tips for selling your home

50+ Home Selling Tips

Suggestions and ideas compiled from industry experts, to improve your home’s appearance and help you prepare to sell faster!

Even in a “Sellers’ Market,” where fast isn’t the issue, and multiple offers are likely, following these home selling tips will add efficiency and eliminate headaches on the seller’s side.

To make the home selling process easier, we are sharing a 4-step process to get you from decision to on the market. The condition of your home greatly affects not only the price you want to ask, but also how your home is perceived. A home that is “move-in- ready” will almost always sell faster, and for a higher price than a home that has “projects”.

STEP 1: Suggestions to Make Repairs & Spruce Up

Remember time = money. Take advantage of the professionals that can assist you to get your home ready QUICKLY for the sales market and gain top dollar sales price. Between professional cleaning services and contractors, let your agent know if you need a recommendation.  Many reputable home services vendors are booked weeks in advance so don’t hesitate to get on their schedules. 
Keep in mind that even though you think you may be saving money by handling repairs yourself you can risk injury, damage to your home or just slowing down the process.   Do not hesitate to hire a professional that is licensed and handles your particular need every day.   

Inside your home

1. Clean the carpets – if they don’t clean well, consider replacing them.
2. Repair/putty over and paint any nail holes/pops or other mishaps in the walls.
3. Paint all interior walls a neutral color to brighten the home and make it look bigger.
4. Repair or replace any loose or damaged wallpaper.
5. Clean all light bulbs and light fixtures to brighten the home. If necessary, replace any outdated light fixtures.
6. Wash all windows inside and out. If you have windows with blown seals (they look foggy), consider replacing them.
7. Remove and/or hide excess extension cords and exposed wires.
8. Repair or replace any electrical switches/sockets that do not work.
9. Repair ro replace missing or wobbly banisters and handrails.
10. Re-caulk the tub/shower if the caulk is not sparkling white or has separated/fallen out.
11. Repair or replace broken tiles in the shower/tub.

Outside Your Home

12. Paint all entrance doors.
13. Make sure the garage door opens easily. Fix and paint the garage door if necessary.
14. Clean and shine all hardware and accessories (door knobs, knockers, lamps, mail box, address numbers, etc.).
15. Get a new doormat.
16. Be sure the front doorbell is in good working order.
17. Be sure the front door and screen door work perfectly (no squeaks and keys work easily).
18. Clean the gutters and make sure they are in good working order.
19. Replace any missing or cracked shingles.
20. Make sure paint and/or stain is in good condition. Consider repainting/staining if blistering or faded.
21. Make sure the driveway is in good condition. Repair/reseal/patch any holes or old surfaces.
22. Replace any burnt out bulbs in exterior light fixtures.

If you’ve addressed Step 1, your home should now be in good working order. If you haven’t already, you should begin interviewing Realtors and moving into the next crucial step – decluttering and packing. Over time, “stuff” piles up and things that were once useful have now lost their luster.

STEP 2: Declutter and Begin Packing

23. Donate all items that you no longer want but that might be useful to others – lightly used clothing, dishware, appliances that still work, toys that are in good shape, furniture you no longer need, ect. Basically, if you don’t think you can sell it quickly or for substantial money, it’s best to donate it and get it out of your home quickly.
24. Advertise and hold a yard sale for items you wish to sell. Consider donating items that don’t sell or putting them on websites such as Crag’s List.
25. Consider selling larger, unique or collection items you no longer want through a local consignment store, an auction, or an online market such as Craig’s list. Like your home, pricing them realistically will help move them quicker.
26. Pack any off-season clothing or items you intend to keep but won’t need to use while your home is listed. Consider off-site storage if needed.
27. Clean out all the closets to demonstrate the most efficient use of space, in particular, make the floors as clear as possible to make them look bigger.
28. Declutter every room – pack up knick-knack collections, thin out items on shelves, organize toys, etc.
29. Pack up family photos.
30. Sort through kitchen cabinets and your pantry to remove items that are no longer useful or expired. Keep in mind, potential buyers will look in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets!
31. Improve traffic flow through every room by removing unnecessary furniture or rearranging to make the rooms feel as spacious as possible.
32. Consider repurposing rooms the way they were intended. For example, if you’ve made your dining room into a kid’s playroom, add a dining room set and minimize/remove the toys. If you’ve turned a bedroom into a home office, add a bed and minimize the office space. Many buyers can’t see past your repurposing, so show them the dining room, all the bedrooms and any other space/room that adds value.
33. Pack up or store just about EVERYTHING on your kitchen and bathroom counters.
34. Remove, reduce, or store toiletries used in the shower or bathtub.
35. Organize the garage – hand and yard tools, lawn mowers, etc. Check with your town or municipality to find out how to dispose of toxic things such as old paint, motor oil, batteries or other solvents.
36. Declutter and organize any lawn or deck furniture.
37. Dispose of all trash and recyclables.
38. Basements/Attics should be organized and cleaned as much as possible. Remove or dispose of any items that will not be moved with you, pack other items neatly in boxes.

