How To Get Your House Ready to Sell: The ULTIMATE Prep Checklist

29 May 2018Home Selling

 

picture of homeowner working on house

Why Homeowners Must Put In the Effort

 

Did you know that selling your house is a lot like dating?

Let me explain…

When you go out on a date you try to look your best and impress the person who has chosen to spend some time with you and see if you are right for them.

Very few successful dates have started off without taking some time to invest in your personal presentation.

picture of a bad date

Selling a house is exactly the same concept.

When the market is in a “buyers” market that means homeowners have to pull out all the stops to sell their property at the price they desire.

And this could be argued as true for a sellers market also!

Admittedly, spending money sprucing the property up before selling is the last thing you want to do because it will add to the costs of selling your house.

However, failure to invest in preparation, maintenance and staging items will significantly reduce the selling price, and increase the likelihood of NOT selling your home.

The correct preparation and maintenance will transform an old and tired looking property into a glamorous and appealing home.

How attractive do you think a weed-laden garden, peeling paintwork, and broken lightbulbs look to prospective buyers?

picture of an old ugly house

Likewise, home staging is an essential part of the home selling process.

Don’t think that staging is just decorating a home.

It’s the full process of creating a move-in ready product for home buyers and bringing in increased offers for the seller.

It is a tried and proven technique because it involves highlighting the property’s features through accent placement, color choices, and furniture arrangement.

When you stage a home correctly, you ensure it is in pristine condition and it looks like an attractive investment to a buyer.

That’s what you want, right?

When you are putting your home on the market, you 100% want to put your best foot forward, when your home first hits the market.

In this detailed guide, we show you how to prepare, maintain and stage your home to make it market-ready and you get get the best results from the sale of your home!

Even if your home will be vacant when it hits the market, you will still want to go through this guide and make sure it looks it’s best. But you should also consider staging with rental furniture or even virtual staging of the photographs to properly market it.

picture of homes exterior

1) Exterior

 
 

Exterior Preparation & Maintenance

Let’s face facts:

Your home’s exterior is the first thing a buyer sees.

The good news is that you can brighten up the exterior of a property without spending too much money.

On the downside, it involves some elbow grease!

picture of a staged exterior of a house

Replace any missing fence boards and add some sod to the yard if it is looking old and decrepit.

Remove all the junk that has accumulated in the yard or storage sheds and mow the lawn while removing all weeds.

It is also a nice touch to plant some flowers in the beds for color.

Don’t forget the roof!

Replace missing shingles, deal with problems with siding and moss growth.

Get rid of leaves and clean out those gutters!

Here are all the recommendations you need to follow:

  • Exterior Preparation & Maintenance Checklist Items

    • Remove leaves and clean out gutters
    • Power wash exterior siding, porch, deck and walkways
    • Remove any roof algae or discoloration from shingles
    • Scrape and paint any painted surfaces that are peeling or faded
    • Repaint window shutters for a quick way to freshen up exterior
    • Ensure outdoor lights have new and bright bulbs
    • Clean outdoor furniture, remove any that is old and worn
    • Remove garden art such as bird feeders, garden gnomes etc
    • Remove bees/wasp nests and cobwebs
    • Pick up pet poop
    • Weed the garden beds
    • Trim shrubs and bushes
    • Remove excess kids furniture, play items, sports items, trampolines etc
    • Remove most extra outdoor furniture except main seating table and grill
    • Edge the lawn around driveway, sidewalks and flower beds
    • Wash windows both inside and outside
    • Repaint or replace mailbox

 
By the way, garden and lawn improvements could yield a 100% ROI in what you spend, and landscaping your property can add up to 7% to its value!

Exterior Staging

It is essential that your front and back entrances are warm and inviting.

Add a fresh coat of paint to these doors with a strong accent color is preferred.

Especially if your key lock box will be on the door handle and buyers will spend time looking at it while trying to get the keys.

If you have space on the porch, add some chairs and a bistro table, and replace or repair dated lighting fixtures.

If you have a deck or patio, pressure wash it and use a clear or semi-transparent stain.

