How To Prepare Your Home For Sale: Part 1

May 25, 2021

Right smack dab in the middle of COVID the real estate market in my area started going mental. People were fleeing the cities enmasse and my coastal community was just the place people wanted to head to. Everything sold – from the most beautiful houses on the water to some of the houses that hadn’t been selling for years. Many, in fact most, homes sold for over asking price. Now that COVID is seeming to be on the retreat (AMEN) and companies are calling for in-person work come September, the market is seeming to cool – ever so slightly. A few months ago I wouldn’t have considered this topic for my blog, but today, as the market slows a bit (and interest rates go up, perhaps), you have to think a little bit more about how to best position your home for sale. Today we will cover 5 great tips and next Tuesday (6/1/21) we will hit on 5 more. Today’s tips all revolve around some type of cleaning, in one way or another, and they are things that will definitely help get your house sold, so here goes…

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.

Benjamin Disraeli 
Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

1. Clean Your Light Fixtures – Upgrade the Outdated Ones

Natural light is a wonderful selling feature for a house, but half the time that you show your house to a potential buyer the sun has already made its exit. Getting your light fixtures clean, therefor, just adds to the quality and quantity of light in your rooms. So, take the fixtures down, if you can, and give them a good scrub. If you can’t take them down, take out what glass you can and get busy. Cleaner light fixtures equal brighter rooms. Brighter rooms equal sales. And while we are on the topic of light fixtures, you really should consider replacing the dated ones around your home. If the 1970’s called and wants them back, it’s probably a good time to buy some new, more contemporary fixtures. Buyers often wrongly assume that light fixtures will be hell to replace and costly too. They can be, but most often they are not and you will see the return in your offers.

Photo by Vecislavas Popa from Pexels

2. Less is More – Clear Each Room of at Least One Piece of Furniture

Square footage sells homes – there’s just no two ways about it. Whether you have it or not is not as much of the issue as looking like you’ve got it. One way to make all your rooms look bigger is to remove a piece of furniture. I’m not saying to take the bed out of the main bedroom (although that certainly would make it look larger), but I am saying maybe take out the chair or the second dresser. The tiny room I’m sitting in right now (my den – my favorite in my home) has a couch, a coffee table, a console table, a floor lamp, a wicker chair, an end table and three plants on the floor in the corner. If I were selling right now, I would lose the end table that sits next to the wicker chair. The person sitting in the chair can also use the coffee table. The end table, although attractive, is superfluous. The room looks bigger without it. It’s not how I want to live in this room, but it’s how I can “sell” this room.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

3. Clean Your Closets – Yes, ALL of Them

If you need motivation to clean ANYTHING and I mean anything, read or reread Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. You will get rid of so much unnecessary stuff you won’t believe it. This book absolutely changed my life. The reason I recommend it for this tip is that clean closets are a must to sell a house. Everyone wants lots of storage in a home and the best way to convey that message (even if you’re a little thin on storage space) is to have neatly organized closets with not a ton in them. Can’t bear to get rid of these closet clutterers? No problem, box and label them and store them in the garage, a storage unit or a pod. Make your closets look good and the offers will be forthcoming.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

4. Hide Everyday Items That Make Your Home Seem Untidy

This cleaning tip is the fire drill you will go through before each of your showings or open houses. Make a list of things like: the dog bed, the kids toys, the dirty laundry, the food on your counters and be prepared to whisk it away for a showing. Given number 3 above, no you can’t shove it all into a closet; these messy things of life take away from how great your house is and they are a distraction to your potential buyers. When I was selling I had a couple of empty laundry baskets on top of the washer that all that stuff went into before a showing and you know what I did with it? I put it in my car. Yup! In the car with me as I drove off and my Realtor drove up. Getting this stuff out of sight gets offer dollars in sight.

5. Clean The Air – Make Sure Your House Smells Good

You have a cat – and guess what – all your potential buyers know it. That’s bad. You had fish for dinner last night – and guess what – all your potential buyers know it. That’s bad. A house that smells well shows well – plain and simple. This means that in addition to that list of things you’re whisking away as you leave, you’re also taking out the trash and cleaning the litter box. Bad smells turn people off. If you have a maintenance issue, like a leaky plumbing fixture or a dank basement causing the odor, fix it. There’s no way around it. Your house will sell faster because you do. Don’t think you have any funky smells? Enlist that friend that you know you can count on to tell you the truth – invite her over for a glass of wine – and a sniff – your house will be better for it.

What Else Is Good About Cleaning Your House To Get It Ready For Sale?

Even though selling your home can be really stressful, there are some up sides (besides the cash) to getting your house ready to go. One of the biggest benefits to making it ready is that you get to live in this bright, beautiful and newly clean space until you sign on the dotted line… Ahhhh!

Now For A Little Music Before We Go…

” The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.”

Marie Kondo

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    How To Prepare Your Home For Sale: Part 2 - Consignments Ltd.
    June 1, 2021 at 10:35 am

    […] tasks you can undertake to give your house the best shot of getting sold for top dollar (see: How To Prepare Your Home For Sale: Part 1). Today we will cover 5 other great tips that will help you put your house on the must see (and, […]

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