Now that you’ve got the repairs done and cleaned out and decluttered your home, it’s time to give it some “wow factor”. This can be as simple as getting some new bathroom towels to bringing in staging furniture or decor for vacant rooms or properties. The goal at this point is to make your home look clean and fresh.

STEP 3: Consider How to Decorate and Stage

39. If you have a fireplace, highlight it in your decorating. Create a 3 piece vignette on the mantle and add some fresh logs/wood if it is wood burning.
40. Create the feeling of a spacious entry area by using decorative accents and removing unnecessary furniture.
41. Use plants/trees in transitional areas of your house.
42. Create a master suite effect in your decorating. To achieve this, consider getting a new comforter and pillow shams with coordinating towels for the en suite bathroom.
43. Depersonalize bedrooms and decorate in a neutral scheme.
44. Replace shower curtains and keep them clean.
45. Put out new/fresh towels and decorative soaps. While your home is listed, do not use these items. For Open House or showings, put away your daily towels and put out the “show” towels and soaps.
46. Plant some colorful flowers around the front of the house in pots near the front door.
47. Evaluate your curb appeal. Is the vegetation overgrown, are there dead flowers/plants, does the mailbox need painting? Be honest and correct or improve what needs fixing. If it doesn’t look inviting and well maintained, it will be hard to get potential buyers even in the front door.
48. If you don’t have pillows on your family room or living room furniture, consider getting some for an added “punch” of color.
49. Now that you have cleaned off your kitchen counters, add back a couple of decorative items that add some color and interest. For example, if your kitchen has white cabinets, add items that are a bright color, such as red, bright blue or green. The goal here is to break up your kitchen coordination between the cabinets, countertops, appliances and backsplash with something of interest. Don’t get carried away however – less is more.

At this point, your house is listed for sale. Trying to be flexible for the showings and balancing a normal family life is often difficult. Discuss the situation so that each family member knows what they need to do each day to prepare their space for unexpected visits. Come up with a game plan for the mornings so everything is ready to go before everyone leaves.

STEP 4: Remember to Maintain During Stagings

50. Beds should be made each morning and bedrooms neatened. Toys organized or stored, desks organized, closets uncluttered, dirty clothes put away, etc.
51. Used bathroom towels and toiletries should be stored and the “show” towels and soaps put out. Don’t’ forget to wipe down the counters and keep the toilets clean.
52. Load the dishwasher or wash dishes from the last meal. There should never be dirty dishes or cookware left in the sink or on the stove. Don’t forget to wipe down the counters.
53. Remove any trash from the kitchen and bathrooms – especially if it smells!
54. If you have cats, clean the litter each morning, or more often, to help keep smells minimized.
55. If you smoke, PLEASE consider smoking outside during this phase of the selling process. Many buyers find the smell objectionable and it isn’t an easy smell to mask or get rid of quickly.
56. Open the draperies/blinds and let the sunlight in.
57. Create a positive mood. Turn on all the lights, day or night, and install higher wattage light bulbs to show your home brightly.
58. Keep your home dusted and vacuumed at all times.
59. Air out your home for one-half hour before showings, if possible.
60. Lightly spray the house with air freshener so that it has a chance to diffuse before the buyer arrives. The best fragrances are lavender or vanilla. One alternative is to microwave a small amount of vanilla and then put the plate/glass in an out of the way spot.
61. Highlight an eat-in area (i.e. breakfast bar) by adding some table settings.
62. Open doors to areas you want potential buyers to see such as walk-in closets, pantries, attics, etc.
63. Don’t forget about Fido! Consider doggie daycare or crating each morning. Dogs rarely act the way owners think they will act when strangers enter their home – yes, it’s their home too and unannounced visitors can be extremely stressful for them. Another alternative is to see if a neighbor can temporarily remove the pet during showings.
64. Keep the lawn mowed weekly and sweep/blow off any decks or walkways.

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