Other useful staging tips for the exterior include:

  • Exterior Staging Checklist Items

    • Put down a new black front door mat without any personal information such as your last name
    • If needed, apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door
    • Put container plants on one side or both sides of the front door
    • Make sure you have front porch exterior lighting in place
    • If possible, install accent lights along walkways or highlighting the landscaping
    • Put down a fresh layer of mulch
    • Plant seasonal flowers in garden beds
    • Hang flower or fern plants from front porch
    • Disconnect your hose and put away in the shed
    • Utilize a bench or small bistro table on front porch for a “conversation area”
    • Ensure your grill is clean and cooking utensils and supplies out of site
    • If you have a pool, put away all supplies and arrange furniture around pool

 

picture of home improvements

2) Whole House

 
 

Whole House Preparation & Maintenance

Before you tackle each room of the home, don’t forget to pay attention to the flooring, windows/doors, cabinets/countertops, walls/trim, light fixtures, and other areas of the property.

picture of steam cleaning carpets

Prospective buyers notice flooring so you should deep clean your carpets if applicable.

If you have hardwood flooring, don’t waste money refinishing it unless it is badly damaged.

Instead, pay to have the floor buffed and scrub tile floors and grout; pay special attention to the bathroom.

Old-fashioned light bulbs have to go!

It is all about energy efficiency now and we also recommend getting rid of any bulbs you have that are below 60 watts.

If you have ceiling fans, remove them and replace with light fixtures.

Make sure there is consistency between all lighting fixtures and dust them to remove unsightly cobwebs.

Replace cracked or chipped glass in windows and replace old blinds.

If you have old or worn countertops, consider replacing them.

Otherwise, clean and polish them along with the interior and exterior of your cabinets.

Survey the paint on all your walls, ceilings and interior doors.

Remove old wallpaper and add fresh coats of paint where necessary.

Don’t try to create a bold statement in each room because the buyer will have their own design ideas.

If the walls have bold colors, paint over them with a light, neutral color.

The above information should cover the basics, but you may also want to remove dead plants and any bad smells such as dog odors or smoke smells.

Once the smells have been removed, consider running an air purifier for smoke or an air purifier for pets that will keep your house smelling fresh during showings.

It is also a good idea to clean and dust your furniture, paying special attention to the areas beneath.

  • Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Focus on flooring
      • Deep clean carpets
      • Clean and polish hardwood floors
      • Scrub tile floors and grout. If discolored consider a grout cleaning service.
      • Clean and wax any linoleum, vct or other vinyl flooring
    • Focus on windows and sliding glass doors
      • Clean your windows and sliding glass doors both inside and outside
      • Repair or replace any torn or missing screens
      • Repair or replace any windows or sliding glass doors that are cracked or cloudy
      • Ensure all windows and sliding glass doors open smoothly
      • Replace any broken or worn blinds
    • Focus on cabinets and countertops
      • Clean and polish both inside and outside of cabinets
      • Ensure cabinet doors and drawers open and close smoothly
      • Use a magic eraser to clean any scuff marks
      • Consider painting any dated or worn wood cabinets with a cream white paint. Make sure you use paint that is appropriate for cabinets and be sure to prep them before painting
      • If cabinets can not be painted and are very dated or broken, consider replacing them or refacing them
      • If countertops are worn or dated consider replacing them. If your market calls for high end granite or quartz you should replace with the same material
    • Focus on light fixtures
      • Replace any broken, burnt out or flickering lightbulbs
      • Dust all light bulbs and fixtures
      • Ensure all light bulbs are the same (bright white or warm white)
      • Replace low wattage light bulbs with at least 60-75 watt lightbulbs. More light the better.
      • Replace old, dirty and dark lampshades with neutral or white
      • Replace dated ceiling fans with light fixtures
      • Replace dated hallway lighting with white or brushed nickel flush-mounted fixtures
    • Focus on walls, trim, doors, and mantels
      • Patch any holes or dents in the walls and touch up paint
      • Dust or wash all baseboards, stair railings and fireplace mantels
      • Repair any water damage and repaint
      • Paint over any bold colors with a light, neutral color. Revere Pewter is a popular greige right now
      • Paint over any dated wood paneling with a light, neutral color
      • Apply a fresh coat of paint to any walls that are very scuffed, stained or chipping/peeling
      • Apply a fresh coat of paint (white semigloss) to any trim, doors, stairwell banisters that are very scuffed, stained or chipping/peeling
      • Paint all ceilings white, remove popcorn ceilings if possible
      • Remove any dated wallpaper and paint walls
    • Focus on miscellaneous areas
      • Clean a wood burning fireplace of all ash, burned wood
      • Clean fireplace screen and or doors
      • Clean, dust, polish and/or vacuum all furniture
      • Clean, dust and/or vacuum under all furniture
      • Remove old, worn, stained and/or damaged furniture
      • Remove any large space consuming plants
      • Remove any dead, dying or unhealthy plants
      • Clean and dust any remaining plants including fake decorative ones
      • Eliminate all pet smells and smoke smells

