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Preparing to sell your house can take a month or longer, so don’t dawdle! The key to sell a home quickly: get it into tip-top shape to make the very best impression with buyers and their agents.
Our tips to sell your house:
Your home looks great to you, but how will a buyer see it? Get a fresh perspective. Hop in your car, drive around the block, and then scrutinize your home as you approach it—as a prospective buyer would see it for the first time.
First, consider what’s called “curb appeal.”
Remember, be very critical—buyers will be.
Next, pull into the driveway and take a good, hard look.
Then, walk inside.
After this discovery session, make a list of the things that might discourage potential buyers and keep you from selling your home quickly. Along with this list, include the things that first attracted you to the home. Remember, your home has become a great place for you, but a new buyer will see things that you don’t even realize.
Take a day to check out the competition—homes with similar prices and in similar neighborhoods. Remember, you don’t have to go out and buy new furniture just to look like that beautiful new model in the new development. To sell your home, you want the feel of that new model—clean, uncluttered, and fresh. Let well-staged homes inspire you.
Feeling inspired? Good, because now the hard work begins! Begin with clutter.
Potential buyers are seriously put off by clutter, and most of us drag a lot more through life than we really need.
Clear out clutter in every area: closets, basements, kitchen cabinets, drawers, bath vanities, and shelves—everywhere.
Remember, this is no time to be sentimental: if you don’t use it, lose it.
Also, don’t forget the furniture and fixtures when decluttering. To sell your house, your home must appear spacious. Too much in too little space will make a buyer think your home is too small.
A great tip: have a moving sale with all the stuff you’ve collected, and use the proceeds for paint or whatever other materials you need for repair projects. If you just can’t bear to part with some possessions, store them in the attic or some other place that’s out of sight to a potential buyer.
After you’ve cleared out the clutter, it’s time to really clean:
In short, clean everything.
Don’t forget the exterior: paint or power-wash everything that needs it.
Remember, this is a ceiling-to-floor, roof-to-foundation clean-up project designed to sell your house.
After you’ve cleaned the place from top to bottom, the next project is making all the repairs necessary to attract a buyer:
Patch the roof.
Touch up all the paint.
Repair the screens.
Make your entry area welcoming with fresh paint and flowers.
Water the lawn and landscape beds.
Trim, mow, edge and get rid of sick or dying plants.
Inside, fix the grout in the bathrooms and on tile floors.
Adjust any doors that need it.
Fix any scratches on the walls and cover any stains.
Fix any plumbing problems.
Get all this done before your Realtor makes the first listing—a good agent will advise you on what needs to be done. If you have willing friends, ask them to be brutally honest about what you need to do to sell your house.
Remember, do what it takes before the first buyer appears at your door.
If you’re thinking this is too much, there is an alternative to the sweat equity you get from a total fix-up. However, it carries a price. An “as-is” sale keeps you from doing all this work, but a buyer will assess about twice the price you would have paid for the repairs. Then, the buyer will deduct that amount from your asking price before making an offer.
You’ve whipped your place into shape, and your Realtor calls—you have a showing! Just a few small tips can make your home that much more appealing as potential buyers walk through:
Remember, you need to make sure your home is available to be seen by a prospective buyer with as little notice as possible. That means less than an hour, or even five minutes, if possible.
The ultimate tip to sell your house: After location, the most important thing to a buyer is a well-maintained home. Many flaws can be overlooked if the buyer knows he can move in without a lot of trouble and expense. Not only will you sell your home quickly, you’ll get top price.