Preparing your home to sell is one of the single most important things to do before placing it on the market. Put yourself in the Buyer's shoes when shopping for a used car. You see two identical cars with the same mileage, at two different dealerships, and priced exactly the same. The car at "Dealership A" is in pristine physical condition, has no scratches, dents, or interior odors or stains. It has been detailed and cleaned thoroughly. The car at "Dealership B" has a few scratches, was recently washed, but there are water stains on the rear window, and there is a slight odor likely from the dog hair stuck to the back of the driver's seat. Which car are you more inclined to purchase? Most would say the car from "Dealership A," but many would use "Dealership A" as a negotiating point in order to discount the price of the car at "Dealership B." The moral of the story is "DON'T BE THE CAR AT DEALERSHIP B!" You will either receive low-ball offers, or no offers at all.
Even when there is low housing inventory and high competition, every home needs prep work before listing it on the market. With a little bit of work, sellers can typically prepare their home for sale for as little as $0, but some of the items listed below may require you to spend a few bucks. Trust us, it's worth the investment.
Here are the Top 10 Home Selling Preparation Tips for $0:
1. Clear ALL Counters:
This means remove 100% of all items on the counters including knives, microwave, coffee maker, tooth brushes, towels, kitchen tools, etc. Especially in the Kitchen and Bathrooms. You may add one or two small decorative pieces back to the counters like a Kitchen -Aid mixer, or decorative towels, but less is always more.
Usually I recommend removing personal photos from the walls and counters, but if it throws off the balance somewhere, you may decide to leave some photos. If possible, consider replacing family or personal photos with professional photos (Wedding, Baby photos, or landscape photos).
3. Caulk any dirty bathroom sinks or tile grout:
Sinks and showers/tubs are notorious for getting discolored over time. If you re-caulk the corners and in any areas that need it, it will make the bathrooms look brand-new. Bleaching any white tile grout in the bathrooms and kitchen will also help significantly.
4. Touch-Up Paint:
Touch up any needed paint work around the home, especially marks on the baseboards, doors, hallways, front door, or anywhere in and around the home. It always helps to touch these up, particularly if you decide to remove pictures from walls. If you have any past water damage stains on the ceiling or walls, I highly recommend painting these areas and doing a deeper inspection to make sure there is no mold or further water damage. Always remember to disclose all past defects, leaks, painting, remodeling, and more to all buyers.
5. Remove any and all window screens and replace broken lightbulbs:
This will brighten the home significantly and it makes a huge difference for photos and showings. Store the screens in the garage or in storage and don't forget to re-install prior to closing. Changing a few lightbulbs is a given and try to stay away from the new LED lights as they tend to give off a very white and florescent color rather than a warm, smooth, and inviting light.
6. Power-Wash Exterior:
Spray down the patio and get rid of any spider webs, leaves, and dirt around the home. Dirt should be sprayed and swept away from the exterior of the home. A standard garden hose should suffice, but consider renting a power washer for any tough to remove stains.
De-Cluttering is always necessary. This goes for EVERY HOME. Buyers like to see a home as a fresh palette so that they can imagine their own furniture and design style in the home. Consider selling or storing away large and heavy furniture pieces that take up a lot of space. LESS IS ALWAYS MORE!
8. Deep Clean:
A deep clean of the entire home should occur just before listing. This should include dusting of any ceiling fans, window coverings, cleaning windows, vacuuming, removal of dust bunnies, cleaning the stove-top, oven and microwave, grease, etc.
Not every one likes Dogs and/or Cats and not every buyer smokes or enjoys the scent of incense. Buyers who do not have any pets, or who are not smokers, are especially sensitive to Dog/Cat and cigarette odors. This is one of the most common critiques a buyer will have immediately upon entering a property. Consider Shampooing or even replacing the carpet, painting certain odorous rooms, and placing candles in a few rooms with popular non-obtrusive scents.
10. Clean Windows:
Consider cleaning all windows inside and out. If some of your windows are too high to reach, it is recommended that you hire a professional window cleaning company. This not only brightens the home significantly, but gives an overall bright and clean appearance.