 

Whole House Staging

Staging your home’s common areas generally means removing a lot of things including the below items.

  • Whole House Staging Items

    • Remove all throw rugs (not area rugs) such as those in front of kitchen and bath sinks/toilets
    • Try to reduce as much pet items as possible
    • Let as much natural light in as possible and remove most curtains and window treatments. This is hard to believe but it will allow your home to photograph and show better
    • Remove any personal boards from walls such as bulletin boards or child behavior charts, etc.
    • Remove personal items like pictures of family, diplomas, trophies etc. You want buyers to imagine themselves living here and not you
    • Remove any paperwork with personal identification information
    • Remove all team specific sports decoration items
    • Remove all religious items
    • Remove anything that identifies with a specific culture
    • Remove any animal wall trophies (antlers, heads, etc)
    • Remove firearms or other weapons from the home
    • Remove any free-standing coat racks
    • Remove extra art or pictures on the walls, try to limit to 1 per room or 1 group per room
    • Remove extra televisions that are around the house, only have one or two in main living areas
    • Rearrange furniture to improve traffic flow through the house
    • Remove any extra furniture that is not needed to make the house look larger
    • Wall art should be hung at eye level for a 5’7 person
    • Consider decorative mirrors to make rooms look larger instead of wall art
    • Group decor items into groups of 3 with varying heights or styles
    • Consider adding plants into rooms that are dull or boring
    • Focus on closets
      • Remove all items from the floor
      • Remove as much as you can to make closets look spacious and not cramped
      • Organize and have all items in the closet hanging in the same direction and uniform

 

picture of clean kitchen

3) Kitchen

 
 

Kitchen Preparation & Maintenance

Almost every buyer wants an updated kitchen with brand new appliances.

picture of an attractive kitchen

While you shouldn’t spend big money making such upgrades, you can make some minor repairs to make the kitchen look inviting.

Paint surfaces as necessary, install some new fixtures and perhaps replace the countertops.

Replace old/broken appliances and have the kitchen deep cleaned.

Remove all rubbish containers and pet-related items and clean the inside and outside of your fridge.

Follow these useful tips:

  • Kitchen Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Ensure your appliances are in good working order, repair or replace if necessary
    • Ensure your appliances light bulbs are working correctly, replace if necessary
    • Clean stove including deep cleaning inside and top
    • Clean stove vents
    • Clean refrigerator both inside and outside as well as underneath and behind
    • Clean microwave both inside and outside. If hanging above stove be sure to clean the underside too.
    • Clean dishwasher and ensure no leaks
    • Clean or replace trash cans
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room

 

Kitchen Staging

Show as much of the countertops as possible which means removing appliances such as the toaster or kettle.

Add some decorative pieces on the countertop and kitchen island and if necessary, replace cabinet hardware with brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze.

Reorganize your cupboard and pantry and remove mats from the front of the sink.

Remove soap containers and old sponges and replace with moisturizing cream, hand soap and washing up liquid displayed on a neat tray.

Finally, shine up your taps and ensure there are no leaks.

