Selling a house requires a few important steps. You have to find a realtor, decide on a price and prepare the home for listing photos and an open house. A house that has work put into it will go further with buyers than one that’s being shown ‘as is.’ After all, people want to buy a house that feels new. And let’s face it: every house that’s been lived in could use a little work, even the ones that once looked like catalog homes.
Below are some open house preparations that sellers often overlook when they don’t put in the effort to make it look attractive to buyers.
A running toilet, leaky faucet, jammed window, creaky door or cracked wall could turn a buyer off if the rest of the house isn’t appealing enough to ignore the problems. Make a list of necessary repairs and spend a month repairing damages before the open house. Buyers might want to “try out” some of the features, so you’ll want everything to be in tip-top shape before that happens.
Your house likely has more things that you need, and it certainly has more things than your buyers want to see. Before you show your home, declutter it. Everything that gets stored in the closets and never gets used should go. Empty boxes, old appliances and clothes that no longer fit should go. Anything that isn’t beautiful or useful should go. Anything that you haven’t even thought about in six months should go. Before you toss anything, find out what you can sell, donate or recycle.
After you get the clutter out of your home, focus on getting rid of the grime, dirt and dust. Other than your usual cleaning, when was the last time you dusted the cobwebs under the furniture, cleaned behind the couch, scrubbed behind the toilets, wiped the windows and scrubbed the cabinet shelves? Could your shower use a good bath to get rid of mold, scum and stains? Is your carpet overdue for a shampooing? Does the grout in your tiles need to be scrubbed? Then it’s time for a deep cleaning to make your house immaculate again.
If deep cleaning feels too overwhelming for you, consider hiring professionals to stage your house for sale. Most homeowners spend between $122 and $167 nationally for a cleaning service. When you calculate how much more money a clean house could sell for, the cost could be worth the investment.
Hiring a service is beneficial for difficult cleaning jobs including carpet stain removal. Homeowners with pets have likely experienced an accident or 10 on the carpet, and anyone who has pulled up old carpet knows that the smell sometimes never goes away. A deep carpet cleaning will eliminate more odors and stains than a spot remover. You can still do your part to prevent stains from settling in by properly cleaning the spots as they occur. Avoid using heat, ammonia, or vinegar, as they can make it worse.
Staging a home makes it look picture perfect so it can be showcased for a sale. It can involve all of the above—getting rid of anything that makes the house look messy, removing personal items—and adding some pizzazz to give it an inviting and well-designed look. This could mean adding new décor and making sure everything is complementary or rearranging furniture to make the best use of the space. Some realtors will spend money to stage a house because they want to make sure the house gets sold, and they are willing to go the extra mile to pick up the staging props and do the set design.
When selling your home, you should leave your buyers with the “I could live in this, but nobody currently lives in it” feeling. Stick with clean, minimal and modern, but don’t forget to leave some personality in it. People don’t want to buy a house that feels used, but they should be able to picture themselves living there.
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