Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home, it can be overwhelming to tackle the entire process of selling and moving. The best approach is to treat it like a project, break it into smaller tasks, and then assign individual time lines or due dates to each task.
Whether you’ve already found another home to buy, or are considering building a new home, the process to sell takes time. Make sure to allow at least a couple of months, and don’t panic if it takes longer.
1. Set a goal for listing your home
It’s the first thing you think about when it comes to selling your home: what’s it worth? There are a lot of things you can take care of when it comes to getting the house ready to sell, but coming up with a price shouldn’t be one of them. Find a realtor you trust who knows the local market and current trends. During your interview, discuss all the factors that are important for you to consider, such as:
- Setting a price you’re comfortable with
- Your timeframe for selling the home
- Negotiable items that could be included in or excluded from the sale
- The realtor’s marketing plan (photographs, staging, realtor tours, open houses, etc.)
- The realtor’s process for follow-up after a showing
- The realtor’s negotiation experience
2. Declutter and De-personalize
Once a plan is in motion, it’s time to take you out of your house. This (hopefully) won’t be your home for much longer, so you might as well start acting like it. Imagine cleaning up for a party, but instead of shoving everything into a closet, pack it into boxes and get it ready to move. Then take it a few steps further:
- Decide which furniture can be removed so rooms will seem more spacious
- Take down personal mementos (remember, it’s not your home anymore)
- Too much artwork, plants, and other “pieces of flair” can be distracting – less is more
- Pets are not to be seen nor heard – leashes, litter boxes, and food dishes should be hidden as much as possible
- The most important task: take all of the above to a storage locker (except the pets). Need help deciding on a size? Use ExtraSpace Storage to help estimate what you need.
3. Roll up your sleeves (or hire someone to roll up theirs)
Picking up after yourself is hard enough. Replacing torn window screens on the second floor even more so. The handier folks can take care of many of these tasks, but don’t feel bad about hiring someone else to do it either. You’re plenty busy with other stuff to worry about:
- Pressure wash your driveway, sidewalk, deck, and siding of your home
- Paint rooms with darker colors to a more neutral shade or white
- Have carpets professionally cleaned
- Arrange for any minor repairs
- Clean windows and screens
- Basic yard cleanup – curb appeal is very important – thin out the jungle or hire a gardener to trim, mow and plant some colorful blooms in the flowerbeds
4. The Big Clean
Hopefully you saved some elbow grease after the first two sections, because you’re going to need it now. Think of it as Spring Cleaning on Steroids. Time to start wrangling up those dust bunnies you’ve ignored under the bed. Trust us, it will all pay off in the long run:
- Clean unseen spaces, such as behind the refrigerator, the back of the pantry, underneath furniture, and shelving
- Dust light fixtures, blinds, and ceiling fans
- Thin out and clean all closets
- You DO do windows
- Wipe down counters, shelves, cabinets, baseboards, and… everything else
5. Staging the Home
Your home has never looked better! Now to make it even more appealing. If your realtor has a stager, make sure to take their advice on how to arrange the house for the best photos. Will a throw pillow look better on the couch than a “casually” draped blanket? The stager will know. Photos will get prospective buyers in the door, while all the work you’ve been doing up to this point will keep them from running away. Once the house is set, DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING! Okay, you still need to live there, but just make sure to:
- Put dishes away after every use
- Keep countertops, end tables, coffee tables and any other surface clear
- Make the bed and put away dirty clothes
- Put toiletries away and wipe down the sink after each use
- Stay in a hotel
We’re joking about that last one, but it’s important to make sure your home is in a viewable state at all times. Yes, you may have set times with your realtor, but you should be flexible enough to accommodate a motivated buyer. It’s like being on date – be on your best behavior.
Now you can relax and focus on looking for your next home or meeting with your builder about the home you’re building.