  • Kitchen Staging Items

    • Try to remove everything from kitchen countertops such as small appliances such as toasters and coffee makers, containers, paper towel holders etc. You want to show as much of the countertops as possible
    • In the corner of countertops, you can add a piece such as a decorative plate or flowers in a vase to show depth and bring some color into the space
    • Consider replacing your cabinet hardware with new stylish brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze depending on your decor
    • You can also add a singular decorative piece onto the island such as a glass vase filled with apples.
    • Organize and remove extra items from cabinets, keep only essentials
    • Clear the refrigerator front from any magnets, calendars or anything else you put on there
    • If your cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling, remove anything your store or decorate from the tops of the cabinets
    • Remove any mats from in front of the sink
    • Consider adding under top cabinet lighting strips
    • Organize kitchen pantry, closet, and cabinets. Ensure open bags have clips, face items forward and use baskets or storage containers for loose items

 

picture of a staged dining room

4) Dining Room

 
 

Dining Room Preparation & Maintenance

The dining room is often overlooked but you can increase your home’s appeal by implementing a few simple tricks.

Display your best dining ware in a china cabinet.

Thoroughly clean the entire room and follow the common areas tips for the dining room mentioned above.

  • Dining Room Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Dust and clean room and furniture, including any dining ware on display in a China Cabinet
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room

 

Dining Room Staging

If your dining table is a fold-up piece, ensure it is at its smallest size to make the room seem bigger.

Get rid of extra chairs at the table (a maximum of four for a normal sized room and six for a large room).

Finally, add a centerpiece to the table that adds color and makes the area seem more vibrant.

  • Dining Room Staging Items

    • Remove any extra leaves in dining room table which will make the room look larger
    • Remove any extra chairs from around dining room table, only have a total of 4 (4 at sides) or if a large room have 6 (2 at head and 4 on sides)
    • Only have a maximum 6 sets of china on display in the China Cabinet
    • Do not set your table, instead close a centerpiece that is an appropriate size that adds some color and texture

 

picture of a staged bathroom

5) Bathrooms

 
 

Bathroom Preparation & Maintenance

The bathroom is arguably only second to the kitchen in terms of importance.

Obviously, you need to clean the room extensively, removing old and dirty caulk, cleaning mirrors and all surfaces, dusting vents, and deep cleaning the bathtub or shower.

However, you also need to replace cracked or missing tiles while investing in minor upgrades, such as replacing an old faucet, can brighten up the room.

If your tub is old and unpleasant looking, consider replacing it.

Finally, remove old wallpaper and invest in a new paint job.

  • Bathroom Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Ensure showers, bathtubs, sinks, and toilets are repaired and deep cleaned.
    • Remove old or dirty caulk and apply a new layer of caulk around bathtubs, showers, and sinks.
    • Clean all mirrors and glass surfaces.
    • Dust and clean all vents.
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room.

 

Bathroom Staging

You will really capture a prospective buyer’s attention if you create a ‘spa-like’ feel in the bathroom.

This can be achieved by decorating with candles and accessories like decorative soap.

Replace old and dirty shower curtains and liners with brand new white ones.

Remove all non-essential items such as extra towels and remove all cleaning items and bathmats.

This means viewers should NOT see razors, toothbrushes, and q-tips on display.

  • Bathroom Staging Items

    • Make bathrooms have a spa feel to them. Decorate with candles and new bar soaps and a couple accessories
    • Replace shower curtain and liners with new white ones. Especially if old out of date patterns
    • Only keep in the shower what is essential (shampoo, conditioner and bar of soap) remove everything else
    • Take all everyday products off the countertops such as toothbrushes, razors, q-tips, etc.
    • Remove extra towels, only have 1 or 2 on display and preferably freshly washed ones
    • Hide any cleaning items, especially toilet bowl brushes
    • Remove all bathmats

 

picture of a staged bedroom

6) Bedrooms Checklist

 
 

Bedrooms Preparation & Maintenance

The bedroom is always associated with rest, relaxation, and tranquility so bear this in mind when looking to sell your home.

First and foremost, you need to take a long, hard look at your flooring and make sure it is squeaky clean.

Repaint the walls if necessary and wash or dry-clean all pillows and comforters.

Replace your bedding if it looks worn or out of date.

  • Bedrooms Preparation & Maintenace Items

    • Wash or dry-clean all comforters and pillows for a fresh look
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room

 

Bedrooms Staging

The key to proper bedroom staging is to remove all clutter from the floors and furniture; this includes tidying up wardrobes and drawers.

