10 Critical First Steps For Preparing Your Home For Sale

There are hundreds of articles out there telling you what to do to organize, prep and stage your home for sale. Many of them don’t address the key initial things I think are needed to get your home ready for sale.


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1. Dump and Sort: Paper and junk piles up and no one is immune to this. We all get busy and create piles. Even sorted piles look messy and can make your house appear sloppy and unorganized. I like the dump and sort approach. Take a basket or a plastic container and clear the decks, so to speak. Empty everything into the container then sort out what you want to keep, donate or throw out when you have the time. This gives you an immediate sense of cleanliness and the ability to do the actual sorting later. You might even find that once you experience the calm of clean and organized surfaces around you, you might be more brutal with what you want to put back.


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2. Top Down: Once the dump and sort is done, take a top down cleaning approach. Start at your highest level and work your way down. That usually means you’ll end up in the basement or in your storage space, which works out perfectly. By the time you get to this lowest storage level, you may realize that what you’re keeping can now be thrown out and/or donated.


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3. Clean It: Start with your ceiling and wall light fixtures then go to the top of doorways and high furniture, clean all of your artwork and mirrors, TVs, blinds, draperies and rods, then head to the furniture which you need to move to clean under and around it. Keep going until every surface is clean. Every inch. Most people wait to have their windows cleaned in the spring, but if you’re selling your house, this needs to be done immediately, weather dependent. I recommend cleaning the blinds and draperies just prior to having your windows cleaned.


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4. Attack the Baths: Take a good look at your bathrooms and decide what work needs to be done. Most people overlook this hot-spot of mold, grime and mildew. If you have a shower curtain, replace both it and the liner. For a glass shower door, check the plastic seals and the hinges to see if they need repair or replacement. For soap scum, check out my Pinterest page for numerous ways to clean it with homemade products.


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5. Lighting: This is very important. Make sure that all your lightbulbs work and that they are all the same high wattage. If you need to add a dimmer switch or two, do it – it makes a world of difference at a low cost. If your table or floor lamps are outdated, consider purchasing new transitional lamps or simply replace the shades if the lamps  are updated enough.


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6. Artwork: Again, this can be a simple fix. Many sellers don’t realize what an impression artwork can make to a buyer. It should be consistent in style throughout the house. While Grandma’s art may be sentimental, it’s best to store it when your house is for sale. Artwork sets a tone and can help give buyers a feeling of what your home is all about.


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7. To Stage or Not to Stage: So, what does staging really mean? It can run the gamut of a complete makeover to editing your belongings, having you purchase household items, or have you rent the items you need for as long as your house is on the market. Each house is individual in its needs and only a professional Realtor or stager can help you decide which is the right path for you.


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8. Landscaping and Curb Appeal: This is the first impression that both your buyers and the agents who show your house will have. If your home doesn’t look appealing and well-kept, both will likely pass on it and go to the next. Even in the dead of winter you can clean up the yard and have beautiful planters filled with winter greenery at each primary entrance to your home.


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9. The Front Door: So, think about it – while the real estate agent is opening up your door or lock-box, what is the buyer doing? They are looking around at everything in sight. They can be looking at cobwebs and dirt, peeling paint and mold, or they can be looking at beautiful planters and accessories, a new door mat and a welcoming entryway.

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10. Smell: We all love our pets, spicy food and fish dinners, but this is no time for any of those smells to be overwhelming or obvious. A beautifully scented candle is great, but don’t overwhelm your space with strong scents. Suspicious buyers will think you’re trying to cover up something more evil than last night’s dinner.


Keep visiting this site for more steps to prepare and sell your home!


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