You’ve made the decision — you're moving, which means selling you're selling your home. Exciting times! Though when the initial thrill fizzles out, you may wonder, “What now?” It’s not as easy as slapping a “For Sale” sign on your lawn and hoping for the best. But don’t worry, that’s why you’ve got us. We created this foolproof guide to help take the mystery (and misery) out of getting your home ready to sell.
Step 1: Do Your Research
To Use a Realtor or Not to Use a Realtor
Are you a master at tackling tasks? If so, the “For Sale by Owner” route may be for you. There will likely be a learning curve— selling a home is a multi-step process — but many people find it’s worth the time and effort to save on realtor fees.
If the idea of embarking on the home-selling journey without a guide makes you break out in a cold sweat, though, as it does most of us, hire a realtor. Ask around to find a good one. Research their social media presence and online reviews. Have a meeting to see if they’re the right fit, and grill them on a plan and timeline. The more you know up front, the less likely you are to encounter problems down the road.
Know What Your Home Is Worth
Finding out how much you’ll be able to get for your home is essential. A realtor can walk you through this, but you can also figure this out on your own. You can compare your home to others that have recently sold in your area. There are also tons of online tools that will give you an estimate of your home’s value, like Zillow, Redfin, and RE/MAX. Once you know what your home is worth, decide on a selling price and check that item off the to-do list.
Step 2: Get Ready for the Showing
Let the Decluttering Begin
We all know the saying, “You only get one shot at a first impression.” You’re going to be showing off your house to a lot of people, so make it as appealing and clutter-free as possible.
Take down picture frames and knick knacks, put away that questionable lamp your mother-in-law got you, and tidy up those piles of toys.
If you need more space to store things than your home affords, a portable container is a great solution (if we do say so ourselves). You can have one delivered to your property and keep it there for as long as you need, so you can move things in and out of it without having to run back and forth to an off-site storage space. You can also have your container stored in a secure storage facility when your home is ready to be shown to prospective buyers – which most realtors recommend. As a bonus, you can have your container delivered to your new home once you’re ready to move in.
Create a Blank Slate
Once you’ve decluttered, look around. Are there still family pictures in the hallways or postcards from your friends’ vacations on the fridge? Buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home, so try not to leave too many personal touches in plain view. If your walls are bright and bold, consider repainting them with neutral tones to give new homeowners a fresh start.
Clean, Clean, Clean
When prospective buyers come knocking, you want your house to look spotless from baseboards to ceilings. Get ready to clean like you’ve never cleaned before. Here are a few hacks from our bag of tricks:
- Use an old pillowcase to clean your ceiling fan. Slip each fan blade into the pillowcase, and the dust will fall inside of it instead of on your floor or furniture (or in your face — yuck!).
- Put an old sock on your hand, spritz it with water, and clean your blinds by gripping each panel and moving your hand from side to side.
- Use a lint roller to dust lampshades, mantels, and shelves.
- Wipe down baseboards with dryer sheets to remove dust and dirt.
- Have marks on the walls? Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are powerhouses that can remove blemishes from hard-to-clean surfaces.
Don’t have time to clean? Hire a cleaning service. Check out TaskRabbit if you need a few extra hands. This app lets you outsource any chore, whether it’s patching walls, tidying up the house, or helping you move. If your home is in need of a deep-clean, give Merry Maids a call. These background-checked professionals will come to your house and scrub it down from top to bottom.
Finally, watch out for smells. It’s easy to become nose-blind to odors in your own living space. Open your windows and run an essential-oil diffuser to air out your home and give it that inviting, easy-to-move-into kind of scent.
Bring Nature Indoors
Adding house plants, flowers, or fresh fruit as decor can bring a welcoming energy into your home. These natural decorative pieces will make empty corners look more vibrant or even direct a buyer’s attention to a certain feature you want them to notice, like a gorgeous mantle or spacious bathroom.
Here are some of the best bits of nature to give your home a welcoming vibe:
- Peace Lilies: These flowers are beautiful and low-maintenance, and they can reduce the level of toxins in the air.
- Succulents: They’re inexpensive, easy to care for, and add a pop of life wherever they’re placed.
- Fresh flowers: These can be costly, but you can lower the price by loading up on greenery, like Baby’s Breath, Eucalyptus, and Poms, along with a few statement flowers.
- Bowl of fruit: No time to buy plants or flowers? No problem. Just place a few bowls of fruit around the house. Not only will fruit add great color to any room, but it also won’t go to waste because — score! — you can eat it!
Think Outside the House
So the inside of the house is good to go. But what about the outside? A potential buyer’s perception of your home starts as soon as they enter the neighborhood. Good landscaping can drastically change how your house looks and feels, and it can also save you up to 25 percent on your energy bills. A beautiful home combined with energy-saving benefits could be a key selling point to potential buyers.
Step 3: Stay Organized
Technology to the Rescue
Even the most task-oriented folks among us need a little help when tackling something as massive as selling a house. But fear not! There’s an app for that.
- Todoist: This popular app (over 10 million users!) allows you to easily prioritize your tasks and keep them organized so you can keep moving forward without feeling like you’re spiraling out of control.
- Houzz: This app lets you virtually upgrade and redesign your home.
- OfferUp: This app lets you sell things locally, which can be a great way to declutter your home and make some cash at the same time.
Step 4: Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Getting your home ready to sell can be stressful. It’s important to stay organized, get excited about the future, and remember why you decided to move. Remind yourself of the exciting chapter ahead! And don’t be shy about taking time to relax and enjoy your newly cleaned, clutter-free home. After all, it’s still yours for a little while longer. Good luck!