10 Things to Do When Selling Your Home

Whether you’re thinking about moving to a new space or to a new city, you’re probably considering parting ways with the place you’ve called home.

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As you can probably imagine, selling a home is a little more difficult than purchasing one, but the payoff can be worth it. One thing that many people don’t realize is that selling your home is quite similar to selling your car. To get top dollar, you wouldn’t sell your car without getting it cleaned, detailed & checked under the hood, the same way you shouldn’t just put your home on the market without getting it ready.

To get the most money for your home in the shortest amount of time, here’s our top 10 things to do when selling your home.

1. Declutter

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There’s nothing worse than walking into chaos. You’re already kind of weirded out that you’re walking into someone else’s home, but to also be thrown into all their stuff—that’s a lot. Time and time again, clients and I have walked into homes where the amount of stuff is either overwhelming (hello, condo living) or just doesn’t work with the space. When that happens, it doesn’t allow for a buyer to truly see the potential of the home as they’re mostly looking at all your stuff & how it doesn’t work in the space instead of focusing on envisioning themselves living there.

Go through your home room by room & ask yourself “What can I get rid of, and what can I box up for storage?” Less is usually more.

2.     Brighten your home

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Light gives the impression of space, so it’s important for every room in your home to have ample light at any time of day. Keep your windows cleaned, raise the blinds & turn on lights. If you’re in an older building with no overhead lighting, lamp it up with some bright white or daylight bulbs. 

3.     Organize

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Lack of storage space is one of the biggest deal breakers I see amongst my clients. When a buyer walks through your home to find that not all of your things can fit, they’ll likely think that theirs won’t either. It’s our job to show them how the space can be used.

This goes along with decluttering, but go through your closets, cabinets and pantries to see what can be thrown away or donated. Store the items you don’t use, and reorganize the rest to showcase how space can be maximized in your home.

4.     Clean

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You’ve been living in your home for years, and if you’re like most people, cleaning your home probably isn’t your strong suit. If you and I know that, potential buyers are going to see & smell that too. Let me tell you…it’s a huge turn off. Not only is it kind of gross, but it also says to the buyer that since you didn’t care enough in the presentation of your home that you probably didn’t take much pride in keeping it clean regularly, which could present further issues.

Give your home a deep clean from top to bottom—everything from windows, upholstery & carpets to the refrigerator & oven. Yes, buyers will take note of all of those things. If you don’t have time, hire a professional. Cleaning is a non-negotiable if you’re trying to get top dollar for your home.

5.     Paint

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A fresh coat of paint and a little spackle is one of the least expensive, most effective ways to enhance the appearance of your home. While brightening up the space with neutral colors, you’re also hiding any imperfections and nicks from over the years.

Yes, many buyers will probably repaint it another color, but fresh paint turns the space into a blank canvas that a buyer can see themselves living in.

6.     Hire a Home Inspector & Make Repairs

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You want to present your home in its best possible condition. To do that, you should hire a home inspector prior to going on the market so that you can spot potential problems & make needed repairs.

Take care of quick and easy repairs such as replacing a cracked window or torn screen, fixing a leaky faucet & changing burned out light bulbs. All of these items will likely come up during the inspection anyways and will be asked to be repaired or credited for, so you might as well take care of them ahead of time. It’s one less thing for both you and the buyer to worry about.

For the bigger items, try to fix what you can or hire a handyman or contractor, if necessary, otherwise be ready to potentially give a credit to the buyer.  

7.     Stage

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Truthfully, I think every home needs to be staged to some degree. We live in a visual world where we scroll through endless feeds of gorgeously curated photos. So, what’s going to make someone stop and click on your home? You need to stand out from your competition—not only amongst the other homes for sale, but also on social media as friends could have a friend who’ve been looking for a place just like yours.

Whether you hire the help of an interior designer/stager or we try to do it together, we’ll want to move things around, add some balance & design the space so that when someone sees those photos online and later steps into your home their first reaction is that butterfly feeling in their stomach of needing to make your home their own.

8.     Disclose Everything 

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I can’t stress this enough. By law, sellers must disclose exiting structural and mechanical problems, flooding, the presence of lead paint, information on radon hazards & other known defects to potential buyers. Withholding this information can have much more serious repercussions than the problem itself—think expensive lawsuits.

9.     Maintain the Exterior

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First impressions last. If you own a home or townhome, maintain your lawn & landscaping and shovel & de-ice walkways in the winter. In a condominium, pay attention to the area in front of the doorway to ensure it’s neat. You can make balconies, decks & patios inviting with potted plants & flowers, and make sure they’re free of mildew & stains.

10.  plan to Remove Pets during showings

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This is a tough one, even for me, but it’s usually best to have your pets outside of the home during any showings. Between allergies, smells and animals being animals, it’s usually less distracting thus giving the buyer a better feeling of your home. I’ve had to cradle some dogs throughout entire showings after their continual yapping to be picked up, while others barked incessantly from their cage during tours. One of my clients even had to basically run through an entire place because her allergies to cats were so bad and the little guy was there. Sometimes it’s just not a great showing environment.

I recommend taking your pooch for a quick walk (even if it’s down to the building’s lobby), planning for your dog walker to pick up your canine friend around scheduled showings or having an amazing neighbor pet sit your dog or cat during the typical <20-minute showing.

What are some of your favorite tips or questions about selling? Comment below!