You’ve lived in your house for years and know it in and out. It’s decorated to your liking and you know what features are your absolute favorites–and which ones you’re not so crazy about. Who better to sell your house than, well, you? Read on for our full getting the house ready to sell checklist. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be a seasoned expert!
Whether you’re holding an open house or taking pictures for your online listings, it’s important that your house looks clean.
We don’t just mean wiping down counters and washing your windows. We also mean tossing or packing away the things that make your house appear cluttered.
Not only does clutter make your home look less appealing, but clutter has actually been proven to cause stress. You want your viewers to feel happy and relaxed when they look at your house, not stressed and uncomfortable!
Try to keep most surfaces clear of objects that aren’t aesthetically pleasing. You can leave a nice bowl of potpourri on the coffee table, but you should tuck away the catalogs and chip bags!
Everyone has their own style and normally, we’d say go ahead and celebrate that! However, you want your viewers to be able to visualize their own belongings in your house. It’s a lot harder for them to do that when your personality is shining out from every nook and cranny.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to buy all new furniture or hide all of your decorations. It just means that you should pick a few statement pieces, like that funky vintage lamp in the living room or the grandfather clock in the dining room, that will show the versatility of your house without causing a distraction.
In other words, let the house speak for itself and think of your own belongings as place holders for the future owner’s belongings.
On that same note, you will want to bring back any vibrantly painted walls down to a more neutral color. As much as your daughter loved growing up in a neon green room or you loved your rose-colored dining room, other people might not feel the same way.
If you leave your walls painted in bright colors for the open houses or photos, viewers will see them as extra work on their end if they buy your house. It’s better if potential buyers can think, “I would love to paint that wall blue!” than, “I guess we’ll have to find a way to paint over that color.”
Repainting a handful of walls isn’t that costly or time-consuming. Neutral tones will help viewers feel more confident that your house is move-in ready!
Upgrade Where Needed
For every issue your house has when you put it on the market, potential buyers are going to see a chance to talk you down on the price.
Take note of what could stand to be upgraded and decide if the cost is worth it. Some upgrades are easy to pull off, like pulling up old carpeting for an exposed wood look. Some are a lot more costly, like getting old electric wiring or rusty plumbing replaced.
If you know there are major issues with the house, it’s even more worth your while to address most of the small ones. You might not have the resources to fix foundational issues, but you can probably afford to upgrade old fixtures and have drafty windows resealed.
Just remember that you will be expected to tell potential buyers about your house’s problems. It’s not unusual for a house to have a handful of issues. What you don’t want is for that list to become so long that potential buyers will wonder if anything isn’t broken or damaged!
Stage Every Space
It’s natural to neglect a room or two in your house. Maybe you never got around to decorating your bedroom or the room you planned on turning into a library became the home of your off-season holiday decorations and the trophies you won in middle school sporting events.
However, when it’s time to show your house off to the rest of the world, you want them to see how they can maximize its full potential. This is especially the case for smaller homes!
Once you’ve decluttered, grab a few pieces of furniture and stage the neglected corners of your house. It doesn’t have to be extremely detailed! Give viewers just enough to imagine how they can utilize the small rooms and odd nooks.
Boost Curb Appeal
The first thing most potential buyers will see when they’re considering your house is the outside view. Even when looking at listings online, many of the header photos will be a shot of the front of the house.
Once you know the inside is viewer-ready, the next step on the getting the house ready to sell checklist is to take some time to think about the outside.
If you’re not a gardener, give the lawn a trim and put out some potted plants. Repaint the shutters and door if the current paint is peeling or if a new color would improve the overall look. Clean your gutters if they’re clogged up with gunk and make sure everything is intact and properly attached.
Ultimately, you want to make sure that the first impression is a good one and that it doesn’t leave your potential buyers hesitant or uneasy.
Take Quality Photos
Studies have shown that most people read an average of 49% of the content they see online and that images tend to be a lot more compelling than writing.
Don’t rely on wordy descriptions to paint a picture for your online viewers. One or two shots on the interior paired with poetic details of the rooms not pictured are not going to cut it. And honestly, neither are blurry shots of every angle of the house.
Take quality photos with tons of natural lighting to show off your house. You want to prove to potential buyers that even though you’re not using an agent, you’re still serious and professional!
Know Your Dimensions
Just like descriptions can’t stand in for pictures, pictures can’t stand in for dimensions. Having an even balance of all three is the best way to give online viewers the full picture (no pun intended) of your house.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to find that information somewhere in the paperwork you signed when you bought your house. If not, it may be time to break out a heavy-duty tape measure and get calculating!
At the very least, you have to be able to tell potential buyers the square footage of the entire house. Without that information, they have no way to compare your listings to others in the area to make sure you’re offering a fair deal.
If you want to go above and beyond, provide measurements for individual rooms. If you have the know-how, draft up a floor plan that you can post along with your pictures. If not, go ahead and add those measurements in the text of the listing.
Decide on a Price
This is the part the FSBO sellers dread the most. Your selling price should reflect the property’s worth in comparison to surrounding real estate, but it should also enable you to turn a profit.
Start by looking into the average cost of houses in your area. Start with a quick internet search, like we did when we discovered that the average single-family home in Dallas costs about $250,000 and in San Antonio costs about $230,000. Dig a little deeper to find out how your regional prices vary by square footage.
Once you have a general idea, start thinking about your own expenses. How much have you spent on the mortgage? What kinds of fees do you have to pay during the selling process?
Remember that potential buyers may want to negotiate a different price than your asking price. Know not only your asking price but the minimum you’re willing to take, too.
List Your House on the MLS
Now that your house is listing-ready, you need to figure out where to list it. You know that taking out an ad in the newspaper and posting on Craiglist isn’t going to cut it. So where do you list?
MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service and it’s something that every FSBO seller should use! It allows brokers all over your region to access your listing without revealing your private information online. It also adds your listings to major real estate sites that get high volumes of traffic from potential buyers.
Because you’ve saved money by not using an agent, it’s worth your time and money to spend a flat rate on MLS. Your house will sell faster and you’ll be saved the headache of managing all of your listings yourself!
Complete the Getting the House Ready to Sell Checklist
We hope that our comprehensive getting the house ready to sell checklist has boosted your confidence that you can sell your house without an agent!
Once you’ve run through the checklist and are ready for that final step, get started with our easy online signup sheet. With one flat fee and 0% commission, you’ll be thrilled that your house is on MLS!