7 Things To Do Before Listing Your House
1) De-clutter, De-clutter, and more De-clutter
When selling your home, I can't emphasize this enough...the first thing you need to do is DE-CLUTTER! You don't want potential buyers walking through your house thinking they are on the set of "Hoarders". If people walk into a mess and disorganization, they are going to think that you didn't take care of the home and that there isn't enough storage. Go through the house room by room and have a junk box of unused stuff that can be thrown out (we all know that there is stuff in our closets that has been in there for years that we forgot about...chances are, we don't really need it!). Then, have second box of stuff that can be packed away. These are things that you won't need until after you move. Even though you may have enough storage in your home, any clutter will give the impression otherwise.
2) De- Personalize
We all love the personal touches we add to our home over the years, to make it ours...but unfortunately other home buyers may not like our particular collection or shrine we have of our children on the walls. As much as it is what makes our house a home, it is also a distraction for buyers. Buyers are easily distracted with personal memorabilia and pictures, and will stop looking at your homes selling features, while paying attention to random personal items in your home. Try to limit anything personal like this by packing it up. You want your home to appeal to all potential buyers that walk through, so make sure your home is as neutral as possible.
An important thing to think about when selling your home is that it is now a product on the market, which means you need it to appeal to as many people as possible. Having a bright yellow living room may be something that you loved, but this may turn a lot of buyers off. Seeing a house for sale on the internet with a different bright colour in every different room may immediately turn buyers off. Some people just don't have the vision to look past that, and see it as work. Stick to neutral colours of grey, beige, tan, and white, to appeal to all potential buyers. An added bonus is that a new coat of paint gives the home a fresh, finished, move-in ready look that buyers are attracted to.
4) Keep It Clean
Make those rooms sparkle and shine! You want to make sure your house is cleaned with a fine tooth comb. Take out the garbage every morning in case of last minute showings while you're at work. You don't want your home to smell like last nights dinner. Make sure floors are swept, sinks are empty, dishes are put away, surfaces are dusted, and windows are sparkling. If you have kids or pets these tasks may seem impossible, but try your best to have your home ready for a showing at any time. I was once selling my home and the real estate agent gave me 15 minutes before he scheduled a showing. Having a young baby, that didn't give me much time to clean everything, but luckily, I was keeping the house as tidy as possible, so it wasn't impossible!
5) Stage to Sell
When selling your home you definitely want to depersonalize, by taking away personal memorabilia, but make sure that it is still decorated to sell. Less is more when decorating to sell. You don't want clutter, but can always leave some decorative items grouped in odd numbers (1,3,5's). You want to keep your decor with the character of the home but make sure it is still updated. Just because the home has character from the early 1900's doesn't mean you need to decorate the home with furniture from the same time period. Mix and match modern, in-style design with the characteristic of the house. Updated throw pillows, beddings, throw rugs, and accessories are an inexpensive way to update the decor on a budget. Keep extra large, unnecessary furniture pieces out of smaller rooms, this can make the room seem cramped. If you don't have room in your house to store larger pieces of furniture, you can always rent a storage unit for a month while the house is on the market.
6) Take Professional Looking Photos
One of the most important things when selling your home is marketing it properly with professional looking photos. Nothing is worse than looking at pictures on the internet that are blurry, and you can't even see what the room actually looks like. I have seen many pictures of home listings where I question what the picture even is. I once saw a photo of a listing that was of the corner of the counter and a little bit of the floor...I'm not too sure what they were trying to capture, but it looked unprofessional and definitely wasn't a selling feature. If hiring a professional isn't feasible, then research on how to take good real estate pictures. You can even refer to my blog's "5 Tips For Taking Professional Pictures When Selling Your Home".
7) Market Your Listing
If you decided not to hire a real estate agent who would market the property for you, then you should research on how to market it as best as possible. There are online classified ads you can post your house for sale on. There are now companies that offer to list your home on MLS for a very small fraction of the cost of hiring a real estate agent. This is a great way for people searching for homes to find your listing. You can even post an ad at the grocery store. Just make sure whatever way you are deciding to get your ad out there, that the photos look great and the ad stands out. The easiest way to get your home in the publics eye is to hire a professional to do the marketing for you. Real Estate Agents do a lot of networking and may know the perfect buyer for your home. Most real estate agents spend a lot of time and money to market your property, so they are a great choice to help sell your home fast.