Three to six months before you plan on putting your house on the market you will need to paint. Choose neutral colors with only one or two accent colors to break up the monotony. You will want to have all of the carpets and drapes cleaned or replaced. Neutral colors and patterns are the rule of thumb here as well. You will want to give the exterior a similar face lift. Finally, be sure to fix everything in need of repair. The dripping faucet, the broken drawer handle and the cracked light switch faceplate are a few examples of little touches that make a huge difference. You want to present a house looking brand new rather than lived in.
One Month Before Listing Your Home
One month before listing your house, consider getting a home inspection. Your buyers will do this anyway and it will help you to know what needs to be fixed up ahead of time. A few hundreds spent in advance will pay off dividends in the long term.
This is also the time to de-clutter. Pack away everything you can. Less clutter will help potential buyers to have a vision of what their tastes and styles will look like in their new home. Try to remove everything which makes the house yours. This will take a lot of effort, but it will help your house sell faster. Remember, you want the buyer to imagine the house is their home. That is not possible if the house already feels like it’s someone else’s.
Your house must be clean. Your house must be clean enough to pass the inspection of the most critical mother-in-law imaginable. It needs to dazzle! Consider hiring a cleaning service to come weekly until the house is sold. A small investment upfront will be rewarded at the closing. Have a kind, but honest friend come over and give your home a ‘sniff’ test. Odors that you have grown accustom to will turn away a potential buyer. Cigarette odors, pet odors and mildew are just a few smells that can seep into a home without you realizing it. Finally, view your home from the street. This will be your buyer’s first impression. Try to look at your house with a stranger’s eyes. What do you see? Do you see any last minute improvements it needs? Make sure you take care of them right away.
The Day Before Your House is Shown
Besides making sure everything is clean, walk through the house and remove any signature items. A baseball glove by the back door, paperwork on the desk, a DVD left out near the TV, must all be tucked away before the potential buyers rings the bell. Open all the curtains to provide as much light as possible. Consider one or two friendly accents like fresh flowers on the table or a seasonal door hanging on the front door. Stand in the center of the house. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Open your eyes and look around. Does everything look and feel clean and welcoming? Yes. Then your done. Your house is ready to meet it’s soon-to-be new owners.
Staging your home will take time, effort and money, but it will pay off when your house sells quickly and at the price you want.