Table of Contents
- Find out all these answers and more by reading this guide
- Keep This List of Things to Do Before Selling a House
Stockpiling boxes, packing, renting a moving van—these aren’t the only things to do before selling a house. Not if you want to sell it for a decent price, anyway.
But don’t worry. We’re going to teach you the best ways to prepare your house for listing so you get the maximum closing price possible.
Do you need a real estate agent? Should you worry about curb appeal? How do you get the listing photos to look right?
Find out all these answers and more by reading this guide
1. Learn the Market
First, don’t blindly accept the computer-generated Zillow house value you’re given. Get a feel for your local housing market and the housing market in general. You want to do this before you put in all the work of getting your house ready to sell.
The biggest reason is to know when to list your home. The time of year you list/the state of your local market will greatly impact the price.
For example, Bankrate reports that you can net thousands of extra dollars from your home simply by selling in June. This means you should list sometime in early May. Bankrate also mentions that selling in October or December is likely to lose you money.
Knowing the best time to sell your house gives you a deadline and lets you know how much time you have to prepare it for the market.
2. Find an Agent
As we mentioned, the location you’re selling your home in also impacts your ideal listing time. For this reason, you should seek the help of a professional real estate agent to help you maximize your closing price.
Make sure they have a lot of experience in your neighborhood. They’ll give you personalized answers on how you can prepare your home for sale.
3. Be a Stingy Buyer
It’s impossible to be nostalgic about your home and objective about things like pricing at the same time. In order to prepare your house, you must first prepare yourself to let it go.
Do this by putting yourself in your buyer’s shoes. Grab a pen and paper and look through your house as if you’re planning to buy it (And be kind of stingy about it).
Look for and jot down things that you (the buyer) don’t like about the home. This is the easiest way to see all the problem areas that need fixing. It also gives you practice detaching from the house emotionally.
4. Pack Your Personals
Your personal belongings show that this is your house. You want buyers to picture themselves in your house.
Start your packing now by boxing up those family photos and other personal items. Get all those homey touches that make the place yours out of eyeshot of those who want to make it theirs. This leaves space for them to visualize where their own stuff will go.
5. Declutter With Extreme Prejudice
To that same point, you want to leave as much space as possible in those listing photos—wall space, floor space, etc. Leave the bare minimum of furniture and appliances so it still looks like a habitable home.
Aside from this, pack, donate, or throw out everything else you can. There should be nothing on the counters except for maybe a toaster or coffee maker. If you have nowhere to put all this stuff, consider getting public storage.
Donating is the best course of action though. It makes it easier to get rid of things you don’t really need when you know it could help others. Plus, it means you’ll have less to move.
Now that most of your stuff is out, some reorganizing is in order. You’ll need to straighten out what items you have left so they are at their most presentable.
And this doesn’t just refer to items that are readily visible. Any buyers touring the house are going to want to have a look at that master bedroom closet.
Make sure you have any cupboards, crawlspaces, or other hidden areas cleaned out. It’s a very unpleasant surprise for prospective buyers when they’re expecting a wide storage space and instead, they see a pile of your junk.
7. Find and Fix
Let’s go back to putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What fixable problems made it onto your list?
Don’t just put the list aside. The leaky faucet, the squeaky closet door—get those problems fixed. Oh, and replace those burnt-out bulbs.
Now it’s true that it does you no good to spend an arm and a leg on repairs unless you get it back in the closing cost. This is where market research and your real estate agent come in. Based on these, find out if you’re better off selling as-is and, if not, which repairs are worth it.
8. Scrub It Down
With all the work you’re putting into these preparations, don’t forget about cleaning. Make your house as clean as you can and keep it that way.
Go deep. Clean the carpets and scrub the oven. Hire professional cleaners if it’s too much for you at the moment.
This seems redundant, but it’s not. It’s at this point that you need to take a second look for problems. With all your decluttering and cleaning, you may have uncovered some problems you didn’t notice the first time around.
A very common one is scuffed, stained walls. Homeowners are so used to these, they usually don’t notice them until half their stuff is gone. Now you can look over your house with a fresh perspective.
Find, fix, and proceed to step 10.
10. Don’t Forget Curb Appeal
If you haven’t already, make sure you include the outside of your home in all these beautification efforts. Outside walls and doors get scuffed too. Address any driveway stains and cracks as well.
11. Hire a Professional Photographer
Finally, all of these efforts are moot if your listing photos look like blurry garbage. After all the hours you’ve put in, it’d be a shame to let it all go to waste in this way. Hire a professional photographer to make your best look, well, the best.
Keep This List of Things to Do Before Selling a House
Don’t diss the list. These are the unavoidable, essential things to do before selling a house if you want to maximize your profits. Bookmark this list, obey it, and share it, please.
Lastly, these 11 tips are only the beginning. There are more ways than these to help your house sell. Check out more great home selling tips on our blog.