Prepping your home for sale probably ranks up there with having your teeth pulled or paying a tax bill. But sometimes in life there are painful things you just need to do. And properly prepping a house for “show time” is one of them if you want to maximize your profit.
Whipping a house into shape often takes more sweat equity and less financial investment. It also takes a critical eye and a willingness to reverse roles and consider yourself the buyer instead of the seller. What things would you find appealing and what would be turn-offs?
And where do you start? Just like your home has lots of nooks and crannies, there are lots of areas that probably could use some attention. Here’s a brief checklist to consider:
- Clear out the clutter! From mountains of magazines and newspapers to piles of clothing stuffed away in corners or under beds, clutter is a nasty enemy that needs to be dealt with. Once removed, it frees up space in rooms and presents a more orderly, appealing appearance.
- Flow is the way to go. When you enter a room, does it have a natural flow? Or are there things in the way, such as bulky furniture or pieces in awkward places? This may call for rearranging rooms or removing some furniture to get the “flow mojo” going.
- Show some zeal for curb appeal. Home-selling experts will tell you that if a home doesn’t look attractive on the outside, many prospective buyers won’t even bother stepping inside. So keep the lawn neatly trimmed, pick up the kids’ toys, paint weather-worn porches and railings, and invest in some plantings. Hint: yellow and red flowers have proven to have drawing power.
- Organize! Organize! Organize! Whether it’s a closet or a garage, put things in their place and bring order to any disorder you encounter. Lining up shoes neatly in a row, hanging up clothes instead of shoving them in a corner, cleaning up a messy pantry – you know the drill.
- Put away personal effects. Photos of family and friends, knickknacks collected on vacations, antique toys, collectible plates – these and more need to be out of sight. You need to give the prospective buyer a vision of what a home would look like with their personal touches, not yours.
- A bathroom should be a beauty to behold. That means spotless, from sinks to showers to toilet bowls. Invest in a few crisp new towels and repaint the walls if necessary. And make sure the room is free of mold and mildew smells. Lightly scented candles can add a nice touch. And always, always, put down the toilet lid before a showing!
- The nose knows – when it comes to an unappealing smell, that is. Just like you want to keep your bathroom free of unwanted odors, so goes for the rest of the house. That means not whipping up your favorite garlic-laced dish right before a showing, or letting stinky sneakers sit in a closet. On the flip side, the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through a home can often work wonders.
Once you feel you have your house in order and you can take constructive criticism, invite a friend or neighbor to your home to conduct an inspection. If they find your home is show-worthy, you should be good to go!