Getting Your House Ready to Show

Work with Your Real Estate Agent

When your agent comes into your home for the first time, they will look around and make suggestions about what you can do to help your home show better and sell faster. Listen to your agent and take notes. Pay attention to their advice and do as much as you can within your budget. By making these updates and changes before the home is listed, you’re more likely to get positive attention from buyers and get an offer sooner.

Steps to Declutter Your Home

Buyers like to imagine themselves living in a home. If you have too much stuff, you limit their creativity and imagination. Clutter makes a home feel smaller and less inviting. Before you list your home for sale, you need to go through it and remove anything that isn’t necessary. This can be a challenging task for homeowners who don’t like to part with their stuff, but you can think of it as the early stages of packing to move.

Many times, sellers just aren’t sure how to declutter. They are so used to seeing their belongings around the house that it doesn’t look cluttered to them. The following power point presentation will give you a few ideas to get you started on the path to less clutter.


Get a Home Inspection

Your future buyer is probably going to have a home inspection done on the home to ensure it isn’t a money pit with a lot of major problems. Why not be prepared for what you will find out later by paying for your own inspection ahead of time? Talk with your agent and see if a home inspection before you list makes sense. While many sellers will benefit from this extra cost, those who live in older homes will get the most advantage from knowing what to expect.

A home inspection only costs a few hundred dollars. When you get the report back, you can review the items and decide what you will fix. Major repairs may need to be done for your house to sell, especially if they will come up in the appraisal. Minor repairs that you can do yourself or those that only cost a small amount should be fixed to make it look better to the buyer. A house in need of very few repairs will appeal to buyers.

How to Update Your Home on a Budget

Even if you know the value of making big updates, you may not have the budget for the task. That doesn’t mean you have to give up and do nothing. You can make changes that are low-cost and in some cases, even no-cost to help your home look and feel more modern.

No-cost Update
Remove excess furniture and reposition the pieces you keep in a room to improve traffic flow and space. You’ll make a room feel bigger and more modern without spending any money.

Low-cost Kitchen Update
If you can’t replace the cabinets and they look dated, paint them. Buy new hardware to create a modern look for just one or two hundred dollars. For a little more money, replace the cabinet doors. You can also update lighting fixtures, which tend to look out of style in just a few years.

Low-cost Bathroom Update
Follow the same idea in the bathroom with new hardware and lighting. Install a new faucet and low-flow showerhead. Buy a showerhead with spa settings to create a sense of luxury for buyers.

Low-cost Update Anywhere
Make your home feel brand new with a coat of paint. Choose neutral colors to appeal to modern buyers. Gray is one of the most popular choices because it feels more contemporary than tan or white.

Low-cost Curb Update
Add flowers to your yard to enhance the space. Choose annuals with bright colors, which are low cost and can brighten your yard.

Impress Buyers with a Clean Home

You may think you keep a clean home, but you have to take it a step further when you’re showing it to sell. Buyers will be looking everywhere, so a regular clean isn’t enough. Consider these areas when you’re prepping your home to show.

  • Wash windows inside and out. Replace dirty or dingy caulk around the sills.
  • Replace caulk around the bathroom tub if it’s gotten stained or dark.
  • Clean the grout around tiles in the shower or on the floor.
  • Wipe down walls from the ceiling to remove any cobwebs.
  • Clean off the tops of the refrigerator and high shelves that tall buyers can see.
  • Organize items in your closets and cabinets by putting them in storage bins.
  • Steam clean carpets to remove odors and make the carpeting look like new.

Make sure all odors have been treated and removed. This includes odors from cigarettes and pets. Even food odors and flowers can ruin a buyer’s first impression. When using an air freshener, choose a light scent because floral or citrus scents may not appeal to all buyers.
If you are limited on time, you may want to hire a professional cleaning company with experience in rentals and homes for sale to come in and clean your house. The expense will be worth it when you see how much better it can look.

Staging an Empty Home

If you have already moved and you’re trying to sell an empty house, you may think you have nothing to do to get ready for showings. However, this isn’t usually the case. If your home has been empty for a while, you’ll need to go through and have it cleaned, removing cobwebs and dust that accumulates from non-use.

You also want to make your home more appealing by adding furniture. You don’t have to completely refurnish the entire house, but you should add a few pieces in the living room and master bedroom at minimum. You can often rent furniture for a low monthly price with someone to set it up in the best design.

If you happen to own a few extra pieces of your own, you can save money and do your own staging. Set up a conversation area in the living room with a couple of chairs and an end table or coffee table. The bedroom will need a bed frame, mattress and coverings along with a nightstand or chair to make it feel inviting.

Window treatments and a few decorative items will add warmth to a space that often feels cold now that no one lives there. Put a vase of flowers on your kitchen island or a bowl of fruit. Plant some bright flowers outside in the flower beds. Hang a hand towel in the bathroom with a soap dispenser on the cabinet. The idea is to make the home feel lived-in even though you have already moved on.

Know Your Competition

Your home isn’t the only one on the market in your neighborhood. It pays to know your competition, so you can see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Visit other homes for sale, especially those that are hosting open houses. Walk through them as a buyer would, paying attention to layout, storage and design.

Make mental notes about what you liked about the house and what you didn’t. Pay special attention to anything you see in other homes that could be incorporated into your own home. Notice the reactions of other buyers at the open house to see their comments. Remember, they will probably say the same thing about your home.

Look at Your Home with Fresh Eyes

After touring a few of these homes, go back to your place and look at it with the same view. Figure out what you can do to make it more competitive or even stand out from those homes. At the same time, don’t go overboard in updates or remodeling because you won’t get your money back if your home doesn’t represent the neighborhood. In fact, elaborate renovations can prevent your home from selling if it puts it out of the price range of the competition.

No matter what you would like to do to make your home show better and ultimately, sell better, you should always talk with your real estate agent first. Get their ideas and approval before jumping into any projects. After all, they know what buyers want and will steer you in the right direction.