If you have children, remove as many of their toys as possible.

You should also remove as much clutter from the walls as you can; the goal is to not only make the bedroom look bigger but also to enable the buyer to visualize how they would like the bedroom to appear.

Finally, leave as little furniture in the bedrooms as possible.

  • Bedrooms Staging Items

    • Declutter, remove as many items as possible from the floor and furniture
    • If a kids room, remove as many toys as possible
    • Remove as much from the walls as possible, especially anything that does not match the comforter
    • Remove any extra furniture that is not needed to make the room look larger

 

picture of living room after staging

7) Living Room

 
 

Living Room Preparation & Maintenance

Also known as the family room, the living room area of a home is a place to sit back and relax after enduring a stressful day at work.

picture of cozy living room

Once again, your biggest task is to depersonalize this space and allow the viewer to consider their own idea for the room.

Old and worn furniture is a killer, so get rid of it ASAP!

You should definitely remove any old pieces that don’t match the rest of the décor.

Obviously, the last thing you want is to spend money on new furniture for someone else to use!

Rather than buying new pieces, consider renting them for a short period as a tool to impress would-be buyers.

  • Living Room Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Remove any old or worn furniture, especially if you have an old chair that doesn’t match the rest of the decor. If your furniture is heavily worn, damaged or dated, then consider renting furniture from a rental company
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room

 

Living Room Staging

Remember when we spoke about depersonalization?

This means removing family photos, mementos, and other memories; along with TV remotes.

It is also a good idea to add some decorative throw pillows to add some color and a soft decorative blanket thrown on one side of the sofa is a lovely touch.

  • Living Room Staging Items

    • Take down all personal photographs and family items that show people this is your house and not their house. You want buyers imagining themselves living in your home.
    • Remove as much knick-knacks and decorations as possible.
    • Consider a couple new decorative throw pillows to add some color to the room.
    • Drape a soft decorative blanket over one side of the couch.
    • Hide all remote controls, magazines, and other daily items.
    • Create a focal point in the room to draw the buyers eyes to. Use a colorful object near the focal point and place the couch facing it.
    • Consider hanging a decorative mirror to make the room look larger.
    • Consider purchasing and displaying a coffee table book.

 

picture of organized closet

8) Hallways/Closets and Shelves

 
 

Hallways/Closets and Shelves Preparation & Maintenance

To be fair, there isn’t a great deal to consider in terms of maintenance and preparation for your closets and hallways.

Clean them thoroughly and in the case of the hallway, add a fresh coat of paint if necessary and remove old wallpaper.

It is easy to neglect the closets because they are hidden away but thorough buyers WILL check it out!

  • Hallways/Closets and Shelves Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for these areas.

 

Hallways/Closets and Shelves Staging

If you have any shelves in the hallway, clear them of all items.

Indeed, it might be a good idea to remove items such as shoe racks completely as hallways are small enough as it is.

Get rid of any political, religious or sports team affiliation items or risk potentially offending the viewers.

Another neat tip for the hallway is to add a large picture or a group of three photos together.

Clear out your closets to give would-be buyers an idea of how much stuff they can fit in there.

Remove all items from the floor and use no more than 2/3 of all shelf space.

Use wooden hangers for your coats and group similar items together.

For example, your pants should be together, shirts, coats etc.

Make sure all items hanging in the closet face one another or are hung in the same direction.

It is a nice and neat touch used in the retail industry.

Finally, organize any loose items into storage containers or baskets.

  • Hallways/Closets and Shelves Staging Items

    • Remove items from shelves so a maximum of 2/3 of space is used
    • For rows of decorative shelving, place taller books on lower shelves and shorter books on higher shelves. Also, stack some books on their sides and place a few decorative objects that match the books on top of the stacks
    • Remove any religious, political, sports teams, self-help and other items that express an opinion the buyers may not agree with
    • Remove as many items from closets as you can to show them off as spacious and have enough storage space for the new buyers
    • Remove items from the floor
    • Follow the retail merchandising concept called “facing” where you position all items in closets so that they face forwards or hung in the same direction
    • Group similar items together. Winter coats together, pants together, shirts together, etc. Make the closet look extremely organized
    • Organize loose items into baskets or storage containers
    • For coats use wooden hangers
    • For large hallways hang a large picture or group of 3 pictures together

 

picture of stage home office

9) Home Office

 
 

Home Office Preparation & Maintenance

According to Forbes, 56% of Americans now have a ‘telecommute compatible’ job.

