The Seven Most Important Steps to Prepare the Inside of your Home for a Quick Sale.
It only takes home buyers a few moments to form a lasting opinion of your home. Most of the time it’s very difficult to see beyond the clutter, the personal effects and the dirt. Only the most seasoned of buyers, usually investors, can visualize what will remain after you move out. Start by having a candid conversation with your REALTOR about what should be done. Here are some basic steps to get you headed in the right direction:
1. Rent a storage shed, declutter and get organized. Usually people have an excess of nearly everything in their home which has accumulated over the years. Families with your children have an excess of toys; model plane enthusiasts have an excess of model planes; grandparents have an excess of pictures; and crafters have an excess and their handiwork. These items have accumulated over years, which results in the homeowner looking beyond the clutter. Also, REMOVE EXCESS FURNITURE! Box up all but one or two of your prized possessions and head to a nearby storage facility. Don’t put the extra boxes in your basement or garage. Storage areas also must be clean and organized.
2. Remove personal effects. Remove family pictures from vacations and weddings; remove evidence of your hobbies and your handiwork; remove seasonal clothes; remove Christmas lights; remove excess china and kitchen wares; remove—well, you get the idea.
3. Deep Clean. After all items are boxed and secure in a storage shed, get busy and deep clean your entire house. Deep cleaning does not mean simply wiping off mirrors and dusting the coffee table. Some homes might require professional cleaning of your air ducts.
4. Replace light Bulbs. Make an inventory of your entire home. Every lamp, every sconce, every recessed light and every fixture should be clean—with every light bulb working. Some families are cave dwellers and prefer to live in the dark. It is very surprising to walk into homes and start flipping on light switches only to find one-third of all of the lightbulbs need replacing. Equally disturbing is the home where all window shades and/or curtains are closed. Open all window treatment, clean the windows and let the light in. You may lose fifty percent (50%) of your buyers, if your home appears dark or dimly lit.
5. Remove extreme colors and extreme wallpaper. Most colors are acceptable, not desirable, but acceptable. In some cases people have decorated their homes with deep shades of their favorite colors and their favorite wallpaper. Some people cannot look beyond the color and cannot picture the room working for their belongings. If your colors are extreme, consider
repainting with lighter, neutral colors. If you are tempted to paint over the wall paper—have it removed by a professional.
6. Stage. After removing the excess furniture, set your room(s) up for a photo shoot. Remember, nearly every room of your home will soon be viewed on real estate on websites across the WORLD!
7. Cat owners and smokers, be prepared to lose $5,000 to $10,000 from the otherwise appropriate value of your home. STOP! Do not take this personally. No more than you would if prospective buyers told you that your basement smelled musty. Even if you have taken all of my advice, getting your home ready, most buyers WILL NOT be able to get beyond the offensive odors caused by some cats and heavy smokers. Strangers walking through your home with their realtor will be looking for reasons to not pay you full asking price. I suggest you talk to a cleaning professional if you need to remove strong, offensive odors.
Most of these steps can be accomplished in a week or two, after work in the evenings and on weekends. TAKE THIS ADVICE and be prepared for a quick, often full-priced, sale of your home.