Many sellers feel like they have to complete a long and tedious “to do” list before they can sell their home. This is simply not true! Often the tasks sellers deem as priority before listing aren’t items that are even going to be on the buyer’s radar. Based on my experience as a real estate agent, I have compiled my list of the top 10 steps for prepping your home to help ease stress for sellers.
1. Make the outside visually appealing
Curb appeal is so important! Yard freshly manicured, new bright and colorful plants, pressure washed walkway. Make small exterior repairs that are visually noticeable. Roof and gutters should be addressed at this time. A new doormat to welcome the prospective buyer is a nice quick simple fix.
2. Clean it up
A clean, odor free home allows buyers to focus on the layout instead of trying to guess the last time it’s been properly cleaned. You never want them to play the game, “What’s that smell?” If you have pets be sure to keep their bedding freshly cleaned and pet hair to a minimum. Tidy each room and organize cabinets. If it seems like too much to take on, hire a cleaning company to take care of it for you.
It’s hard for buyer’s to visualize themselves in your home if the rooms are full of personal items, including photos and general clutter. The goal is to sell and move, start packing up the items you don’t need on a daily basis. Aim for one focal point per room.
4. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way
A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive option to brighten up a room or cover unconventional colors. Neutral colors are most attractive to the average buyer. Don’t forget to pay attention to the trim and baseboards!
5. Make the small repairs
Replace all broken light bulbs. Repair or replace broken or dated hardware and light fixtures. A small refresh of hardware and lighting makes a big impact.
Remove all items off the fridge, including random magnets and artwork. Pack away the family photos and vacation memorabilia. Keep toys tucked away prior to showings. Less is more.
7. Maximize outdoor living space
The Pacific Northwest is famous for it’s amazing summer weather. Clean up your garden beds and make sure your fence and deck are repaired. Give them a good scrub and a fresh coat of stain if needed. Outdoor furniture and fun lighting set the stage for potential buyers!
8. Stage rooms to show how they are supposed to be used
Perhaps you use your dining room for an office or you have an odd shaped space that is used for storage. Stage these spaces to show how they should be used. Turn that office back into a dining area and clear out the storage and stage it something appropriate for the space. Less guesswork = a more productive showing.
9. Make your windows sparkle
Clean the interior and exterior of your windows. Tracks should be free of debris and accumulated bugs. Blinds should be free of dust. Plan on having curtains and blinds open at all times while on the market to showcase the natural light and enhance the size of the room.
10. Create a list of recent upgrades and features
A buyer is only in your home for a short period of time. Providing them with a list of upgrades and features can bring them back to the focal points of your home long after they’re gone.
Nicole Blondin is a real estate broker with RE/MAX Town Center in the Pacific Northwest. She specializes in helping buyers and sellers throughout Snohomish and King Counties. Contact Nicole Blondin if you're interested in buying or selling a home in the Puget Sound area.