Home Home Improvement 9 Things to Do Before Selling a Home

9 Things to Do Before Selling a Home

by Eric Rothman
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Who doesn’t want to get top dollar when selling a home? The better the inside of your house looks, the more money you’ll be able to command. Here are nine tips to follow:

1. See your home for the first time

It isn’t easy to view your home with fresh eyes, but it’s an important part of getting your home ready to sell. Whether you choose to bring your most critical friend along for a walk-through, enlist the help of a real estate professional, or take photos of each room to refocus your gaze, do something to see your home as your prospective buyer will.

2. Declutter and depersonalize

You want your home to appear to be spacious with plenty of room for the prospective buyer’s things. You want the buyer to see the house–not all of your stuff. You’re moving anyway, so get started early and move anything nonessential into boxes and then into storage before the first viewers walk through the door. You’ll also want to remove anything personal, such as family photos, quirky knickknacks, large collections, and the like.

3. Organize your closets

Don’t stop the decluttering when you get to the closets. Prospective buyers do open doors. To give the feeling of space, storage areas and closets should be half full, and the items inside should be neatly arranged.

4. Make small, inexpensive upgrades

Even if something is not broken, it may very well benefit from an upgrade. Paint the walls a neutral tone, put new handles on your cabinets, regrout your tile, recaulk around fixtures, hang new curtains, install new electrical switches/outlet covers, invest in some modern throw pillows–each of these upgrades is a small, inexpensive step towards a higher home value.

5. Scrutinize your light fixtures

If they’re old and out of date, replace them with moderately priced modern-looking ones. Nothing dates a house like a light fixture from the 70s.

6. Check your light levels

Buyers like bright homes with good natural lighting, and they don’t look favorably on dark corners. If you don’t have enough light in your home via windows, up your bulb wattage or add floor lamps.

7. Minimize signs of animals and children

A prospective buyer should have only a hint that either pets or children reside in the house. Any pet paraphernalia should be stored out of sight, and children’s toys and effects should be kept to a minimum.

8. Deep clean

It’s impossible to have your house too clean when you start showing it to prospective buyers. Before you list your home is the time to have your carpets steam-cleaned (or replaced if that doesn’t work) and the wood floors waxed.

Dust behind the appliances and around the baseboards. Clean out the refrigerator and the pantry. Wash all the curtains. And when you’re done, give your house the sniff test. A home for sale needs to look clean and smell clean.

9. Bring in a professional home stager

Even if you follow steps one through eight, you still might not be doing everything you can to get top dollar for your home. A home staging expert knows how to arrange furniture so a room looks its best and biggest, can give advice on when buy new furniture and how to make the most of what you already have.

Most importantly, a home staging expert will give you that extra push to declutter and depersonalize.

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