So you’ve decided to list your house on the market – now it’s time to prepare your home for sale. By taking steps to clean and declutter, make necessary repairs, and stage your home’s living spaces, you can make a dramatic difference in how quickly your home sells (and for how much). With an investment of time and effort, you can make your house more appealing, resulting in more showings and offers on your property. Here’s a helpful guide to preparing your home for sale to make the most of the real estate market.
Improving your curb appeal and decluttering your home are two low-cost ways to prepare your home for the market.
How do you Prepare a House for Sale?
Most real estate professionals consider cleaning, decluttering, making repairs, and staging as the four main tasks in preparing your house for sale. Some changes will be minor aesthetic tweaks, while others will be more foundational repairs that can help you get better offers on your house.
How Long Does it take to Prep a House for Sale?
It depends on the size of your home and the complexity of your move. If possible, begin the process quickly after you decide to sell. In 2020, the National Association of Realtors found that the typical home was on the market for only three weeks before selling, so it’s wise to begin packing and preparing several weeks before listing the house. This will give you enough of a head start so you can clean and make repairs without rushing.
How do you Clean a House Before Selling?
Cleanliness is key when it comes to showing your home. Buyers may feel less willing to put down an offer on your house if they notice dirt on window sills, tile floors, and baseboards that they’ll have to clean themselves. A dingy house also feels like it hasn’t been maintained as well as very clean home.
- Use bleach to whiten bathtubs and sinks and remove unsightly stains.
- Dust all surfaces, including fan blades and window blinds.
- Pay attention to how your house smells. Remove or wash anything causing odors, including old pet beds to keep your home smelling fresh.
- Don’t forget about cleaning the exterior, too. Pressure wash the outside of your house, including the roof, gutters, porch, and walkways, to remove dirt and mold. Clean out the gutters and wash the windows.
Cleaning the exterior of your house, as well as the interior, will show your home at its best.
What Should I do to my House Before I Sell it?
After cleaning thoroughly, follow these steps to finish preparing your house:
Remove items that will distract buyers as they walk through your house. This includes personal items that distinctly mark the house as yours, such as family photos, mail by the front door, religious imagery, and even the mess of magnets on the refrigerator. Aim for making your house as clean and clutter-free as possible.
These can range from small fixes to large-scale projects. Judging by your home’s needs, decide on what repairs are most crucial to a successful sale. Address the most obvious repairs first, such as burnt-out bulbs, broken windows, or stained carpets. Then, decide whether you want to make larger repairs and bump up the asking price or list as-is for a lower cost. An experienced listing agent can help you decide which repairs are worth making and which ones are not.
Staging your home is well worth the effort, as it helps buyers imagine themselves living in your home without the distractions of personal items and clutter.
Stage the House
Some homeowners skip this step, but it can be a game changer. Staging, or setting up decor and furniture in a home for sale to prepare it for showings and photos, helps buyers envision themselves living there. According to a survey from the National Association of Realtors, 83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home “made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home”.
If you’re selling an empty house, you can stage it with the help of a professional home stager, who will bring in furniture and decor. If you’re living in the home while it’s on the market, you can declutter and use your existing furniture to stage your home.
- If you’ve previously painted your walls dark colors or used quirky wallpaper, then painting will be an important part of staging your home. Pick neutral colors for paint and accessories that allow prospective buyers to imagine what it would be like to move in.
- As part of decluttering, remove any unnecessary furniture that crowds the room. Keep decor items minimal and arrange furniture to create as much space as possible.
- Stage the area outside your front door by moving any personal items, adding some planters with blooming flowers, and sweeping dirt and debris off the doorstep. Put down an inviting welcome mat and hang outdoor lights to create a cozy glow at twilight. Remember, your front door is the first thing potential buyers will see – make sure it’s stunning.
Professional real estate photography is a worthwhile investment in the home selling process. Your home will show better and sell faster.
What Sells a Home Fast?
Apart from the four main steps we mentioned earlier, there are a few other factors that can help your house sell quickly.
- Great photos and descriptions on online listings make a difference. Whether you hire a professional photographer to take pictures or you do it yourself, make sure that your home is well-lit and staged to make photos pop. Include relevant keywords, such as “open floorplan,” “exposed brick,” or “outdoor pool,” that will help your house show up in searches.
- Price your home to sell. The longer your house sits on the market, the harder it will be to attract the perfect buyer. Work with your real estate agent to set a competitive price that isn’t too expensive for the neighborhood you’re in. Correctly priced homes also have a much better chance of attracting multiple offers, which can lead to a bidding war.
- Provide a 3D Virtual Tour. 3D tours allow your home to be viewed in great detail by buyers from all over the world. In a hot market, it’s not unusual for buyers to use this technology to decide to buy a home sight unseen. People buy things online all the time, and the more detailed the information on the website, the more likely buyers are to feel good about making an online purchase (even a house)!
A 3D Virtual Tour of a Craftsman Home
We Can Help you Prepare Your Home for Sale
Preparing your house for sale is truly an important part of the moving process, as you’ll see a payoff in the offers you receive. It takes time and effort, but with the right strategies in place, you can maximize the impact of all your hard work. If you have questions about the best way to maximize your home’s value, give us a call. Over the years, we’ve sold hundreds of homes of all sizes, price ranges, and conditions, so we know what buyers are looking for in their next home. We can also refer you to our favorite painters, carpenters, and landscapers in the Asheville area. Let us help you make the right choices as you prepare your home for Western North Carolina real estate market!