Weeks before the house was vacant, I started researching information about selling houses, our current housing market, and staging a house. Research, research, research! Here are the things that I discovered and the steps we took to maximize our house's potential. My goal was to set my house apart from the competition to hopefully have a quicker sale.
1. Declutter - Since our house is vacant, I skipped this step, but if your house is occupied, you will want to make sure you declutter your entire house - inside and out. When you are decluttering, ask yourself - Do I want this? Do I need this? Do I like this? Is it worth it to move this item to my new home? Be ruthless, make several trips to your donation center, rent a storage unit down the road if you need to. Just declutter and get all the unwanted things out of your house (this includes the garage!).
2. Clean - Clean, Clean, and Clean. Then when you think you are done, clean some more. We spent more than 50 hours just cleaning the house to get it ready. Wipe done all the walls, doors, & baseboards. Clean all the light fixtures inside & out. Scrub the bathrooms and the floors. Vacuum everywhere. Clean the carpets. Clean the closets. Clean the front and back porches. Clean the garage. Clean the windows inside and out. Clean the appliances. You have got to make that house sparkle, shine, and pass the white glove test.
3. Neutralize the Walls and Decor - Most of todays house hunters want a move-in ready house. They don't want to walk into a home and see red walls, a lime green room, or a accent wall. They want to be able to close on Friday, move in on Saturday, unpack on Sunday, than return to work on Monday. Sure, everyone wants to personalize their home, but that comes later. Right now, when potential buyers enter your house, you don't want them to be distracted with making a mental list of everything they need to change. No! You want them to fall in love with the house right from the start so that they will place an offer on your house. So, how did this step play out in our house? We painted 3 bedrooms, a closet, and 1 accent wall. I choose the paint color that matched the hallway, dining area, and kitchen (Rice Grain by Sherwin Williams). I also painted a fresh coat of white paint on all the baseboards and trim throughout the house. Simple, easy, and done. It was worth the time and investment of paint. And painting all the trim again made the interior look so, so good in pictures. Well worth my time and money.
4. Fix and Repair Anything in Need - What in your house is broken? Or in need of repair? Do you have a leaky toilet? Nail holes in the walls? Window not opening correctly? Carpets need to be replaced? Whatever it may be, make a list and fix every single item on there. You do not want to wait until the house inspection comes back to repair things around the house. You want to communicate to the house buyer that your house has been well maintained and well cared for. This happens by fixing all the items that are in need of repair. Remember, your goal is to set your house apart from all the other ones and to have a move-in ready house that gets a top dollar offer. Not a fixer-upper that the new owner will have to do things to that would result in a much lower offer. So take the time to repair everything.
5. Curb Appeal - Let's face the truth here - You get the house buyer into your home if they like the way the outside of your house looks. If your house is not that isn't appealing from the outside, you will not get people to look at the inside of your house. Sorry, but it's true. House hunters will look at a picture and if there are overgrown bushes, grass that needs to be cut, and spider webs everywhere they will keep on looking. They will pass right by it and look at the house that appeals to them - inside and out. So, trim up bushes and trees, plant a few pretty flowers, replace the garage doors if needed, cut and edge the grass, pressure wash the porch, spread fresh mulch in the flower beds. Than keep it that way. After the initial cleaning, painting and repairs are done make sure to maintain it the entire time it is on the market. You must keep it show ready at all times.
6. Staging - By this point, your house has been seriously decluttered, is squeaky clean, walls and trim are neutral and fresh, the yard is immaculate, and all repairs have been done. Now it's time for the fun part - Staging! Since the house that I'm selling is currently vacant, I wanted to do a little bit of staging to make it feel warm and inviting. I wanted the bathrooms to invoke the feeling of spa, relaxation, oasis, and calming. My goal was to make that house irresistible to anyone who looked at it. Throughout this whole process, that is my goal and if you're selling it should be your goal as well. So, I took a few pieces of furniture, some white curtains, white towels, candles, bars of soap, home decor items, and greenery over to the house to cozy it up. That's really all it takes, just a few strategically placed items around the home.
7. Price it Right - You've done all the work getting your house ready to sell, now the hard part is how to price it. You need to get real about the price point of your house and what the housing market is like in your area. Do not, I repeat, do not price your house too high. Price it correctly from the beginning. You have got to separate your emotions from the house at this point. It has now become a business transaction and it has ceased to be your home. Yes, this is so hard! But you have to do it. Regardless of how much money you put into the house, what is the market dictating? What is a realistic price point? It will sit there and sit there for months and months and you do not want that - ever! This is were researching your housing market comes in handy. From my research, I can tell you why there are houses that sit for too long in my area. It's because they need to many repairs and the price is too high. Moral of the story, price is everything!
Y'all, getting a house ready to sell is hard work! Seriously hard work! If you've made it this far, congratulations and give yourself a vacation! Hopefully, my 7 tips will help you in your house selling adventures. I'll be sure to keep my readers updated throughout the process, so stay tuned. Now it's your turn, have you sold a house before? What did you do to help it sell quickly? What are your tip 3 tips in selling?
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