In other words, there are potentially millions of people who work from home so if you have a home office, it’s time to spruce it up!

The majority of home offices are located in small rooms so your goal is to make it seem spacious and not claustrophobic!

Store your supplies out of sight; it is best to invest in storage boxes which you can label and hide.

Install shelves on the wall to make the most of vertical space and use neutral calming colors such as soft blues or beiges when painting the office.

  • Home Office Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Store all files and paperwork you don’t need for everyday activities
    • Stor all personal and confidential or client information out of sight. Be sure to set up a password-protected screen saver on your computers
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room

 

Home Office Staging

To give the illusion of space, remove all furniture but the essentials.

If you leave nothing more than a chair, desk, and rug, mission accomplished!

Depersonalize your space by removing personal items such as photos and accessorize by adding artwork to the walls and placing a plant on your desk.

  • Home Office Staging Items

    • Remove any big and bulky filing cabinets that take up a lot of space and store them somewhere else to make the office look larger and more appealing
    • Clean everything off your desk surface and leave only your computer and lamp
    • Declutter any bulletin boards or wall organizers. You can leave a few things but don’t have it looking overcrowded.
    • If you home office is not a dedicated room consider taking it down and making the room to serve its main purpose.

 

picture of neat playroom

10) Playrooms

 
 

Playrooms Preparation & Maintenance

It is important that every room has a purpose and homes with dedicated playrooms are certain to attract buyers with young children.

A thorough cleaning is essential and you’ll aid the process by removing toys from the floor and storing them in a dedicated toy box.

  • Playrooms Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this areas.
    • Inspect the furniture in the playroom, kids tend to be tough on furniture. Clean, remove or replace any furniture that looks like it has seen better days.
    • Make sure to remove any smells from the room, kids tend to have lots of reasons to make a room smell bad and you might not even know it.
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room

 

Playrooms Staging

As much as a playroom appeals to people with kids, it can be a turn off for a single person or a couple with no children.

To navigate this problem, simply stage the home for everyone.

As well as removing toys, add commonly used furniture such as a small desk or a sofa to help fill the space.

Take special care to clean all paint or marker stains.

Your children will doubtless be upset at having their living space turned upside down.

To help them with the transition, allow them to pick out their favorite toys and books and store everything else away.

  • Playrooms Staging Items

    • Be sure to put away toys, stuffed animals, games and anything else that belongs to your kids into boxes or bins and make the room look as tidy as possible.
    • Highlight the room as a playroom by making sure a few items naturally are around to define the room.

 

picture of a home garage

11) Garage

 
 

Garage Preparation & Maintenance

You’re confident that your home’s exterior and interior are pristine clean and ready for viewing; but what about your garage?

Traditionally, a garage is used to store your vehicles but in the modern era, we are more likely to use it as a storage depot.

As a result, it is normal for a garage to be filled with all sorts of things you no longer need.

Do an audit of your garage and dispose of items you’ll never need again. It will also prime it for staging.

Thoroughly clean the floors and pay special attention to oil stains.

If necessary, add a coat of paint and pressure wash the floors and walls.

  • Garage Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • Remove everything from the garage to get everything in order. Be sure to sweep and hose down the garage floor and if there are any stains then look into soaking them up and possibly painting the garage floor.
    • Pain the garage walls an off-white color
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room

 

Garage Staging

Remove all flammable items, chemicals and tools and dust everything; this includes getting rid of those awful cobwebs!

Make sure the garage door is working properly and install a smoke detector if you don’t already have one.

Move everything off the floor and store it on hooks or shelves to make your garage look bigger.

