Planning to sell your house this year? Here’s some pre-listing prep you can do yourself.
Set aside a couple of weekends to do the work, and follow these three steps. Then, get ready to make a great impression on potential buyers and cinch the deal.
Step 1: Clean and declutter
It may sound obvious, but the importance of cleaning and decluttering cannot be overstated. Here are some ideas to make this process nearly painless.
- Eliminate clutter before cleaning: This is the time to purge your house of unwanted and unnecessary items. Gather items to donate to charity or neighborhood “buy nothing” groups. Your local recycling company or municipality may be willing to pick up and haul away large metal items for free or provide drop-off spots to dispose of such items.
- Deep-clean your house: This step will probably involve the biggest time investment. Get the whole family involved if you can! Think of this as a pumped-up spring cleaning. Pay special attention to kitchens and bathrooms, and clean the inside and outside of your windows — this makes a striking improvement in the overall appearance of your house.
- Organize closets, cabinets and drawers: In this case, out of sight is not out of mind. Many potential buyers will want to see the interiors of cabinets and closets to assess the amount of storage space, and these are often the most cluttered areas in your home.
Step 2: Make small repairs
Take care of these problems before you take listing photos or get ready to do showings, either through in-person or video tours. These are all fixes that you can do yourself.
- Fix any leaking faucets and running toilets.
- Replace caulking around tubs, showers and sinks.
- Freshen up or repair grout as needed.
- Repair walls and repaint them in a neutral, generally pleasing color that complements your home.
- Fix cracked or broken windows.
- Replace or repair damaged window screens.
- Replace burned-out lightbulbs.
Step 3: Go for curb appeal
You want potential buyers to be charmed by the outside of your house so they look forward to seeing the inside. Extend your pumped-up spring cleaning to the outside of your house too.
- Trim bushes, shrubs and trees. Make sure vegetation isn’t touching your roof or siding.
- Repair broken downspouts and gutters.
- If it’s appropriate for your yard, apply new mulch, river rock and/or pea gravel. This can do wonders for your landscaping and provide immediate curb appeal.
- Clean and repair concrete areas, such as driveways and walkways. Eliminate any oil or grease stains, and clean out any weeds coming up through the cracks.
- If it’s seasonally appropriate, put out some pots of annuals, which will maintain their color for the season. Freshen up your doorstep with a new welcome mat and make sure the house numbers are easy to see.
With just a moderate amount of effort, you can make your house beautiful and welcoming, both inside and out.