The process of selling a home can be broken down into concrete steps. If taken in order, these steps lead to a successful conclusion. Skimping on any of the steps – trying to take shortcuts – may lead to problems when problems are the last thing you want to encounter – during the escrow period.
Your friends at RealEstate.com believe in the power of the checklist and have created one especially for the home seller.
First, though, let’s dig into each step and discuss its importance.
Clean and Declutter
Before you even think of having real estate agents tour the home, get the heavy lifting out of the way. If you’re confused about what to remove from your home and what should stay, keep in mind that your aim is to make rooms look larger and brighter. Oversized furniture typically make a room look smaller, so store the big stuff and rearrange the smaller furniture to make the room look open and airy.
Go through each room and remove anything that doesn’t fit the room’s purpose. For instance, exercise equipment doesn’t advertise that your office is a place to get work done, so move the treadmill into storage. Do the same with baby paraphernalia in the living room: Either move baby items to the nursery or store them while the house is on the market.
When you clean the house, clean everything, from the drapes to the rugs and carpet.
One of the more familiar real estate buzzwords, curb appeal simply describes how appealing your home is from the curb. This is the buyer’s initial vantage point and typically determines whether she wants to see the inside of the home.
At the very least, give the landscaping a good cleaning and pruning, green up the lawn and keep it mowed. A fresh coat of paint on the front door creates a focal point for the buyer when she lands at the curb in front of your home.
Consider Staging the Home
Studies have shown that staging a home allows it to sell quicker and for more money. While you don’t need to go all out and hire the most expensive interior decorator in town, following some basic staging advice will go a long way toward a quick sale and big bucks.
Make Necessary Repairs
To avoid bumps in the home selling road, have your home professionally inspected before putting it on the market. Yes, the buyer will most likely have it inspected as well, but a pre-sale home inspection gives you knowledge of items in need of repair that may slow down or even halt the deal.
At the very least, fix those items that you are aware of, such as dripping faucets, running toilets and holes in window screens.
Hire an Agent
Sure, folks sell their houses on their own all the time. Unless you have a lot of spare time to devote to the process, however, the marketing of your biggest lifetime investment should be left to a professional real estate agent.
Finding the right real estate agent for your situation is the biggest challenge, but we have a checklist for finding an agent to help you out.
Create a Brag Book
The brag book is something you can leave on the kitchen counter for buyers to look through as they tour your home. In it you can place your home’s flyer, a page that includes the neighborhood’s comparable sales, and a listing of the area’s schools, parks and other amenities. Add a sheet that highlights any of the home’s custom features and, finally, a list of all repairs or replacements made with copies of invoices.
Use the checklist below to remain organized during the initial phase of getting your home ready for the market.
Checklist for Preparing to Sell Your Home
- Clear off kitchen and bathroom counters, leaving only decorative items.
- Clean out and rearrange medicine cabinet, closets, cupboards, pantry and drawers to make them look roomier.
- Remove large furniture and other items that make rooms appear small and cramped.
- Rearrange rooms to advertise their purpose (remove exercise equipment from the office).
- Remove personal items such as family photos, refrigerator clutter, certificates and awards, books and DVD collections.
Clean the Home Thoroughly
- Remove odors.
- Wash or paint the walls.
- Wash the windows.
- Launder or dry clean rugs and drapery.
- Clean out the fireplace.
- Make the bathroom and kitchen sparkle.
- Clean carpets.
- Clean baseboards.
Increase Curb Appeal
- Make the front porch look as inviting as possible.
- Fertilize, edge and mow the lawn.
- Rake debris from the beds and add fresh mulch.
- Consider new landscape plants that add a pop of color to the yard.
- Hire a home stager or do it yourself.
- Order a home inspection.
- Make the necessary repairs.
- Interview real estate agents.
- Create a brag book.