Steps to take when preparing to sell.

Investing in the suggestions below may help you net thousands more on your home.

When you list with the me, your home will be seen by thousands through my unique online and print marketing. If you have not already set up a time to meet, I’d be excited to show you my cutting-edge marketing with professionally curated video & photography and how I use online and print media to market your home. I will sell your home like it’s my own asset to net you the most money that the market will allow.

Since most buyers will first see your home online, having it ready to go for the photo and video shoot is of the utmost importance.

We will work together to help you prepare your home. Please do not feel the need to have your home show ready before my first visit. I have sold and closed many homes and it is very rare that any home is 100% ready to go on day one.  They typically look like mine on a normal day with 2 children and 2 dogs!

Visit. I will take the time to walk through your home with you, room by room to discuss possible improvements that you can do with little expense. I will only suggest things that will help you decrease your days on market and increase your profit to help get top dollar for your home.  When selling, it is important to remember you’ll need to sell to the buyer, inspector, and appraiser.

Change light bulbs and update light fixtures. You will want your home to be as bright as possible and lighting makes an incredible difference. Make sure every bulb is working. We will have these all on for my professional photographer.

Retrieve boxes. Reduce clutter to get a head start on moving. Your home should appear clutter free so the new owner can picture themselves living there. Box up anything you are not using. Organize closets and pantries. Less is more.

Storage unit or garage. Consider storing any boxes, clutter, bulky furniture pieces & toys in a storage unit or neatly in the garage. If your furniture is old and worn, it may be best to show that room empty.

Make an extra set of keys. Prospective Buyers and their agents will need to access your home for showings, so you’ll need an extra set of keys for the lockbox. Showings are typically scheduled through an app called ShowingTime. We will both receive a text notification for all showing requests. Agents will only access your home upon approved showing by you.  

Bathrooms. Remove all the toiletries you have on display.  The counters should be completely clear. Invest in some new towels for the towel racks in all bathrooms. Shower curtains should be neutral.

Laundry room. Should be cleaned and organized. If you have a shelf above your washer and dryer with things on it, consider getting matching bins to hide items.  

Spruce up the kitchen. A kitchen can make or break a buyer’s decision to make an offer. You’ll want the counters to be as clear as possible. Clean inside the microwave and fridge (and remove the magnets, photos, and notes). Clear the decor on top of the cabinets, which can be distracting. If your cabinets are older, new hardware will make a huge difference.

Family and/or living room. Clean the sofa and chairs and consider investing in some new light colored throw pillows. Hide all clutter and wires from your TV/stereo/speakers.  Do this in all rooms, especially for photo and video day. A few family photos are ok, but less is more. 

Dining room.  The goal is simple and clean including the table having one centerpiece or nothing at all.

Bedrooms. The bedrooms should be inviting. You’ll need to clean and declutter. If you don’t already have one, invest in a neutral-colored duvet cover or a white comforter. Think of your last visit to a luxury hotel or model home and aim for all beds having a minimum of four pillows with crisp sheets. Remove bulky furniture.

Master closet. It’s a good idea to pack up or donate items not used in over a year (including shoes). Less clothing hanging and folded on shelves will help make your closet appear larger.

Plumbing. Take care of any known leaks or plumbing issues. Update dated faucets. Like the kitchen hardware, switching out the faucet can be a low-priced option to freshen the space up.  Remember, your home needs to be sold to the buyer’s inspector after an offer is accepted.

Store vs. donate vs. throw away.  Don’t pack anything that you don’t plan to bring to the next house. Consider donating.  The VA will pick up your items from your doorstep.

The entrance.  Buyers will have an emotional reaction to your home within 15 seconds of entering it and what they experience at the entrance is important. Your entrance and front yard should be clean, de-cluttered, and inviting. Paint your front door if needed, add fresh flowers to a pot, pull weeds, lay new mulch, get rid of cobwebs, and put away your hose. Keep front porch swept before showings.

Backyard. Ensure your yard is free of weeds, trimmed, and inviting. If you have a pool, make sure the tile is clean.

Personal Items. The goal is for your home to appeal to as many Buyers as possible. This only happens if they can picture their own items in your house. Walk through every room in your house and pretend you’re a buyer.

Paint touch-ups and re-painting. A fresh coat of paint is one of the cheapest ways to freshen up your home. Bold colors are a turn-off to some buyers, so to appeal to a broad base, take the time to re-paint if needed. Kitchen and main living areas should have neutral colors. Bedrooms can usually get away with bolder colors. Don’t forget about baseboards and ceilings – they might need a good dusting or some white paint. A Sherwin Williams palette that works great for most homes: “Accessible Beige 9 Color Home Paint Palette.”

Fix the little stuff.  This includes the leaky faucet, the picture holes in the wall, etc. If you aren’t handy yourself, bring in a handyman to take care of items. Replace air filters.  Again, you will need to sell your home to the home inspector, and you are aiming for “This home was well cared for” to come out of their mouth.

Get the windows cleaned. Investing in professional window cleaning before your photo and video day is well worth it.

Get the carpets cleaned. Unless your carpets are brand new, you’ll want to have them steam cleaned. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.

The final clean. While you can do this final step yourself, bringing in professional cleaners who will make sure to clean all the spots you miss is a good idea.

Make plans for the pets. Prospective buyers may not love animals and may be allergic. Plan to have your pets out of the house for showings, if possible. Remove all signs of pets for photo and video day (hide bowls, litter boxes, crates).

Make plans for the toys.  A few toys are fine if they are organized. Store the extra toys in a hall closet for showings.

Make your house smell good. It’s important for home sellers to be honest with themselves about the smells in their home and take care of the root cause, rather than simply masking them. A strong scent can distract the Buyer’s ability to decide. We don’t want buyers to walk in and think “What smell are they trying to cover up?”  I’ve shown homes to clients with a scented candle lit in every room, marijuana odor in the garage, and incense on the stove.  This typically ends with nothing more than exiting the house with everyone commenting on nothing more than the smell.

Staging. There are certain situations where some light or full staging may be recommended. We will discuss this option with you in more detail during our walk-through.

Photo and video shoot. When your home is ready, it’s time for the photographer and videographer to work their magic. This will happen a few days before we list your home for sale. Natural light is very important, plan to have all lights on and blinds up. We like to shoot in the best lighting possible, if there is rain or severe clouds, we may need to reschedule.  I can typically have your home’s website live and listed within 48 hours after the shoot. We promise that all of your hard work will be well worth it!

The final once-over. Take one final walk through all the rooms and adjust as necessary. Look for things that might turn off a buyer.

Showings.  Open blinds to let the natural light in and/or turn on lights. Secure valuable items, including medication, cash, and jewelry.

Final thought. I am here to help every step of the way. We are a team and if you need any help, have questions, or need referrals I have you covered!

Cara (312) 545-8428

Published by Cara Mossington

Cara has more than 25 years of real estate, marketing, and wealth management experience having been Director of Marketing for firms such as Northern Trust Bank and Plante Moran. She brings keen insight to the marketing of her client’s homes to get the highest price quickly and negotiating on their behalf when purchasing a new one. Cara holds a marketing degree from Michigan State University and is a formerly licensed investment advisor. In addition to helping community members sell their current and find the right new home, she is also passionate about giving back to her community. She volunteers at the Woodside Bible church Pontiac Dream Center and Habitat for Humanity.

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