So you're preparing your home for sale. Think for a moment: you're getting ready to sell your car; what do you do? Have it detailed. Why? Because a car that is immaculately clean makes a statement: I am well cared for, in excellent shape, and a joy to drive.
If you are preparing your home for sale, the same logic applies and you should go after the home detailing task with the same fervor your auto detailer employs!
This is not an easy task. If you've lived in your house for years, you've grown accustomed to its face, its scuffed, cluttered and worn face. It may be difficult for you to see the small defects that will loom large in the eyes of a potential buyer. That's why I always do a careful and detailed walk through with my clients before they put their homes on the market; my fresh outsider eyes often see things theirs don't. Here is a list of the most common detailing tasks I ask my sellers to undertake:
2. Declare war on odors. Frequent use of Febreze is a good thing when your home is on the market, but there's more to it than that. If you know a showing is about to occur, pour a little Pine-Sol (or something similar) in kitchen and bath sinks and allow that aroma - the one that says fresh and clean like no other - to permeate the air. Don't forget to pull the drain before lookers arrive!
And that cat box? Change the litter daily if necessary and keep an industrial sized box of baking soda close by. If you've been smoking inside, you have a bigger problem, one that should be discussed with your cleaning service.
3. If you don't have an off-site storage unit, rent one. You're going to need a place to put so many things: unnecessary furniture, closet contents, garage items.
4. Eliminate clutter, especially on floors and in closets. There should be nothing sitting on the floor except furniture, and I sometimes recommend that some furniture be removed. Open, uncluttered floor space helps a potential buyer see the true size of a room. Closets, which are always too small, deserve special attention. Everything that will not be worn in the next three months should be removed, packed up and taken to storage. Hangers should all be of the same type and items hung neatly.
5. Focus on the kitchen. Organize your pantry. Remove items that will not be used in the near future. Clean out the refrigerator - trust me: people will look and it will make an impression. Make sure everything is fresh and appetizing.
6. Walls need to be in perfect shape. That means filling all of those old nail holes and touching up the paint. It may mean painting some walls or the whole house. Of course, neutral colors are best, but a whole house painted white or beige comes across a little institutional. A tasteful accent color on a wall here and there is a good idea.
7. A lot of people will tell you to pack up all of your family photos and get them out of there. While I agree that a wall of photos is a distraction that shrinks a room, a few nicely framed photos of happy people enjoying life communicates warmth. Choose and place them carefully.
8. If you have children, uncluttering can be a special challenge. It's ok to leave a few (that means two or three) favorite toys out, perhaps on a freshly made bed or table, but most need to be put away and out of sight. I sometimes recommend that families purchase a special hamper or laundry basket for kiddie clutter, fill it when a showing is imminent and take it with them in the car when they leave.
9. Bathroom linens need to be fresh and new. I usually recommend that new upscale towels be purchased and neatly arranged in the bathroom, and not used. They are for show.
10. Outdoor living space is a topic unto itself, but the same mindset should apply: detail your yard. Make sure it is edged, neat and healthy. And it is remarkable how a few pots of blooming perennials can make a yard and a house more appealing.
Seem too detailed? Fresh food in the refrigerator? Are you kidding me? It depends. Are you trying to sell quickly and at maximum value? The truth is some homes need more work than others when you are preparing your home for sale. Some need a little 'work around the edges' while some can benefit from professional staging. However, this basic list, when coupled with specific recommendations we'll make when we visit, should be sufficient to have your home looking, showing and selling its best.
If you're thinking about listing your home for sale in the new year, let's visit now so you'll have plenty of time to prepare for a grand market splash and quick sale! Call today (336) 790-5210.