Whether you’ve been thinking about selling for some time or you’re interested in taking advantage of the market, right now may be the time for you to sell your house.
But beyond hiring a real estate agent, you'll have to take a number of steps on your own to prep the house for sale — by making repairs or doing a deep clean, for example. Getting your home ready can be a lot of work, but it can also worth it in the long run to help your home sell faster.
The first step to prepping your house for sale is preparing yourself for your house to sell. They say home is where the heart is for good reason; your home becomes a part of you, especially if you’ve lived there for a long time. It can be difficult to let go of a home you love, even if you’re turning a tidy profit.
During this time, it’s important to find ways to detach emotionally so that you can imagine another family creating their own memories in “your” home. While you might expect it to take months for your home to sell, in a hot market it might take days. Set your mind on the future, to the next home where you’ll make new memories, because you might be there sooner than you realize.
Once you’re mentally and emotionally prepared, it’s time to get practical.
There’s more to selling your home than taking photographs and uploading it to a real estate site. Use this checklist to help you get on (and off) the market fast and maximize your home’s value.
If you’ve ever watched House Hunters on HGTV, you’ve heard the term “curb appeal.” It’s the real estate equivalent of judging a book by its cover. Potential buyers will make a quick first impression of your home from the exterior because, let’s face it, we all want to live in an attractive house. (That applies to condos and housing developments, too.)
Invest a little time and money in simple cosmetic updates like planting flowers or bushes, repainting your front door, or keeping the front lawn mowed. You never know who might see a for sale sign in front of a good-looking house and decide to take a tour.
Selling your home is a great excuse to declutter. Less is more when it comes to selling a house, so do a clean sweep of all the counters, windowsills, tables, and other visible areas before taking pictures of your home. Then go behind closed doors, into the closets, drawers, and cupboards.
A house that is overflowing with clutter sends the message that it isn’t big enough. (Depending on how much stuff you have, you may even consider renting a storage unit.) If there isn’t enough space to store these things, a buyer might think that they too won’t have enough room.
This goes hand-in-hand with the process of breaking the emotional attachment to your home. As you declutter, donate, and put things in storage, you should also remove the personal things in your home. Family photos or your kids’ artwork can distract potential buyers and prevent them from envisioning their own life in the home. You may also want to keep items with strong political messages out of sight, too.
Your taste might not be everyone’s taste. That neon green accent wall in the master bedroom, so to appeal to everyone it's best to stick to white paint.
Bold colors may attract some buyers, but others will just view painting walls as another expense and time commitment. Using neutral colors consistently throughout your home will give light the room and give potential buyers a blank slate to fill in with their own imagination.
Nobody wants to inherit the loose door handles, loose floorboards, or dead light bulbs that have been sitting on your to-do list for months. It may seem small, but even a single defect can make a potential buyer wonder what else needs fixing that they haven’t found.
Buying a home is an enormous endeavor for most people, so they may be picky. Ensuring they don’t find anything that needs immediate fixing is a good way to keep their minds at ease and focused on the positive qualities of your home.
You may have noticed unique odors in the homes you’ve visited throughout your life. It’s possible that your home has one of these indescribable odors, as well.
Conduct a smell test by inviting an unbiased person who is neither a friend nor your real estate agent to try to detect pet smells, kitchen odors, or distinctive “you” smells. If they find some pervasive smells, start deep-cleaning or explore masking techniques like candles or plug-in room deodorizers.
When you’re preparing to sell your home, try to imagine seeing it for the first time from a potential buyer’s perspective. Walk through each room and criticize them from a neutral point of view. Take note of the qualities of your home that are genuinely unique or attractive and try to highlight them during tours.
You might even want to consider getting a professional home inspection or using a home inspection checklist before listing to make sure there are no surprises during closing that could knock a few thousand dollars off the final sale price. Orchard recommends pre-inspections, and offers complimentary assessments for free for our clients.
While it’s possible to sell your home without an agent, and it may even be tempting in a hot market, it’s not advisable unless you really know what you’re doing.
That said, don’t hire the first real estate agent to send you a flyer. Real estate agents can make your sale a breeze and get you some more money, but you also might disagree on how to best sell your house. Do some research to find an agent who knows your market and whom you believe you’ll work well with. Don’t be afraid to interview more than one.
Staging may cost a little money, but a home stager can identify the best features of your home with the highest appeal that will make buyers want to bid a little more for the property. If your house is out of date or rough around the edges, a home stager can hide some of its cosmetic imperfections and pump your home with some energy and beauty.
We’ve touched on real estate agents and home stagers, both of whom are valuable resources when preparing your house for sale.
Another useful option is Orchard’s Concierge, which helps you get your home show-ready for no upfront cost. When you list your house with Orchard, we'll recommend what repairs and upgrades to make to help your home stand out on the market and sell faster. (We'll also tell you what fixes you can skip when selling, too.)
Orchard has negotiated rates with dozens of outstanding vendors to ensure you maximize your home’s value without having to haggle with contractors.
Interested in learning more? Get started.
When you list with Orchard, we’ll get your home show-ready and make repairs to increase your home’s value at no upfront cost.
Orchard guarantees your home will sell, so you can buy your next one worry-free.
We provide peace of mind that your home will sell, plus list your home on the market to maximize your earnings.
Use our home sale calculator to estimate your net proceeds.
Our Home Advisors are experienced local agents who know how to sell for top dollar and help win your dream home.
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