When clients ask me “What do I need to do to get my house ready?” I use these ideas as guidelines to follow. Your home may not need any of these while others may need all of them. That is what I am here for. Contact me to come look at your house and see what is needed to get your house ready. It may seem overwhelming to some, but remember the payoff can be in the thousands of dollars.

Keep in mind, it is no longer your HOME, but a HOUSE you are trying to sell. I think you can understand what I am saying. Keep personal feelings, personal property and personal effects well hidden or remove them from the property before it is on the market. Any potential buyer that view the house will need to see the possibilities of making it their home. To make that easier for them there are a few things to consider.

Follow the 50% rule.

Look at every flat surface in your house and take at least 50% of the items away. This goes for kitchen and bathroom counters, desktops, bookshelves and dressers. Maybe you do use that blender/toaster/coffeemaker/radio every day, but for now, keep it out of sight and get it out only when you need it.

50% your closets too.

If stuff tumbles to the floor every time you open a closet or a cupboard, you won’t impress your buyers. An overstuffed closet tells a buyer that you don’t have enough storage space. So get out the packing boxes, pretend you’re moving next week, and streamline every space. The buyer needs to know there’s plenty of room for their stuff.

Don’t forget the furniture.

While you want the house to look functional and show the possibilities you still need to make all areas look larger. To do this remove some bulky furniture like chest of draws and bookshelves. Consider taking some chairs along with the leaf out of the table to storage. You don’t have to get rid of everything, just keep in mind you don’t need accent tables and display cases of creepy dolls. Try to keep the windows unblocked, not only to keep it from looking cluttered, but to brighten up the place. The potential buyer does not need to think their furniture won’t fit and consider the extra money they would have to spend of new stuff.

Home Sellers can’t get personal.

When a buyer walks through the front door, you want them to imagine themselves living in your house. This won’t happen if the walls are covered with family pictures and the refrigerator door is decorated with childlike Picassos. Add these items to your packing list. Let the buyer see a clean slate, ready for them to add their own personal touches.

Brighten up.

Walk through your home after dark or on a cloudy day; does it look bright, cheerful, and welcoming? Start by getting some brighter light bulbs to shed some light on those dark corners. Make sure there are no burned out bulbs anywhere and the light fixtures are clean. Check the porch lights and outdoor lighting as well. PS, remove the dead bugs.

Show me the money.

You’ll get the most bang for your buck by investing money in your kitchen and bathrooms. If your bathroom vanities look shabby and dated, a couple coats of semi-gloss enamel in one of today’s “in” colors is a great place to start. Add some drawer pulls to kitchen and bathroom cupboards. Replace faucets with brushed nickel or bronze. New stainless steel appliances in the kitchen will give it a real “wow” factor.

Do some painting.

As part of your face lift plan, painting the interior walls is a great investment. Ceilings should be white because it makes the rooms seem larger. But keep white paint off your walls and go with a warm neutral (pale yellow, rosy beige or taupe) instead. Stark white walls are cold. Even if your home is very contemporary, you still want to reflect a degree of warmth and coziness.

Check for hidden problems.

Put yourself in the place of a potential buyer. Go outside by the curb and walk through the front door. Often it’s the things you can’t see that will trip you up. So keep an eye out for problems that aren’t immediately obvious. For example, if the storage space under your stairs smells musty, air it out and add some room freshener. Make sure there are no signs of mold or mildew anywhere. Look around the baseboards and the outside of your home as well for signs of termites or other pests. Make sure there are no dripping faucets or leaks under the sink. And check to see that your smoke detectors are working.

Speaking of Curbs.

What is the first image a potential buyer sees on the internet or driving by? If the outside of the house doesn’t look good, then no matter how clean and updated the inside is, they will pass you up for the house down the block. The yard, windows, gutters, walkways, etc., should all be in good condition. The lawn should be clutter-free too. If you have to paint, remember the rule of three – don’t use any more than three colors on your home’s exterior – one for the siding, one for the shutters and one for the front door.

Add the unexpected touch.

This is a checklist for home sellers I have put together, but there are always more details to consider. Homes do not sell themselves. It takes planning and effort on everyone’s part, 7 Reasons Why You Need A Realtor to Sell Your Home, to turn your property into a showplace. The payoff is the look on that prospective buyer’s face that says, “I want this one!”

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