Hi, Friends! I’ve had this post on my mind for quite some time. My sister recently told me she was thinking of putting her house on the market later this year, so I was giving her a few tips and I’d thought I’d share them with you too! Tips on how to sell your house quickly!
My husband and I have sold 6 houses during the course of our nearly 35 years of marriage. I’d like to think we’ve learned a thing or two! Thankfully, our houses always sold in less than two weeks with the exception of one, which took two months. Here are a few tips and things we’ve learned along the way.
1-The minute you decide to put your house on the market, begin immediately! First, purge, purge, purge. You will thank yourself on the other end! My husband and I cleaned out our closets and donated 4 huge bags full of clothes and shoes. We got rid of out-of-date clothes, ones that didn’t fit anymore or ones we haven’t worn in ages. Not only will donating these items help someone else, the new space in your closet will make it appear your home has all kinds of storage, which buyers love.
2-Have your carpets professionally cleaned. The carpet in our last house was 15 years old and had seen lots of wear and tear between two boys and two large hairy dogs. Trust me, they have come a long way in carpet cleaning. Some spots that I didn’t think could be helped, came out! After the carpet was cleaned we instated a no-shoes policy to help keep the carpets looking fresh while the house was on the market. At the same time, inspect the rest of your flooring. Repair any tile, caulk or scratches on hard wood floors. If you can’t have your carpets professionally cleaned, consider renting a carpet cleaner and doing it yourself.
3-Have your house professionally cleaned, if possible. If not, give the house a top to bottom cleaning yourself. Take a magic eraser to walls, doors and baseboards. Dust light bulbs, fans, light fixtures and replace burned out bulbs. Wash windows, mirrors, and dust the blinds. Perception is everything. If buyers see a neat and clean house, they will assume it has been well maintained. Especially in an older home.
4-Clean out every drawer, closet, pantry, cabinet, and even the refrigerator. Buyers will look everywhere. If the task seems daunting, just tackle one drawer or section of a closet each day. Make a list of things you need to do and check them off as they are completed. Put like things together and get rid of things you don’t use. The more you can do before you put your house on the market, the better. You want potential buyers to see your house in the best possible light and to outshine the competition.
5-Paint! Give your front door a fresh coat of paint. Make sure there are no cracks in the paint or caulk around the door. Make any repairs and paint this area, too. This is the first thing potential buyers see as they wait for their realtor to open the door. While you are at it, make sure the porch is neat and clean. Pressure wash the front sidewalk and porch. If you have room, put a planter or two filled with seasonal flowers or ferns for an added welcoming touch.
Don’t forget about the hardware on the front door, either! At our last house, not only did I paint our front door, I gave the oversized lion door knocker a fresh coat of gold paint so it would match the hardware and kick plate. Be sure to paint your mailbox and freshen up exterior lights, too. Even if your house is 15 years old, it doesn’t need to look like it!
6-Inside, fresh paint goes a long way and so do neutral colors. As soon as you know you are selling your house, start right away! Patch any holes in your walls and start painting. In our last house, I painted every bedroom upstairs using neutral colors. My favorite was a paint by Sherwin-Williams called Accessible Beige. (SW-7036) It’s light, airy and can go with beige and gray tones. Paint can be expensive so be sure to check out the “boo-boo” sectional of your local Lowe’s, Home Depot and Ace Hardware. (That’s where someone had a gallon of paint mixed and the color wasn’t exact so they returned it or didn’t buy it.) Often you can score a perfectly good gallon of paint for just a few dollars. Choose light and neutral colors and have them mix it before you take it home.
7-Stage each room like you are seeing it from someone else’s perspective. Staging is de-personalizing a space. Take away the clutter. While you can leave a few personal items, take away most of the family photos, memorabilia, pictures, etc. Our last neighborhood was very child friendly and literally right down the street from the elementary, middle and high schools. We knew our target audience probably had children or grandchildren. For our son’s rooms, I tried to appeal to either sex. In one room I added two identical twin beds. Simple (and inexpensive) white, Ikea curtains are neutral and easy to work with.
In all of the other rooms, I used neutral paint colors, white bedding and curtains.
8-Experts say the kitchen and master suite are the biggest selling features in homes, old and new. Because our former kitchen was 15 years old, it had the original dark cherry cabinetry and the black granite. If possible, replace your old appliances with new. We replaced some of our appliances out of necessity, but instead of updating with stainless steel appliances(which would have been more costly), I opted for black appliances with stainless handles. This way the new appliances still matched the old black ones, while giving the kitchen an updated vibe. (Be sure to clear your refrigerator of magnets and photos.)
We replaced the old and worn black cooktop with a sleeker, stainless steel version and replaced the faucet.
Try to keep the kitchen countertops and table free of clutter and excess. Fresh flowers on the table is always a good idea when staging a house.
To update the master suite, we painted the room a lighter shade and used all white bedding to create a hotel-like setting.
