Selling your house can be super stressful. You might be worried about the timing…will you have to pay two mortgages if you already found a new house or will it sell too quickly before you’ve found somewhere new? You might be worried about the cost or how much cash you will walk away with at closing. Or you might be worried about keeping it “show ready” when you’ve got three crazy kids leaving trails of destruction. That’s before you even start to think about packing up all 2,000 square feet of junk you’ve collected over 10 years of marriage.
These are all realistic concerns, but here is a simple list to tackle to make your home sale as smooth as possible. I find it easier to make a list and a plan to help me accomplish large feats that at first feel overwhelming and daunting.
1. Find a real estate agent that you trust.
This first step is absolutely crucial to a successful home sale, and an experienced agent can guide you through this stressful process to help put your mind at ease. If you don’t already have an agent that you’d trust with your biggest asset, you might not know how to even start. Well, I’d start with your friends and family in the area. If any of them have sold or purchased a home recently, they might have a recommendation. I always trust first-hand reviews from people with a recent experience the most.
If you’re still unable to find one, I’d go to internet reviews next. Look for people who have a lot of five star reviews; if they only have a few, they might be new or have only solicited reviews from friends or family. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple agents and ask about their experience and what they offer. Professional photos and/or videos are KEY to a good listing; some agents offer them and others might just use their new iPhone. Peruse the agent’s listings online and see which agent’s photos catch your eye.
Go with your gut. During your interviews, you might really click with an agent or you might get bad vibes with another. You want someone you can communicate with smoothly and unawkwardly. This home sale will affect you and your family’s life immensely so be sure about your pick.
2. Purge and declutter.
Purge. Purge. Purge. Go through those closets that you haven’t seen the back of for 3 years. Donate toys that your kids have outgrown. Toss out the broken lawn chairs that have been just taking up space in your garage. Not only will this help with getting your home decluttered for showings, it will reduce your packing! Two birds with one stone.
With every move, I’ve always regretted not taking more time to get rid of things. I usually end up packing until the very last second, which becomes more of “frantically throwing everything into boxes”, and I often have hauled items across the country only to throw them away when I get there. I waste time and money by simply not planning ahead and making this step a priority.
After you’ve purged, decluttering your house will make it more appealing to potential buyers. Less is more. Pack away all non-essentials. You can get a head start on packing and make your house show worthy. Again, two birds with one stone.
3. Make repairs and touch ups.
This is the time to replace the broken patio door handle and patch holes in the walls. When buyers first walk through your home, they’ll know if it’s on their list of “maybes” or if it might be the one. Don’t let an easy fix give them a bad first impression.
4. Make and keep your house show worthy.
Some sellers will hire someone to stage your home, and some real estate agents actually include staging in their listing package. If a professional stager is not in your budget, you can make a home look great on your own. If you’ve already decluttered, you’re off to a big start and Pinterest is a great resource for decor and staging ideas.
- Make sure there are no strange smells. Sometimes we can’t smell our own home so invite someone over and ask them to do a sniff test.
- Clean any spots on the carpets and walls.
- Arrange items on your shelves and tables neatly. Remember, less is more.
- If you can, buy a few new decor pieces and some plants or flowers.
- Keep your kitchen and bathroom counters clear. Hang fresh, matching towels in your bathrooms, preferably new, white ones.
- Avoid having any laundry or dirty dishes visible and try to contain things like piles of shoes in baskets.
Once you’ve gotten your home in a show-ready state, be sure to keep it that way. This can be so hard, especially if you’ve got kids or pets. It might be a lot of work, but it can help you sell your home faster.
5. Be flexible.
Once your home is on the market, and the showing requests start coming, be sure to accept ALL of them. I always make sure to be out of the house about 20 minutes before an appointment in case they are a little early. Also, make sure any dogs or cats are out of the house. It’s not always convenient for you to be out of the house for long periods of time if you have multiple showings back to back. Also, if your agent suggests an open house, be sure to make it happen. Being flexible and accepting as many showings as possible can only lead to one thing: selling your house!