting is necessary will depend on the situation. You can always begin by cleaning, but make sure you stay open to painting in case the need arises.
6. Fix the Small Stuff
Everything from loose door handles to burned out light bulbs can leave potential buyers with a negative impression. Instead of focusing on what your home has to offer, they may fixate on what’s broken or starting wondering if there are more problems that they are seeing.
As you prepare your house for sale, take a moment to fix any small issues you encounter along the way. It may take some time, but it’s worth the effort if you want to secure top dollar.
7. Bring in Some Greenery
Adding a few plants throughout your home can make any house feel more welcoming. Plants are signs of life and a great way to add color. However, you can also accomplish a similar look by placing a bowl of fresh fruit on the dining table or kitchen counter or opting for flower bouquets over potted plants.
8. Do a Deep Clean
When you prep your home for sale, you need to clean like you’ve never cleaned before. Homebuyers are going to examine every nook and cranny of your house, so taking the time to clean every inch, including behind and inside appliances and bathroom fixtures (especially the toilet), is necessary.
Similarly, if your light fixtures have glass domes or other additions that cover the bulbs, take them down and clean inside. If you turn on the light and buyers can see bugs and debris inside the globes, it is going to leave a poor impression.
Cleaning out the edges of your windows and sliding door tracks is also a smart move, as these are areas where dirt can accumulate and aren’t usually cleaned regularly.
9. Remove Your Valuables
While most homebuyers wouldn’t dare steal any of your belongings, if you leave them in plain sight, some may not be able to resist the opportunity. Make sure all of your jewelry, small electronics, and other treasures don’t become objects of temptation by either removing them from your home or locking them away.
10. Hide the Kid and Pet Stuff
Children’s toys and pet items shouldn’t be out in the open when you are trying to sell. Make sure toys are stored in smart areas, like inside a chest, or boxed up and taken elsewhere. Similarly, relocate pet dishes, litter boxes, and animal crates to either an outside shed or offsite storage area.
By following the tips above you can make sure your first home is ready to sell.
Do you have any more tips on preparation for selling a home? Share them in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.