How do I get my house ready to sell? 5 steps before listing your house

  1. Get an idea of worth: Call a trusted Realtor and book an appointment for them to come to your home and get an independent, unbiased home valuation. A good, licensed real estate agent, can provide you with an idea(range) of what your home is worth given current market conditions. This is also your opportunity to find the right realtor to sell your home on your behalf.
  2. Locate and Consolidate important documents: Find your legal papers from when the home was purchased, a copy of the survey (for rural/large properties) The operating manuals for your appliances and HVAC system, notes about the paint colors you used on your walls and any applicable warranties are relevant for any a new buyer. At the same time, having a year's worth of utility and annual maintenance bills will demonstrate to your agent and potential buyers that you have nothing to hide.
  3. Repair/Replace: Take the time to write out a 'Honey-do' or 'Got-To-Do' List....and do those things. Fix the leaking dishwasher, have the furnace cleaned, septic pumped, re-shingle the roof if it's not too expensive. If there are 'big-ticket' items like windows, flooring, kitchen cabinets that need updating, consult with a realtor about the value they may add(or not) to the sale price BEFORE spending the money. Updated Kitchens, Bathrooms and Flooring are usually worth the money invested. If you CAN NOT afford to do the work before selling, get a few prices from contractors so you will be aware of what potential buyers will be thinking about discounting for their offer. A bidder may ask for $5,000 off the asking price for a necessary repair. But your research may show that update would only cost half.
  4. Update Your Curb Appeal:  The way your home looks from the road, and while walking to the main entrance is the first impression for all your showings.  If you’ve been planning on painting the door and the trim, repairing the fence, or fixing the cracks in the driveway this is the time. Power-washing the exterior siding and windows is a minimum investment and will give your home a huge lift. Cut the lawn weekly, plant some annual flowers, or (if you don't have a green thumb) buy some hanging baskets.
  5. DeClutter | Deep Clean: The first step in staging a home is to de-clutter. Putting away or storing(off-site) your mementos, decorations, unnecessary furniture will make your home appear bigger, and will make it easier for your potential buyers to imagine their things in your home. Have a garage sale, and donate anything left over to charity. Don't bring it back inside. Then clean. Really clean well. If you don't really care about the cobwebs around the light fixtures HIRE a cleaning company for a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning of the house. If you have pets, make sure pet odors are kept at a minimum.  Some buyers will notice the dust on the blinds, and think you haven't looked after the house. It will be much easier to keep a house clean and tidy when it's done well the first time.