  • Garage Staging Items

    • Put everything you removed from the garage back in an orderly fashion
    • Store unnecessary items in storage or throw out anything that you can get rid of
    • Consider organizing all of your tools to present how well you take care of the things that take care of your house

 

picture of a clean basement

12) Basements

 
 

Basements Preparation & Maintenance

If you think everything is covered now, think again!

Last but not least comes the dreaded basement!

We’re not going to lie, there is a decent chance that the preparation phase will take a while.

For a start, you’ll need to clean the floors, remove cobwebs and check for wasp, ant, or termite infestations.

Remove as much clutter from the floor as possible and scrub it well.

Most basements face issues with flooding or moisture at some stage and if you’ve been affected by these problems in the past, parts of the basement will be in need of repair.

Check for water-stained wood, mildew stains, and cracks and repair them before placing the property on the market.

  • Basements Preparation & Maintenance Items

    • If your basement is finished, follow the preparation and maintenance items for the equivilent room above
    • Consider sprucing up the basement a bit with a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling if they are finished. If they are not finished, there is a special type of concrete paint for them
    • There is also a special floor paint for basement floors. You should seriously consider applying this because it adds a nice finishing touch
    • If your basement smells musty, consider running a dehumidifier and keep fans running for circulation of the air
    • Ensure “Whole House Preparation & Maintenance Items” was followed for this room

 

Basements Staging

The biggest issue with staging a basement is overcoming the darkness.

You can help matters by thoroughly washing your basement windows and raking out window wells.

Take down any curtains and remove all obstructions in the window to make sure that as much natural light enters the room as possible.

You can also surprise and delight prospective buyers by adding subtle decorative touches.

Examples include adding a rug or mat on the floor in front of the washer/dryer or adding a new shelf liner on the shelves where you store laundry detergent.

Would-be buyers won’t expect these touches and will immediately view you in a more positive light as someone who pays attention to detail.

  • Basement Staging Items

    • If your basement is finished, follow the staging items for the equivilent room above
    • Make sure your basement has plenty of lighting and doesn’t give off a dark and creepy feeling when buyers are down there
    • Store as much as you can in moving boxes or plastic storage bins to make your basement look neat and orderly. If storing items on shelves, keep the top shelf that is closest to the ceiling free from a lot of clutter because it will make the basement look cramped

 

picture of woman thinking

Final Thoughts Getting Your House Ready To Sell

 
 

If you’ve had your home on the market for a while without much success, it’s likely that you’re not preparing, maintaining and staging it properly.

Whether it is the broken light fixtures, overgrown garden, or smells in the kitchen, prospective buyers WILL find it and this discovery will cause them to flee in horror, or at least disregard the notion of buying your home!

We hope the guidelines we offered above proved useful and when getting your home ready for sale, make sure the answer to all of these questions is a firm ‘YES’!

  • Does your home give off an excellent first impression?
  • Have you de-cluttered all spaces?
  • Have you removed all traces of personalization?
  • Is the décor neutral?
  • Have you taken care of all major and minor repairs?
  • Does every room in the home serve a purpose?
  • Is the property exceedingly neat and tidy?
  • Is there a fresh and pleasant smell emanating from every room?
  • Does your garden space look well presented?
  • Do you honestly believe your house is sale ready? In other words, would YOU consider buying it if it was on sale?

If you answer ‘NO’ to even one of these questions, then you must not place your home on the market yet.

The modern homebuyer is extremely well informed and has no intention of parting with their money when there are so many alternative properties on offer.

If you leave repairs for a buyer, you can forget about receiving close to your asking price and will make negotiations that much more difficult.

If your situation calls for a quick sale and you don’t want to put in the effort to get your house ready to sell, then you should consider selling to a cash buyer or one of the “We Buy Houses” companies.

However, when you get preparation, maintenance and staging ‘just right’, you’re far more likely to receive several offers; this means you should receive your asking price at the very least.

Although there are cases where staging a home can be costly, for the most part, you should be able to make noticeable and significant improvements on a relatively small budget.

And once your home looks it’s best, it will make your real estate photographs look awesome!

 

picture of kris lippi
About the Author: This article was written by Kris Lippi, the Broker and Owner of Get LISTED Realty. He enjoys writing about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as others. Want to know more? Read more here.

 

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