Prepping Home for Sale

A manageable plan for preparing your home for sale

It’s not always easy to leave a long-time home and start a new one. Aside from the emotional attachments, the mere prospect of prepping a house for sale is a lot to handle. But if you can break your work into manageable “chunks”, you’ll be on to the next phase of your life in no time.

Major repairs are a must
Though you want to minimize the amount of money you invest, it can be difficult to sell a house if significant repairs are necessary. These might include patching or replacing the roof, plumbing fixes that involve opening the walls, or digging or repairing faults in the foundation.

Minor repairs = big savings
Small fixes to high-visibility issues can have a big impact on how quickly and profitably you can sell your home. Replacing cracked tiles, getting new washers on leaky faucets, and applying fresh caulk in the bathroom and kitchen can make a big difference. A good idea is having a friend with a fresh eye go through your home and identify issues that jump out at them.

Maximize curb appeal
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the same thing applies to a house that is up for sale. It is critically important that the small things are in place so your home invites people in. Keep the lawn mowed, and consider having it professionally edged. Make sure the house address numbers are easy to read. If you can, pressure-wash the sidewalk and steps. The front door is vitally important – consider applying a fresh coat of paint and shining the doorknob!

Get rid of the stuff
Cleared, empty spaces put your home in its best light. Getting rid of obvious clutter not only preps your home for sale, it also gives you a head start on downsizing. Start by tossing or selling stuff that’s not going with you. Pack and move offsite small items like books, knick-knacks, and extra clothes. And to avoid any confusion, remove and store everything that is not for sale — appliances, lighting, chandeliers, etc.

Scrub the interior
If you can’t repaint before the sale, a deep cleaning is the next best thing. Just a rag, soap and water are most of what you need to spiff up walls (especially around light switches!), appliances and floorboards. Wash windows, and dust lamps and lighting. Faucets and floors should shine in the kitchen and bathrooms; steam-cleaning carpets is a huge help.

Keep things neat
As prospective buyers tour your house, you want to make sure that everything is tidy and organized. A great start is to empty and clean all closets, drawers and cabinets. Neatly arrange all contents: stack dishes, hang all shirts together and face them the same way, nest pots and pans, and organize spice racks. Daily chores should include vacuuming and making sure pet areas are spotless. If you have a cat, remove kitty litter box during showing hours.

Stage your home
The goal of staging your home is to make it seem inviting. To help buyers visualize moving in, remove personal items and consider painting the walls in neutral colors. Hang fresh dishtowels in the kitchen and consider keeping fresh flowers in the house.

Stash valuables
The overwhelming majority of people going through your house probably have good intentions, but…you never know. To keep your things safe, stash valuables like cash, jewelry, and small electronics in a secure place and remove expensive art and house furnishings. For additionally security, have all guests sign a register and use only one door for entering and leaving the house.