How To Prepare Your Home For Sale

person using mop on floor

When it’s finally time for your home to be on display, you must make sure it looks the part as well. Before showings, getting your home in top condition raises the desirability factor and greatly impacts how others view it. Here are a few simple ways to prep your home for sale. Check off the list below to give your place that extra polish and an easier sale. With the right presentation, the value of your house will skyrocket and you’ll have buyers willingly pay more for it. Get help from family members, or consider hiring professional cleaners. This is the time to impress your buyers, and they will love your sparkling, refined home. – Shawn

Minor Repairs

Start with minor repairs before organizing and cleaning. This will make the following process much more efficient. It is helpful to save appliance warranties/receipts for updates and repairs.

  • Patch holes in sheetrock walls and touch up paint. Tip: If you bring a chip of old paint, hardware stores can closely match the color.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks, and replace cracked windows, door handles, cabinet door knobs, and leaky faucets.
  • Exchange all light bulbs for 60-100 watt ones. Tip: Choose neutral-toned light, not blue or purple.
  • Properly maintain your HVAC system (or get a new air filter).

Declutter, Reorganize, & Depersonalize

After repairs, it is important to create a space that is clean, organized, and pleasant. Minimize displaying your personal style; the goal is to create a universally appealing environment. Opt for a minimal, monochromatic look.

  • Declutter: less clutter means more space! The more empty spaces the better because it appears BIGGER. Clear out things you haven’t used for more than six months and/or things you won’t be taking to your new home.
  • Donate! Don’t make the same mistakes as me, i.e bringing a lawn mower from Minnesota to Portland. It was so heavy, and I couldn’t even use it in my sloped backyard!
  • Box up items that you won’t be using in the next three to six months. Stack the boxes in the garage without blocking the electric panel, furnace and water heater. This way, your buyers’ home inspectors can access the areas.  Consider temporary storage space if needed; losing the trouble will be worth the cost.
  • Reorganize: Put daily essential items in a small box that can be easily stored and accessed, like kids’ toys.
  • Store high value items (jewelry, watches, etc.), prescription medication and financial documents in a safe, secure place.
  • Remove excess furniture (i.e extra bookcases, corner tables, old plants, chests, chairs, coat hangers, shoe cabinet by door), especially if any of these are blocking paths. 
  • Clear the kitchen counter space, unless they are eye-pleasing pieces, like your fancy coffee maker, knife set or cutting board.
  • Empty out at least one-third of your closet space. It will look more spacious, and buyers can see there’s enough room. Easy ways to add class to your closet is to hang shirts, facing the same direction, and neatly line up your shoes.
  • Depersonalize: Box away personal and religious items, including family pictures. Buyers need to feel like this could be their future home, not as if they are intruding in someone else’s.
  • The rule with decor is the simpler the better.  Stay away from overly personalized design (don’t do Roman decor), and think modern.
  • Change the bedsheets to calm, neutral colors.

Sparkly Interior

Create a comfortable, welcoming home from the inside out.

  • Clean windows, inside and outside; this will brighten your home and make it appear more spacious.
  • Shampoo your carpet.
  • Consider a professional deep-cleaning (see a separate list below).
  • Hang up fresh towels and replace bath mats and door mats.
  • Freshen up: open up all your windows, use carpet deodorizer, and spray a gentle air neutralizer (outlet plug-ins are way too strong and unhealthy).

Sparkly Exterior

The exterior is the first thing buyers will see before even walking through the front door. Make sure it leaves an excellent first impression.

  • Remove any unwanted weeds and plants in your yards.
  • Trim big bushes and trees if they block any windows. They make the house look smaller.
  • Add a splash of color with planters or flowers.
  • Add new bark dust.
  • Put in new light bulbs outside.
  • Put away trash cans.

Professional Cleaner’s List:

Remember when I mentioned hiring a professional cleaner? If you decide to go this route, make sure they thoroughly work on the following.

  • Bathrooms: toilets, bathtub, shower, shower head, sinks, faucets, floors, mirrors, light fixtures, medicine cabinet, vents, counters
  • Kitchen: oven, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, cabinets, counter surfaces, sinks, faucets
  • All Throughout the House: windows, interior light fixtures, exterior fixtures, fans, mirrors, light switch plates, walls, door knobs, baseboards, vents

Checklist Before Showings

Here is a quick checklist to run through right before showing a house. It’s the small details that matter!

  • Put away daily used items.
  • Clear and wipe down all surfaces.
  • Turn all the lights on.
  • Open all blinds and shower curtains. 
  • Close toilet seats.

    Now you are ready to show your home!  If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know.  Shawn Yu 503-515-4499, shawn@shawn-realty.com.

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