Thursday, March 22, 2012

How TO: My Quick Tips for Preparing a Home to Sell

A few of you suggested that I share some of my tried and true tips for staging a home for sale.  There are a ton of sources online with very in-depth articles on this subject.  I am not going to attempt that here today. The biggest tip that is agreed on by all is to re-paint your home on the interior and exterior in neutral shades.  This can become expensive and spending money on a house you no longer are going to live in is always hard to do. But if you want top dollar, it's almost a requirement.

I am not wanting to spend a dime on this house and today, I am going to talk about the FREE, or cheap, things you can do to help stage your home.  This is my list of must do things.  Since I have bought and sold 7 homes, I've been here done it.  So here goes...

1.  Clear Away Clutter- Take a look at all the surfaces in every room.  Take away everything, except the essentials.  Stow away all your knick knacks, magazines and chachka.  This includes the kitchen.  Clear those counter tops and put away the loose utensils in drawers, bread basket in cabinets.  You want potential buyers looking at the SPACE in your house.  Try to optimize how that appears.  You might even consider taking out a few furniture pieces if you are like me and have furniture everywhere.  It opens the space.

Counter Tops Clear.  

This use to be my outdoor workshop/studio.  I cleared away all the
projects, paints and equipment.  I kept it simple with just two wicker chairs.

2.  De-Personalize- Pack away ALL family photos that are framed on walls and sitting in frames on tables.  It is not any one's business who lives in your house.  You would be surprised how nosy people can be.  Plus, it takes YOU out of the equation when selling.  Make sure your kids do this as well for safety purposes.  You never know who is traipsing through your home during an open house.

3.  Freshen up the landscaping and add fresh mulch materials - A very important step.  If you have dead or tattered plants, get rid of them.  Plant a few flowering seasonal plants in key areas to improve your curb appeal.  If you are a potted plant aholic like myself, get rid of most of them. Too much, is too much.

Here are a few little flowering plants I added two weeks ago.  I made sure and
watered them daily for 8 to 10 days.  

4.  Side Yard Area - Clean and clear the paths in your side yards.  People walk into your side yards to look at air conditioning units and other house equipment.  A poorly kept side yard, with trash and debris is a turn off.

5.  Fragrance - Your house smells. Yep, I said it.  It does.  Every one's does.  Buy plug in aroma stuff in one fragrance and keep them plugged in throughout your house...especially stinky teenager rooms!  Buy one, good quality cake candle and burn it daily in a central location, near your front door.  If you have pets, give them baths every 5 to 6 days. Stinky pets make a house smell dirty.  Put a box of Baking Soda in your refrigerator. People open your fridge and a nasty smell is a huge turn off.

6.  Clear Away The Cobwebs - I literally mean this.  Walk around your home with a broom and clean off the eves.  I am always stunned when I am looking at house and the homeowner has this type of stuff hanging around.  Makes me wonder if they have been up keeping the important appliances, roof and such.

Really?? Come on, get your broom out!
7. Wash the Windows - If you have a great view out into a beautiful yard, but it isn't apparent because your windows need cleaning, CLEAN them and keep them clean!!   Don't forget to re-touch this weekly.

Windex Please!
8. Clear out all closets - If you have to send stuff to storage, so be it.  Get all that crap out of your closets!!  People open closets to see the storage in a house.  If you are packed in so tight it's unruly, your house will appear as if it has insufficient storage space.

Not cool, people!  Ugg.  Who would want this house?!

9.  Front Door Mat - Purchase a fresh, new doormat with a simple "Welcome" message.

These are pretty simple suggestions, but I am amazed at how many homes I walk into when I am looking that haven't even attempted this stuff.  The trick to much of this is making sure you continue to keep up with it all. Replace old plug ins, keep windows clean, broom off your house regularly, don't let clutter creep back into your spaces . For gosh darn sakes, keep those dogs squeaky clean!   Enlist family members to help, not hurt, the process. You basically no longer 'live' in your home.  If you are serious about this...make the commitment and know that it could take a while, but will be worth it all in the end.

One final suggestion.  Fresh flowers.  When my house is on the market, I tried to always have some sort of cut, fresh flowers in a central location.  It doesn't have to be expensive.  The grocery has some very nice groupings.  The mums last the longest.  I try and add new flowers closer to the weekends, since there are usually more showings on weekends.

-The End-


Deneen@dreaming-n-color said...

Great tips Lesley! Good Luck with the process!

Anonymous said...

THANKS Les... I am not selling, but just a little kick in the rear to SPRING clean myself! Can you lend me a few of your willing family members...LOL!!

Korrie@RedHenHome said...

Best wishes for a quick sale!

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

BRAVO! I love this post, Lesley. Not only are these great tips for selling, but for general upkeep.

✿ⒹⒺⒺ✿@ A Lapin Life said...

Super great tips. I need to start spring cleaning.


Twice Nice said...

Great tips! Now go get a massage or something fun to reward yourself for all your hard work!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

I'm on my lunch break at work right now, but this post makes me want to go home and CLEAN MY CLOSETS!!! I'm not sure what my closets would say about me, but it wouldn't be good. Your house certainly looks to be in tip-top shape!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

what a good idea to post tips on selling your home! ;) seriously great tips though!

Sam I Am...... said...

This was just what I needed and from someone who's "been there and done that". I've seen other articles and they all required spending LOTS more money and even buying furniture to go with the style of the house....whoa Nellie! Obviously these people don't live in the REAL world but you do and I very much appreciate your tips. They are sensible and doable! Thank you very much!

Lisa Montsion said...

I love that carpet mat that says welcome.


Tiago said...

Sometimes is very important not only sell the house quickly but in a reasonable price, therefore this kind of advices are very important in order to achieve a good business.