10 Things to Do Before Putting Your Home on the Market

Home on the Market

Getting ready to sell your home and start a new chapter? Whether you’ve been in your home for a year or decades, there are some things you can do to help get both you and your home market-ready.

How to Get Your House Ready to Sell

Preparing to put your home on the market involves everything from hiring a great real estate agent to implementing the proper home-staging techniques. Here are 10 steps to help get your home market-ready and sold. 

1. Understand Your Current Housing Market 

Researching the current housing market is a smart first step to selling your home. For example, you’ll want to understand whether you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market. 

In a buyer’s market, homes tend to stay on the market longer and sell for lower prices. To compete with other sellers, you may need to be prepared to offer incentives to buyers, such as closing cost assistance or home repairs. On the other hand, if it is a seller’s market, you may have bidding wars as housing demand exceeds supply.

You’ll also want to have an idea of your home’s current value and what houses have recently sold for in your area. A home value estimator can give you a ballpark idea of your home’s worth in today’s market. Knowing how much you could sell your home for can help you estimate how much you can put down on your next one. 

2. Find a Reputable Agent and Lender

Selling a home is a complex process, and a licensed real estate agent can help guide you through it. A real estate agent understands current market conditions in your local area. They will advise you on how to price your home, can help you negotiate and will be your advocate to give you the most favorable outcome possible. A real estate agent will also show and market your home to a broad range of potential buyers. Ask your family, friends and colleagues for real estate agent recommendations or connect with an agent online.

If you will be purchasing a new home, you’ll also need to find a lender. Look for an experienced lender that offers a range of loans, competitive rates and the opportunity to receive a mortgage.

3. Deep Clean 

Deep-cleaning your home before putting it on the market is essential to making a good impression on potential buyers. Go through every room and dust, scrub and vacuum. Clean the windows, furniture, doorways and carpets. You can handle this task yourself, or consider hiring professional cleaners to save you a lot of time and hassle. A cleaning crew can get the job done fast so you can focus on other aspects of your move.

Putting Your Home on the Market

4. Declutter

Declutter your home to create a spacious and well-maintained look. Take some time to reassess your space and ask yourself if you need everything you see. Consider storing books, knicknacks, loose mail and magazines elsewhere to create a more open and inviting feel. 

Find storage for everything on your kitchen and bathroom countertops. Clutter can be a distraction. You want people to look at your countertops and notice you have generous cabinet and closet space for all your items. 

And speaking of closets, ensure yours look as neat and roomy as possible. Give your closet a refresh – sort through all items and consider donating or selling things you or your children haven’t used in a while. Put those items you’re not ready to part with but aren’t using right now into boxes. Whether you store them in the attic, garage or a storage facility, they’ll be safe until you’re set to move.

5. Make Obvious Repairs

View your home as a potential buyer seeing your residence for the first time. That broken cabinet handle or wall scuff you’ve been living with for months can be a red flag for buyers as they may wonder what other flaws lurk behind the walls.

Your real estate agent can give you guidance on what jobs need to be completed. You may also want to consider hiring a home inspector who can identify priority projects but avoid making unnecessary major changes that could end up being a waste of your time and resources.

6. Work On Your Landscaping 

Curb appeal can help make a great first impression, and landscaping can play a significant role. Ensure your lawn is healthy and manicured, plant shrubs and flowers to add color and interest to your yard, edge walkways and remove weeds. Restain your fence and powerwash your patio. Consider adding outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s safety and aesthetic appeal.

Work On Your Landscaping

7. Stage Your Home 

Staging a home entails priming it for sale to maximize its appeal to prospective buyers. This step encompasses many of the above tips, such as deep cleaning and decluttering. It also involves removing personal items and arranging furniture and decor to highlight your home’s best features. 

In addition, staging requires painting over any loud colors with more neutral tones. Buyers often have a difficult time envisioning their own possessions in a home that is designed or decorated specifically for the current homeowner. Neutral colors, such as shades of white, beige or light gray, have timeless appeal and create a blank canvas that allows potential buyers to picture their own furniture, decor and personal style in the space.

Properly staged homes may sell faster for a higher price. The goal is to help buyers feel a connection to your home and picture themselves living there. 

8. Improve Your Lighting 

A light-filled home can make your home look larger, brighter and more welcoming. Draw attention to a room’s focal point with an accent light. Replace outdated fixtures. Make your home more energy-efficient with smart bulbs or LED bulbs. Add table lamps to dark corners. Take advantage of natural light by opening up curtains and blinds. 

9. Hire A Professional Photographer 

Many homebuyers today peruse online real estate listings when searching for a home. Ensure your listing is as eye-catching as possible by investing in a professional real estate photographer to take your home’s photos. 

A real estate photographer can take pictures highlighting a home’s unique features and attributes. They understand what angles to use and the optimal time of day to leverage natural light. A photographer can also make quick fixes to a room that will enhance the visual space—and pique the attention of prospective buyers. 

10. Depersonalize Your Home

The photos, collectibles and keepsakes throughout your home reflect your cherished memories, but when preparing to sell your home, it’s important to depersonalize your space by removing these mementos. You want prospective buyers to focus on your home’s distinct features and envision themselves in the space. Remember, your personal items will only be away temporarily; you’ll be able to display and enjoy them in your new home.

These steps can help you prepare your home for the market and poised for a successful sale. The preparation and elbow grease will be well worth it when buyers fall in love with your home and the offers start coming in. 

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