Spring has probably come faster than you expected, meaning you are supposed to have your house ready to be sold in just a few weeks, or even days. Well, fear not. Preparing your home for walkthroughs and selling does not have to be consuming or stressful. The following will help clean and make repairs to your home in a systematic fashion so that your life does not have yet another wrench thrown in the wheel.
Step One: Exterior. To begin, start by getting organized. Grab a pad of paper and pen. Then, take a stroll around your house. Make notes about anything that’s not perfect. Take your time because you are probably accustomed to the imperfections of your home since you’ve walked by them so many times. Perhaps you should take a friend or neighbor with you. Remember, this process shouldn’t take that long, as you are not fixing the issues right now, but simply identifying them. Are the stepping-stones broken? Are there any gutters that need to be repositioned or cleaned out? Do the bushes need trimmed? Does the house need power-washed or painted? Think of a few flowers that would brighten up your home for the spring.
Step Two: Interior. You are going to do the same thing with the interior of your house as you did with the exterior. Walk through each room slowly. Ask yourself a few questions. Are the walls dirty? Does the ceiling need a fresh coat of paint? Are the majority of people going to feel comfortable in this room? If not, what needs to change? Is there simply too much in the room? Decide what can be stored until you move into your new home (furniture, clothing, artwork, pictures, shoes, books). Are the doors of each room aligned and in decent shape? How about the carpets? Have any animals destroyed the area rugs? Does water leak anywhere – faucets, pipes, and shower head?
Step Three: Organize and Schedule. Now, sit down and start making a new list. Figure out the repairs that you can afford and make list of things you need. Do you need any new door handles? A few gallons of paint, a few brushes, and a roller? Try to get the larger repairs like plumbing and heating problems fixed before the Comparative Marketing Analysis to give the house a higher suggested listing price. Decide which contractors need to be called and set a date for repair. Then, realistically schedule when you are going to take the time to do the repairs. Choose anywhere from one to five a day, depending on the severity of the job. Do not overload yourself, but do not waste time. Try to schedule a few make up days, as unexpected events always occur and push you behind schedule.
Step Four: Clean. You can also start spring-cleaning your home at this time as well. Buyers actually react more negatively toward dirt than clutter. They assume that if you have let the cleaning go, that you’ve also neglected larger maintenance issues. So, do not just give a quick wipe down, thoroughly clean your home. Maybe you should hire a professional to give your home the jump-start it needs to be maintained easily. But, take this step seriously.
Step Five: Clear Horizontal Surfaces. Every horizontal surface such as windowsills, tables, night stands, dressers, coffee tables, counter tops, desktops, and sinks should be totally cleared off and thoroughly cleaned. Why? The less stuff you have around, the larger your rooms look, making the room open, inviting, and deceivingly larger. Once everything is removed, you can go back and add a decorative touch to random surfaces – but no more than one or two things. Fight the urge to put back picture frames and unnecessary candles. In the kitchen, try to keep only one or two things on the counters, such as the microwave and coffeemaker. Train yourself not to drop your belongings around the house, but rather put them away immediately.
Step Six: Buy a clutter collector. These large, flat, and plastic containers can be purchased at any hardware store. When you are told last minute that someone is on their way to see the house, you simply run around the house and throw anything out of place in this box – the mail, the kids homework, book bags, brief cases, socks, shoes, jackets, etc. You can then simply slide the box under a bed to show off your house.
Step Seven: Focal Points. Once your home has been cleaned, repaired, uncluttered, take another walk around the interior of your home. Decide what the best feature of each room is. If the bedroom has a walk-in closet, make sure that the doors are open for them to explore this luxury. If the living room has a nice view, make sure the windows are clean and are decorated in a way that attracts people’s attention. If the kitchen has a special set-up or feature, make sure that people will somehow be able to see that feature without hearing a sales pitch. If a room doesn’t have a focal point, try to create one. For bedrooms, try coordinating the comforter, area rug, and curtains. In the bathroom, invest in a few new towels and soap dispenser. If you have a fireplace, try to make that focal point, as most people enjoy that asset.
Well, you now have a lot to do. Good luck. Try to follow the laid-out steps if possible because they are prioritized for you.