Now that you have decided to sell your house and search for your dream home, it's time to take the next steps to prepare for both transactions. According to the Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report, in 2018, "synchronous sellers" – people who have sold a home and bought a home within the past 12 months – made up 61 percent of all sellers. It can be tough trying to attract and accommodate buyers while also persuading sellers, but it's a rather common situation in the real estate market and one that your agent can help you through smoothly. But before we get to the schmoozing, here are some steps you can take to get your home ready to be sold.
The first step to preparing your home for sale is fixing those small annoyances that you've been living with, but that could potentially deter a buyer. Buyers might see a leaky faucet as underlying plumbing problems, drafty windows as insulation issues and loose cabinets as poor craftsmanship. All of these mean extra dollars for buyers and it could potentially turn them away from your home. Inventory every room of the house and fix all of these minor inconveniences or call a handyman to do it for you.
Next, it's time to depersonalize your home. This is not only for the buyer's benefit, but it's for yours as well. Taking away personal items, like family photos and passed-down heirlooms, helps your house feel less like your home. Moving is never easy, you have memories and personal ties to your house, so distancing yourself from the intimate aspects helps make selling it and moving on a little easier.
For buyers, it's sometimes hard for them to imagine their own family living there when they are constantly reminded of you and your family. You want buyers to be able to picture their own family in the home, hanging out in the living room and making memories. This connection is important for buyers to make if you want them to put an offer on your house.
Now you are ready for the sprucing up phase. Begin by decluttering your home of odds and ends. Consider renting a storage unit to store items you don't need to be readily available. This helps free up normal storage space to organize and store everyday items. Besides, buyers are nosey and they will open up closet doors and cabinet – so make sure when they do, nothing will fall out at them. While you are putting things away, make sure you remove what you are not willing to include as part of the sale. Some examples could be curtains, rugs and small appliances.
Once you are done decluttering your house, you can move on to the deep cleaning portion. Rent a carpet cleaner or hire a company to come and thoroughly clean the carpets throughout your entire home. This not only removes unsightly stains, it also gets rid of set-in bacteria and dirt that cause odors. Dirty carpets are a huge concern for buyers because they want the feeling of a fresh new home even though they are buying a pre-owned one. It also will cost them extra money to replace the carpets and that can turn them away from the sale. Clean your house from top to bottom, moving large appliances to clean underneath and behind them. As stated earlier, buyers are nosey and will check every nook and cranny in your home to make sure there is no hidden underlying problem.
After you are finished with the deep cleaning, complete a few small projects to update the look of your home. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do for its appearance. If any room in the house, especially a kid's room, is painted a bright, unusual color, consider changing it to a calmer, neutral color. Also, assess small fixtures, like light switch plates, cabinet handles and door knobs, and update them if you feel it is necessary. Switch out shiny brass fixtures for more modern ones in a brushed bronze or nickel. These small fixes can update the overall look of your home, appealing to a broader range of buyers.
Lastly, evaluate your curb appeal and improve where needed. It doesn't have to be extensive, just a light freshening up. Add a new, crisp layer of mulch around flower beds, trim trees/bushes and remove debris from the yard. If necessary, contract a professional to come and power wash the outside of your house to remove years of dirt and grime from its exterior. Take extra steps to keep the outside of your home looking nice throughout its duration on the market. Most buyers are looking for yards that don't require a lot of maintenance so give them that impression by keeping up with it. Mow the lawn regularly, water the flowers and add a few seasonal decorations throughout the property. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so do what you can to appeal to buyers the moment they see your home.