We remodeled the master bathroom a few years ago, most of which we did ourselves. As we remodeled, we knew resell was in our future, so we consciously chose finishes and materials that would most likely appeal to everyone.
If you can’t remodel or it’s not in your budget, consider a fresh coat of paint on the vanity and walls and maybe add an updated medicine cabinet or mirror. De-clutter the countertops and add some fresh flowers. Updating light fixtures can also help.
Polish the fixtures and give all bathrooms a deep clean. Be sure to clean the grout.
Add white fluffy towels and accessories to create a spa-like feel.
9-Be sure to replace any light fixtures or mirrors you don’t plan to include in the sale of the house. Even if you put in the contract something is not conveyed, sometimes when a buyer likes what they see, they may think it is still negotiable. So, if you have your grandmother’s mirror hanging in your powder room or a favorite chandelier, take it down before the house goes on the market. And trust me, it can become a big deal. So, here’s a tip. If you plan on taking your dining room chandelier with you, find a suitable replacement via Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or even a Habitat Restore and have it installed prior to listing your home. These all are a great resource for finding suitable fixtures at reasonable prices.
10-Go over every inch of your house inside and out and try to guess what issues may come up during an inspection. An inspector’s job is to find every tiny detail that is amiss, and report it. Is there an old water stain on the ceiling? If so, repair the leak and paint over the stain. If an inspector sees an old stain, he will assume there is still a problem. The same goes for caulking the bathrooms, windows, doors and trim. Inspectors will find the smallest of things, and before you know it, there are 40 pages worth of repairs, which can affect your sales price. Even a slow drain can be an item for repair. So, try to beat them to the punch. Make as many repairs you are aware of before the inspection. If an inspector sees a well maintained house, he will assume it is too.
- If you have an older home, offer a home warranty to cover any unforeseen repairs. This will usually placate buyers who are concerned about an old water heater or furnace. We offered a warranty for $600 on our last house at closing.
- Donate extra furniture, clothes and yard tools to your local Goodwill or Habitat Stores. Often they will come pick them up for you. Evaluate which pieces of furniture you will use in your next house and try to sell, or donate what you no longer need. Some moving companies charge by the pound so you don’t want to transport unnecessary weight.
- Negotiate realtor fees if possible. You can save a ton of money. We negotiated a total commission rate of 3.75% last time we sold our house. The buyer’s realtor got a 2% rate and our agent got 1.75%. Some realtors may grumble about this, but if they want your business, they will work with you. If not, keep looking. (Rules may differ from state to state, so check it out beforehand.) Our house sold in less than a week so that’s not a bad commission for a week’s work.
- If you have extra things you wish to get rid of prior to a move, list them for free on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. When we cleaned out our garage and attic we had tons of scrap wood, paint and things we no longer needed. We posted a picture and listed the items as free and put them in our driveway one weekend. I was amazed at things people wanted, like scrap wood! Whatever was left either went to Goodwill or the dump.
- Make sure your yard has curb appeal; meaning, make sure your lawn is freshly cut and the beds are neat, weeded and trimmed. Add a layer of fresh mulch and flowers.
- Use current photos of your house for the listing. Most realtors today have personal stagers and photographers to help show your home in the most favorable light.
- Put fresh flowers inside the house. Grocery stores and Trader Joe’s always have beautiful flowers regardless of the time of year.
- Leave all overhead lights and lamps on when showing the house and leave the blinds open, making the house seem light and bright, even in the winter.
- If you have pets, take them with you during a showing and pick up their toys and mess. Some people don’t have or like pets and no one likes pet smells. Clean up any odors as much as possible.
- Keep the house “show” ready at all times. Keep the beds made and house picked up. Try not to cook anything with a strong smell if you know you have a showing or open house. Also, you can light a mild scented candle before the showing, but don’t use a lot of plug-ins. Buyers will wonder what you are trying to hide.
- If you are selling any furniture or personal effects to the buyers, make sure you get a certified check, in full, at closing. Don’t accept an offer to mail it you later.
- Make sure your sales price is competitive and realistic. Do your homework regarding comparable homes in your area and discuss it with your trusted real estate professional. Leave a little wiggle room for negotiations. And your realtor will always tell you, “The first offer is usually the best.” (which can be taken with a grain of salt.)
I’m sure there are many other things to think of and do before putting your house on the market. But these are things we have consistently done in the past and with great results! My advise is start getting your house ready to put on the market as far in advance as possible. It takes a lot of time and effort, and in some cases money. If you start early, you can spread the work and expenses over a period of time. You can even try to sell your home yourself! Online sites such as Zillow can be a great resource. Also, there are some companies that will charge a small, nominal fee to put your house on the MLS listing which realtors use, while you try to sell your house yourself. There are lots of ways to make selling your home quicker and easier. Just be prepared and start early! Good luck! Best, Dell https://www.dellsdailydish.com