It takes a lot of work to prepare your house for the market, no matter what state it’s in (ok, so maybe more work for some than others), but listen to what your agent recommends and do as much of what they say as possible. Here are some things that are typically recommended (could be more or less based on what your house looks like):
- De-clutter: There are very few people who live in a house that doesn’t need to be de-cluttered before putting it on the market. The easiest solution here is to start packing things up that you don’t use regularly and can get away with not having for a couple of months. It’s also not a bad opportunity to get rid of things, which will make your move a little easier too.
- Staging: There are so many different options with staging, it doesn’t mean that your agent hates everything you own and wants you to pay to rent an entire house of furniture; staging companies do anything from helping with de-cluttering and re-arranging your existing furniture (with the goal of pointing out the full potential of each room), to providing full furnishings for a vacant house. A lot of times, all it takes is an initial consultation and evaluation to get all the recommendations you need (something that I, for one, include when I take on a listing).
- Paint: If you have bold, dark colors or walls that look 10 years lived in, it’s typically a good idea to freshen up the paint before putting your house up for sale.
- Curb Appeal: So many people forget about this, but it’s important to remember that the first impression buyers have of your house is what they see from the outside. You want to make sure it’s not only attractive, but that it’s well kept which will show you take care of your house.
- Smells: If you’re an inside smoker or have pets, make sure you listen to the opinion of others – don’t be in denial about things that could be stinking up your place. Buyers have VERY sensitive noses and question everything; they also have very imaginative thoughts regarding where the smells are coming from, so it’s best to take care of it before anyone comes through.
- Unfinished Business: There might be a project you’ve had lingering for months or years, something you just haven’t gotten around to fixing. Make sure you take care of all of this – the last thing you want is buyers to assume is that you don’t take care of your house. Pre-listing inspections are also a thing, and they’re never a bad idea. You can fix things ahead of time, and be aware of what potential buyers might be asking for when the time comes.
One of the biggest components of selling your house is great marketing. Your agent is responsible for marketing your house and typically there are a number of methods used (professional photos, videos/virtual tours, websites, social media, etc. – more on this in a future post). Agents are responsible for not only footing the bill, but deciding what marketing approach to use. Most of us have a documented process based on our past experiences and what we’ve found to be most effective. It’s so important to listen to your agent and follow their recommendations as much as possible, so that the marketing doesn’t go to waste. When marketing a property, professional photos are not nearly as useful if the space they’re capturing isn’t at it’s absolute best.