Are you half as excited about the Fall as I am?
Autumn is, hands down, my absolute favorite time of the year! The colors, the smells, the homes and buyers hitting the market… Yes, I LOVE IT ALL! Autumn presents some amazing opportunities. This includes setting the stage for buyers and sellers to make long awaited moves to get settled before the holidays hit.
Though we’re still in a seller’s market, sellers aren’t off the hook for tending to a few tasks in getting their homes ready for prospective buyers. Below are a few things to be mindful of in getting your home ready. Also, don’t forget to grab a copy of my FREE SELLER’S GUIDE or just reach out to me direct for a Free Valuation of your home. I’m happy to help guide you through this process!
Walk through every room with a fresh set of eyes (plus a pen and notepad).
Create a checklist for each room of what all needs to be done.
- Are there light bulbs that need to be changed?
- Is your trim paint chipped?
- Do you have minor repairs that you have been putting off? (Leaky faucets, broken handles, etc..)
- Do you have chipped tiles?
- Do you need to re-caulk cracks?
- How are the door jams and trim?
Note: when assessing needed repairs, don’t just look for what’s still “broken” but also signs of previous damage. If an upstairs toilet leaked and left a stain on the downstairs ceiling, the ceiling should be repaired and repainted after the leak has been remedied.
2. PURGE, DONATE, OR SELL
This step is not only important for prospective buyers for your current house, but also for you as you think about your future house. When you move into your new house, you get the opportunity to embrace a fresh start.
Over the course of years, we have a tendency to collect a thing or two (or thousand). For a lot of people, the prospect of sorting through everything AND hauling it out can be beyond overwhelming. If you have more than a couple boxes to pitch, hiring out the job can be money VERY well spent (and doesn’t cost near what you might think).
Companies like RedBox+ take the stress off of you as they not only deliver a dumpster but have a team to help with the clean out.
Getting this done before you list your home will do wonders for helping buyers appreciate the space and versatility your home offers.
Basements, garages, sheds and attics are obvious but don’t forget to check the pantry, spice cabinet, toiletries and other stash spots where you may be keeping things you no longer need.
If you’re like me, you surely feel awful pitching perfectly good clothes and shoes just because you don’t wear them or they no longer fit. This is a great opportunity to give them to someone else who could be really blessed by them or offer them to a Goodwill.
If you don’t wear it and you haven’t in better than a year (or more), why keep it? With the exception of a few special occasion items, it’s better to just let it go. This will simplify your move and make room for the new as you step into your next life chapter.
There may be some items that you prefer to sell. With social media tools, selling has never been easier. (Though you can always still go the traditional route of having a yard sale.)
Today there are a number of tools for selling off items you no longer need. For this, you may look to dedicated apps like Offer Up, or turn to Facebook’s Marketplace. You can allow for people to pick up from you directly, arrange for meet-ups at alternate locations or offer to deliver/ship items.
Everything from clothes to furniture, knick knacks to yard tools, you can turn into cash to go towards your upcoming moving expenses.
3. DECLUTTER & ORGANIZE
Prospective buyers want to be able to picture themselves in your home. While they are very much aware that you still live there, they don’t want to be reminded of it at every turn.
Kitchen and bathroom counters should not be a catch-all. Be sure to clear these, keeping only the essentials and even those to a minimum. Clean and open counters, shelves and cubbies spare your buyers the distraction of “too much muchness” and allow them to appreciate the room to work, play and store their own things within the home.
Declutter your tables, dresser tops, nightstands, coffee tables, etc… Remove everything that isn’t decorative or absolutely necessary. Potential buyers WILL look into your closets and pantries. Make your house more visually appeasing by keeping these areas organized.
- Think one to two books on the coffee table, not ten.
- Remove magnets, papers, pictures, etc.. from your refrigerator.
- Organize your clothes in your closet and make sure nothing is left on the floor.
- Organize your pantry. Use bins or containers to keep your food organized.
Give everything a home.
- Those shoes that you put by the front door when you walk in… find a place in a closet for them or find a shoe rack.
- Purses, backpacks, lunch boxes should have a home.
- Every toy should have a bin.
Again, while buyers know it’s still your home, constantly reminding them of it with big family portraits, placards and “personal touches” isn’t exactly conducive to them envisioning the space as their own.
You’re already looking at moving anyhow. Go ahead and pack these things away safely as you prep for your next home.
5. DEEP CLEAN
Kicking off your home sale with an uber clean house can do wonders in how buyers feel as they tour your home and yes, this can spill over into whether or not they’ll put in an offer and for how much.
- Vacuum and/or sweep daily.
- Steam clean your carpets. (If you do not have a steam cleaner, you can rent one at your local home improvement store or sometimes even your local grocery store. Of course, you can always hire this out too.)
- Dust (your furniture, your fans, your baseboards, anything that has a surface.)
- Clean both the inside and outside of your windows.
- Polish and/or clean all metal/faucets/appliances.
If you’re living in the home, be sure to come up with a game plan to maintain a fresh space for showings!
6. ENHANCE YOUR CURB APPEAL
The first thing that your prospective buyer is going to see is the outside. And while, we were always taught to not judge a book by its cover, well… we still do.
- Mow your lawn.
- Clean up leaves/branches that have fallen.
- Trim bushes/shrubbery around your house.
- Weed your flowerbeds.
- Lay day fresh mulch.
- Clean up any trash that may have blown into your yard.
- Power wash your deck, patio, fences, windows, walkways, driveway.
And for heaven’s sake, DO NOT paint the house pink!
Okay, so you may not be painting the exterior before putting it on the market but try to keep things neutral and inviting. What buyers see on the MLS and when they pull up to your home should lure them through the door, not give them second thoughts.
Remove any knickknacks and replace with simple decorations like fresh flowers.
Keep it simple. They’re not there to see a display of stuff. Think of home decor like makeup applied for a casual outing – less is more. Decor is there to enhance the appearance of the space NOT mask it!
Also, don’t forget that neutral colors are your friend. If you decide to repaint any of the rooms in your house, go with a neutral color. You can always add a pop of color with a well placed throw pillow, artwork or a nice bouquet.