Top Ten: Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

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Traditionally, research shows that Spring is the best time of year to put your house on the market. While the market is mutable and dependent on a multitude of variables, there are things a homeowner can do to get their home ready while getting the home ready for the market. Following are ten ideas to help get your home ready to sell.

  1. Declutter and depersonalize

We’ve all heard it a thousand times, clutter and personal items distract potential homeowners from the possibility of seeing themselves living in the space. Buyers want to imagine themselves in the space rather than seeing how you live in your space. While it can feel overwhelming, it can also be liberating, freeing you from “stuff” you forgot you had or don’t want to move to your new home. When a home is clutter-free, buyers are able to focus on the actual home instead of on the stuff. Leave a few nice, framed photos around the house to make the home appear inviting and lived in.

  1. Consider renting a storage unit

While in the process of decluttering and depersonalizing – or preliminary packing if that feels less overwhelming – renting a temporary storage unit is a great way to organize extra stuff while preparing to get your home on the market. Not only will you get a better sense of the space you’re working with, having a self-storage unit nearby will provide a place to store extra stuff when staging and showing the home.

3. Give your house a deep clean

First impressions mean a lot, and much like painting, a good deep clean makes your home feel fresh. Before listing your home, and throughout the selling process if necessary, particularly if you are living in the home while it’s on the market, give your home a deep clean. This means things like cleaning toilets, wiping down surfaces, mopping floors, cleaning rugs, and washing down baseboards and ceiling fans. Plus, if you’ve decluttered, cleaning will be easier. There’s a lot you can do yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. A reliable cleaning service can be worth the investment and can ensure that your place is in pristine selling condition.

4. Research your local housing market

Any good real estate agent will encourage you to do your homework. Since so much information is available online, homeowners can easily do some research about the housing market in their area and neighborhood. Sites like Realtor.com and Zillow offer a lot of information. Look at other home sales and listing prices by comparing size, square footage, features, updates, and location. Doing your homework along with working with a reputable Realtor will go a long way to finding the perfect selling strategy for your home.

5. Find a listing agent

Enlisting a professional real estate agent to list your home. While Realtor.com and Zillow.com are great resources, a professional and reliable real estate agent will work in your best interest and will have access to information that realtor.com won’t provide. The best way to find an agent that will work for you is to interview them. Have a conversation, tell them what you’re wanting and what you’re hoping to accomplish, ask them about their experience and experience in your neighborhood. Use your instincts, get a feel if they would be a good fit for you. sign a contract when you’re ready not because you are feeling pressured. The Realtor should be able to give you a thoroughly laid out plan for how they are going to sell your home.

  1. Get your documents ready

If you’ve had work done on the home it’s important potential homeowners know and have access to the documents, owner’s manuals, warranties, etc. Though your realtor will go over and remind you to gather all of this information, start gathering it early. Since you’re not looking at those documents on a regular basis you may have filed them away somewhere and they may be in different files. Gather them up and have them at the ready. Put owner’s manuals and warranty paperwork in a centralized space ready to pass along to the new owner.

  1. Have a plan for your pets

Create a plan to keep visitors safe from pets and pets safe from visitors. If you can’t take your pet with you when the home is being shown, board them, take them to doggie day care, have a neighbor or a friend watch them, or, if they are happy in their crate, keep them in locked crates during showings. A note in a conspicuous place or a message from the showing agent explaining whether there are pets on the property and where they are located, is also a great way to avoid misunderstandings. Be aware that people have allergies and phobias. Don’t assume that a gentle, loving pet will remain so in the presence of strangers.

  1. Buy more light bulbs

Go ahead and stock up on light bulbs. As odd as it sounds, you’d be surprised how lighting affects showing the home. It is important buyers can see the space and that all the fixtures work making it incredibly important that all light fixtures have working bulbs. When showing your house to potential buyers, your realtor will turn on all light fixtures. Having extra bulbs on hand will go a long way to avoid hesitation in the mind of a potential buyer.

9. Paint the walls and call a handyman

Like basic cleaning, painting can go a very long way. It not only provides a neutral palette to stage the home, but it can also cover minor imperfections and offer a black slate to potential buyers. Whites, light grays, light beiges, or “greige” wall colors make the home appear bigger, brighter and more welcoming. Along with painters, make sure all the little things are addressed: locks, leaky faucets, running toilets, wonky ceiling fans, squeaky door, malfunctioning garage door, or sticking screen door. Potential buyers want to know the home has been taken care of and, for lack of a better idea, loved as much as they want to love it.

  1. Stage your home

Know that along with all the decluttering, depersonalizing, painting, fixing, and cleaning, think about the staging process. Staging helps potential buyers see themselves and being to create a relationship with the space. Is there a room that’s not clear how it is or can be used? Stage it to provide buyers ideas and clarity. Don’t forget the outside of the home as well. Stand back and take a broad look and spruce up your home’s curb appeal remembering the outside of the home is the first thing potential buyers will see when they pull up for a showing. Cut the grass, have the leaves and other debris cleaned up, plant some flowers, mulch, and like inside the home, declutter and depersonalize. Remove things like yard art and toys and consider a power wash and a fresh coat of paint if necessary.

Sources: Cronic, Lisa, Atlanta Fine Homes/Sotheby’s International Realty, Founding Member, Intown Office, 678.641.4325, lisacronic@atlantafinehomes.com.

“Protect Yourself When Selling a House: Suggestions for the Prospective Seller.” CB10, Protect Yourself When Selling a House. Georgia Association of Realtors®, Inc, 2021.

White, Marian. “Do These 11 Things Before Putting Your Home on the Market.” Moving.com, July 2018, https://www.moving.com/tips/how-to-get-your-house-ready-to-sell/.

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