Start planning early
Start weeding out your current possessions. Throw out, give away, or sell the things that you don’t want to move at a yard sale or donate to a charity.
Start packing early
Anything that you are sure you will not be using before moving day should get boxed.
Identify your home’s flaws or problems
Sellers are obligated to disclose any major problems or flaws in the structure or property, including things like dry rot, termites, asbestos, or a new highway slated to run nearby. The disclosure requirements vary by state, but if you fail to mention the leaky roof or flooding basement, you could be sued for fraud. There is really no upside to trying to hide problems anyway since most buyers will have the home inspected before closing.
Get the house in “showcase” condition
Small cosmetic touches can increase your home’s value by thousands. (See improvement section below.)
Decide what goes and what stays
Before you start showing your home, you need to decide what will be included in the sale. If you want to take your washer and dryer with you, tell serious buyers before negotiations start.
Look for a new home
Home sellers are generally advised not to begin the search for a new home until they are confident that the sale of their existing home is progressing towards a successful closing. Even then, it is always possible that a sale can fall through and you could be faced with the prospect of owing two homes. And trying to perfectly time two closings can make planning a move much more stressful. However, if you have to move quickly or you don’t want to pass on your dream home, you can choose to buy and sell simultaneously. Just make sure to listen to the advice of your real estate professional and other advisors so you know your options.
Suggested Exterior Improvements
- Painting: Touch up your house’s exterior paint before you put it on the market. Paint and/or clean the front door.
- Lawn: Keep your lawn freshly mowed and neatly trimmed. Clear debris from the lawn and the border of your home.
- Sidewalks: Sweep your sidewalks daily.
- Shrubbery: Remove or replace any dead or dying trees, hedges, or shrubs; prune anything that looks unsightly or overgrown.
- Flowers: Filling flowerbeds with seasonal flowers is an inexpensive way to add color and charm to your property. Consider placing a flowerpot by your front door.
- Repairs: Be sure that all gutters and downspouts are in place and clean. Replace missing roof shingles and broken or cracked windows.
Suggested Interior Improvements
- Clean, scrub, and polish: Keep your stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave, and other appliances spotlessly clean inside and out.
- Clean and spot-treat all carpeting. Polish wood floors and vinyl flooring. Clean walls, doors, and woodwork.
- Eliminate odors: Buyers will notice strong smells as soon as they walk through your front door. Eliminate smoke, mildew, and pet odors.
- Fix drippy faucets and running toilets: If any of your sinks or bathtubs drain slowly, unclog them.
- Get rid of clutter: Keep clutter off of kitchen counters and dirty dishes out of the sink. Straighten all closets.
- Make cosmetic improvements: Painting isn’t expensive if you do it yourself, but be careful when selecting interior colors. Avoid cherry red, canary yellow, emerald green, and other bold colors with strong visual impact. Make sure hinges and knobs are tightened and doors close properly.
Suggested Staging Tips
Here are some staging tips that you can use to increase your house’s emotional appeal.
- Kitchen: Aromas from fragrant goodies like freshly baked gingerbread or just-brewed coffee bring back wonderful memories of home.
- Bathrooms: Always have fresh towels in bathrooms. Buy new shower curtains; old ones are usually spotted with mildew. Put new soap in the soap dishes.
- Clear everything off your refrigerator: Most folks use magnets or tape to stick everything from vacation snapshots and finger-painting masterpieces. Clear everything off.
- Comfort: Keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A house that’s too hot or too cold isn’t inviting.
- Flowers: Vases of colorful, fresh flowers spotted throughout the house make a wonderful impression on prospective buyers.