6 things to do before putting your home up for sale
Listing your home might seem like the first step in selling your property, but before you put your home on the market, there are several steps you need to take to make sure it’s ready. Steps like deep cleaning, decluttering, and routine maintenance may seem modest, but they can help you attract more potential buyers – and more money – to your home.
“We want to give the home the best chance of the highest buyers to bid,” said Cari Turnbull, owner of Maine Real Estate Experts Cumberland. “All we can easily tick off is just increase that pool of buyers and the value you’re going to sell your home for.”
Here’s what to do.
Cleaning is perhaps the most important thing you can do before putting your home up for sale.
“Seriously, clean it up,” said Dolly Perkins, Realty of Maine broker at Dover-Foxcroft. “It is the priority above all.”
Double up on your regular spring cleaning routine to really make your home shine – wash walls, mop floors, scrub bathrooms, shampoo (or replace) carpet, and clean anything that needs a little bit of care. You might even want to hire a professional
“We always recommend that our customers do a thorough cleaning before going on sale,” said Turnbull.
One of the most important parts of cleaning is removing all odors, especially animal odors and smoke odors.
“Smell is important to people,” said Turnbull. “Obviously people love their pets, but we see a lot of animals that have taken over the house. Usually when we come across a smell of smoke, minimal deep cleaning is required. [and] it is usually sufficient to get rid of the carpet or replace it, as this will retain the smell. It’s a very, very harsh smell that you have to get rid of.
Perkins suggested renting an ozone machine, for stubborn odors, but warned the property should be vacant while in use.
Beyond cleaning, you’ll also want to remove a lot of your personal items from the house before you put it up for sale.
“At a minimum we get through, we take about 50 percent of what they have for the decorations and things on the walls and we take those things and give suggestions on the staging,” Turnbull said.
First, Turnbull said she would tell her customers to get rid of any items they don’t want to move. Then put the clutter away like any off-season clothing for the move (as Turnbull pointed out, you’re moving anyway, so you might as well take care of it now).
“If it’s summer, you don’t need 50 winter jackets hanging in your catwalk,” Turnbull said.
Turnbull said she recommends her clients carefully stack packaged items in the garage or basement, or even rent a storage unit until the house is sold. Cluttering the closets might not be enough.
“People can open them [and] see, “Oh, they’re just too big for this space,” or “This house doesn’t have enough storage because every space is filled with stuff. Often our customers rent a storage unit just to take things out of the house to make it appear more spacious. “
Items like family photos should also be removed from the walls for the sake of ‘depersonalization’, which will make it easier to sell the house.
“Depersonalization is an important thing,” said Turnbull. “We want people to come into the house and think this could be their house.”
Painting the walls in your home in neutral colors is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to add more value to your home and attract more buyers.
“Fresh paint is always an economical way to clean and dress a property,” said Dave Harrigan, owner and president of Maineland Appraisal Consultants. “For example, moving companies are always looking to neutralize a house, which translates into better marketing.”
Turnbull recommended removing any older wallpaper, as well as “strong” or “dark” wall colors.
“It’s a pretty inexpensive update that you can make to attract a larger audience,” Turnbull said. “We generally try to make it as neutral as possible.”
However, Julie Hammer, associate broker at Realty of Maine in Ellsworth, said not to worry too much if you don’t have the time or resources to paint every room in your home.
“A fresh coat of neutral paint is a good touch before signing up, but it’s not a necessity,” Hammer said. “A new home buyer may want specific colors, so it depends on whether the seller wants to take the time and / or the money to do it.”
However, it is essential to touch up any chipped, cracked or chipped paint.
“Take care of any cracked, chipped or flaking paint, as this will disqualify a home from [Veterans Affairs], [Federal Housing Administration] or the state of Maine’s home loan programs, without being patched, ”Perkins said. “Don’t leave paint chips on the floor.”
The same goes for the exterior of your home if you have a wood siding that requires touch-up paint.
“It’s an important thing for sure,” said Turnbull. “If you have peeling and chipping paint on the exterior of your home, it will not qualify for certain types of financing. We want this fixed. “
Check that everything is working
Test every switch, doorknob, faucet, and appliance in your home to make sure it works before you list your home for sale.
“It’s important to fix anything like this before it goes on sale,” said Turnbull. “People really want to have a property ready to move in.”
Be sure to replace any burnt out bulbs as well.
“We want to turn on the light switch and turn on the light,” Turnbull said. “You want to get these beautiful, shiny white bulbs.”
The larger systems in your home also need to be maintained.
“If you haven’t pumped your septic, we’ll ask you to pump it,” Turnbull said. “Same thing with your heating system, if you haven’t had it serviced in the last 12 months, we ask you to do so. If you have private water, you can do a water test. If you have a water filtration system, do this service. People love to see that you’ve done the routine maintenance on your home. It gives them good peace of mind. The more we can show that you have taken care of maintenance records, the more buyers we will attract. “
Security features are also important. Perkins said to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and install new ones if they don’t work.
Beautify the exterior
The curb appeal is important when listing your home.
“This time of year is a great time to start putting fresh mulch in your flower beds,” said Turnbull. “If you’re able to paint your front door, it’s a really cheap and easy way to add a lot of curb appeal and potted plants. Make this porch really pop.
If you have dirty vinyl siding, Turnbull also recommended power washing it. Perkins suggested painting the trim, adding planters or hanging baskets with flowers, and reseeding your lawn if you have bare spots.
Decluttering also applies to your outdoor space.
“Remove all unregistered vehicles, park the boat and campers [and] four wheels neatly in an inconspicuous place, ”said Perkins. “Get rid of all old building materials or projects.”
The season also counts for the exterior of your home. If you list your home during the winter, Turnbull said to continue plowing your driveway and clearing your driveway and patio of snow.
Consider updating high value rooms
If you’ve postponed this kitchen or bathroom update, you might want to do so before you put your home up for sale.
“Kitchens and bathrooms are what sells homes,” Turnbull said. “It’s a place where we say if you’re willing to buy new appliances, update your countertops – if they’re laminate, quartz, or granite – it would be really appealing to buyers and you would get it back. your investment. ”
Turnbull said that an easy thing you can do if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in a complete remodel is paint your cabinets a neutral color, like white or light gray, and then put on updated cabinet handles.
“It can totally transform the space without having to spend money on new cabinets.”
Additionally, Perkins said if you don’t have a GFCI, or GFCI, outlets in your kitchens and bathrooms, you should update them before listing your home, otherwise it won’t. not eligible for some loan programs.