getting a house ready to sell

Moving on in an organized way

Selling a house these days is not as easy as it has been in the past.  Sellers need to pay more attention to enhancing the appeal of their homes as today’s buyers are picky and there is lots of inventory for them to choose from.  Here are some tried and true tips for preparing your house for going on the market.

Price it right.  Have your house appraised by a real estate agent and listen to what they have to say.  Prices have fluctuated in the past few years so what you think it is worth might no longer be true.  The best strategy in a competitive market is to be realistic about price so you get lots of traffic and if you are lucky, a bidding war.

Get rid of at least 50% of your ‘stuff’.  Closets should be only half-filled, not crammed with stuff as they most likely are. Every buyer wants storage and if it looks like you don’t have enough because things are falling on them whenever they open a closet door they will not like the house.  Make sure your drawers and closets are tidy and organized.  Buyers look into everything and nothing is off limits.

Clean every inch of your house.  Now that you’ve cleaned out the excess clutter, thoroughly clean your house top to bottom. Clean your ovens, wipe off the blades of the ceiling fans and polish your faucets.  No detail is too small! Hire a cleaning service if it’s too much for you to tackle.  Every surface should sparkle and the house should smell clean.

Get rid of excess or oversized furniture.  Your rooms should be furnished minimally and the furniture should be to scale.  Anything oversized or extra should be put in storage.  Rooms crammed with furniture feel cluttered and small even if they are not.

Maximize the light in your house.  Clean your windows and take down heavy drapes and dark lampshades.  Put soft but brighter bulbs into your light fixtures and trim hedges outside that might be blocking sunlight from getting in.  Do whatever it takes to make your house look bright and cheerful.

Keep your beloved pets in one area or better yet, get them out of the house.  You think your dog is very friendly but not everyone wants a dog jumping on them, and some people are afraid or allergic.  Make sure your dog or cat’s food doesn’t smell, and there’s no kitty litter odor.  Furniture should be free of pet hair, and half chewed pet toys put away.

Quick fixes are great – think twice before a major renovation.  Fresh coats of paint, new curtains, improved door and cabinet knobs, new kitchen counter tops, fresh neutral slipcovers and leaky plumbing repairs are all things that can make an immediate difference.  Completely renovating your kitchen and bathrooms should be done only on the advice of your real estate agent and/or home stager because you might not get your money out.

Depersonalize your house. This is difficult to do, but buyers want to be able to see themselves living there, not you.  Remove the family photos, mementos, collections and memorabilia and put it all in storage or store with a friend.

The first impression is the exterior.  Make sure the outside of your house looks as well kept as the inside.  Plant flowers, weed, trim your shrubs, repair the driveway and clean up the entryway. Put away all garden tools and hoses.  Wash your front door and buy a new doormat.

Don’t forget the garage.  Your garage should house your cars and that’s about it.  Buyers want to see extra storage opportunities not your garage crammed with stuff.  Put in a good overhead light and clean the floor.

Your attic should be organized and clean. Buyers are buying your attic as well, so clean it out, organize what’s left and consider giving the walls a fresh coat of paint.

Go digital.  This is your opportunity to download all those loose photographs in shoe boxes onto your computer, and throw away the old Beta or VHS home movies after you download them onto discs.  Take photos of your kids’ favorite paintings, drawings and other art projects and put them into a digital photo book to remember them always. Invest $50.00 in a Roku or Apple TV to stream movies and TV shows directly to your TV and donate all your movie DVDs.

Don’t be discouraged, but give yourself plenty of time.  It might take up to a year to complete all these projects.  If your house sale is because of a job transfer and you don’t have much time, consider hiring professionals to help you.

Channel your inner Marie Kondo (see ASE articles) Kondomania


Marie Kondo’s new book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

Have you used some of Marie’s tips?

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