by Megan Wild
The hardest part is already over. You’ve decided to list your house and go forward with your plans for the future. Now that you’ve taken the big plunge, you’re hoping to forge on with as little turmoil as possible. Pack, sell — go.
Luckily, preparing your home for the market doesn’t necessarily require major renovation, nor does it mean you have to spend big bucks to redecorate. Below we’ve compiled some simple, quick ways to make your house stand out from the competition and pave the way for a lucrative sale.
Depersonalize the Space
The good news is that your first packing task also checks a major box, so to speak, for market preparation. The things you most want to hold on to — photos, personal paintings and souvenirs, prized collections and family heirlooms — must be securely stowed away. It’s best if potential buyers can easily envision themselves in the space presented. Think blank slate.
After your personal possessions are hauled off, it’s time to look at clutter. Ditch cosmetics youhaven’t used in over a year, toys with missing pieces, outdated clothing and pantry items that have expired. Pare dishes down to one good set, and either box up or give away multiples of kitchen utensils and cookware.
Now that you’ll be spending the next several weeks moving, chances are excellent you won’t need special-occasion baking tins and roasters, or extra linens for a houseful of guests. Keep to the bare minimum, and your house will immediately start looking more streamlined. Feel free to pat yourself on the back and think about how fulfilling it will be to unpack in your new place. Transitions can be tricky, so it’s best to stay proactive and positive.
Ensure Everything Is Clean
Shiny and fresh is your mantra for this step. These little tasks go a long way toward making your home sparkle, without the need for an industrial deep clean:
- Wash windows
- Clear away spider webs
- Polish mirrors
- Shine up picture frames
- Freshen hanging towels in bathroom and kitchen
- Wipe down door handles and switch plates
- Remove hard water stains with vinegar and baking soda
- Open windows and create a cross-flow of fresh air
Straighten up Your Closets
At this point, with stage items and furnishings in a bright setting, it’s time to add that everything-in-its-place touch. Potential buyers will open your closets, and when they do, you want them to see order and alignment.
Take those extra minutes to button shirts properly and zip coats. Turn hangers so they all face in the same direction, and switch out the shabby wire ones with consistent white plastic or wood. Line up matching shoes and boots. Consider basket storage for accessories that tend to tangle like belts and scarves.
In the kitchen, alphabetize spices and arrange pantry items according to size. If you start feeling a little obsessive compulsive, remember this is all about the sale — you’re not turning into a crazy lady! Feel free to splurge on pretty glass containers for pasta, flour, sugar and bean storage. They’ll look sweet in your new home, too.
Make Minor Repairs
Nothing attracts scrutiny during a walk-through like glaring structural or material flaws. Evaluate your home with a keen eye and identify worn items that require repair.
In the kitchen and bathrooms, replace cracked flooring and countertop tiles. Re-caulk around tubs and shower enclosures. Fix leaky faucets and make sure ventilation fans are running smoothly.
Check all household windows and doors. Unstick any that are tricky to open and realign doors that do not hang or latch properly. Do the same with drawers, keeping an eye out for dingy handles and pulls that may benefit from replacement.
Patch wall nail holes and scuff marks along entrance baseboards with caulk and repaint a matching color if necessary. Replace burned-out light bulbs, too — and consider new bulbs with higher wattage to add brightness.
Tidy up the Curb Appeal
Finally, ensure your home makes an excellent first impression by spiffing up its curb appeal:
- Remove yard equipment and children’s toys
- Mow the lawn
- Plant bright flowers
- Trim bushes
- Cut back overhanging tree branches
- Sweep the walkway
- Splurge on a new welcome mat
- Hang attractive house numbers
- Straighten your mailbox and freshen paint if necessary
Congratulations! You’re already halfway out the door with packing well under way and a home ready to show. Hello, future — here you come!