So, you’ve made the decision to sell your home. Now what?
It takes a lot of mental preparation to let go of a space you’ve grown to love and the process of selling your home can be particularly strange if you are still living in it.
"You want people to be able to imagine themselves in the house, so you might want to take down family photos," said realtor Douglas Montgomery, of Douglaston's Home NY Real Estate."The most important thing is to stage to house, which means to clean it up and make sure the property is clean - even the windows and carpets. Be sure there's not clutter around."
Montgomery said those thinking of selling their homes should also be sure to market it thoroughly.
"People need to get a value for what they are going to sell for and to know what other properties in the neighborhood are selling for," he said. "This can be done through a realtor. You should also see what's listed in your community."
Here are 10 tips that will make your home more presentable to buyers, and also help you prepare to move into your new digs.
- Clear out clutter. If you haven’t touched it within the past year, toss it. You can also donate unwanted items to charity if they’re too good to trash. Pack up things you plan to take with you and get them out of sight. If necessary, rent a storage space.
- Pack up most of your personal photographs. They are distracting to potential buyers and this action will help them see the house as their potential home instead of yours.
- Keep your kitchen clean. That means flowers on your table, no dishes in the sink, no junk on the counters, and no finger smudges around cabinet handles. Pack up everything but the bare essentials from the cabinets so that they are tidy too. If a prospective buyer opens a kitchen cabinet and sees too much stuff, they will think the kitchen is cramped.
- Keep closets tidy too. Packing little by little will make your final transition easier. Plus, buyers think a tidy homeowner has also taken good care of the place. Lining up shoes, and grouping shirts, pants and dresses together in the closet can also make a big impact.
- Move furniture to storage if individual rooms are too crowded. It will make the rooms appear larger.
- Remove items not part of the sale: If there are window treatments, light fixtures, appliances or other “attached” items you plan to take with you, remove them and replace them before showing your home so that the buyer won’t think they are included.
- Freshen up paint and make repairs to things such as torn screens, cracked tiles and rotting windowsills before the realtor even puts the sign up. If a room inside the home is painted a bold color, consider covering it in a more neutral shade.
- Dust and vacuum every single surface, including baseboards, ceiling fan blades, and carpet in the corners of stairs and rooms.
- Outside is as important as inside: Mow grass, trim bushes, and sweep away cobwebs, leaves and dog hair.
- Invest in a potted plant or wreath to put outside your front door. You won’t believe what a difference that little touch of curb appeal will make.
Last but not least, do a walk-through pretending you are a prospective buyer. Note the things that would turn you off and then fix them!