Not sure how to get your house ready to sell? Fortunately, you can take steps before putting your home on the market to increase your chances of receiving a solid offer from a buyer. From cleaning and staging to repainting and depersonalizing, here are 11 things you can do to get a house ready to sell.
Research your local housing market
First and foremost, do your homework on the value of your home. Start by researching the local housing market through Realtor.com. Take a look at comparable sales in your neighborhood to figure out your appropriate listing price. Pay attention to the various comps’ square footage, features and location, and think about how they compare to your home. For example, your neighbor’s home may have sold for $1 million, but if your home is considerably smaller, you’ll most likely need to list your house for less. Of course, a reputable realtor should be able to assist with finding comps and determining a listing price for your home.
Find a listing agent
Speaking of realtors, we highly recommend enlisting a professional real estate agent to list your home. You should be able to find a realtor through Realtor.com and word-of-mouth recommendations. When interviewing a listing agent, ask about their experience in your neighborhood, connections to potential buyers and social media expertise. The realtor should be able to give you a thoroughly laid out plan for how they are going to sell your home.
Buy more light bulbs
Go ahead and stock up on light bulbs. When showing your house to potential buyers, all light fixtures and lamps must be turned on. For this reason, it’s important that all lights in your home have working light bulbs.
Give your house a deep clean
First impressions mean a lot. So, don’t let foul smells, dirty floors or dusty surfaces make a bad one on a potential buyer. Before listing your home (and throughout the selling process), give your home a deep clean. This means cleaning toilets, wiping surfaces, mopping floors, cleaning rugs and scrubbing bathrooms. Consider calling in the professionals (think: Stanley Steamer and a housekeeper) to ensure that your place is in pristine condition.
Declutter the home
Decluttering and organizing your space will go a long way in appealing to potential buyers. When a home is clutter-free, buyers can focus on the actual home instead of the excess junk, accessories and overflowing closets.
Call a handyman
When getting a house ready to sell, you should have your handyman on speed dial. Make sure anything and everything that needs to be fixed (think: locks, hardware, leaky faucets, running toilets, cracks in the walls, broken appliances, squeaky doors, etc.) is fixed before listing a home. Otherwise, buyers may think your home hasn’t been well taken care of, which can be a turnoff for many. Here’s why you should hire a handyman before and after your move.
Paint the walls
Now’s the time to repaint your home. Start by painting over those bright orange and green walls with neutral colors. Stick to whites, light grays, light beiges and “greige” wall colors. These shades will make your home appear bigger, brighter and more welcoming. Adding a fresh coat of paint to your home will also help cover the wall’s imperfections and convey a blank slate to potential buyers.
Stage your home
According to multiple studies, staging a home really can help it sell faster and for more money. Fortunately, staging your home’s interior can be easy and affordable. Don’t forget to also spruce up your home’s curb appeal when staging the home. After all, the outside of the home is the first thing potential buyers will see when they arrive for a showing. So, make sure that the grass is cut, the yard is landscaped, and the knick-knacks are gone (think gnomes and children’s toys). If your home looks a bit rundown, you should also consider adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior walls. Here’s our ultimate guide to home staging.
Hire a professional photographer
Given that many potential buyers search for homes online, it’s crucial to include high-quality, professional photos in your online listing. Without excellent high-resolution images, potential buyers may (sadly) overlook your home. So, before putting it on the market, go ahead and hire a professional photographer to snap photos of your clean and staged abode. Keep in mind that a realtor should be able to help with finding a photographer, so be sure to ask who they use when interviewing real estate agents for the job.
Rent a storage unit
When getting a house ready to sell, it’s important to declutter and purge your belongings to clear the house of excess belongings. If you’re willing to rent a temporary storage unit before selling a home, this will give you a safe and secure place to store all of your extra stuff when staging and showing the house.
Depersonalize your home
When selling a home, you want to strike the perfect balance between depersonalization and the appearance of a warm, welcoming home. This means putting away most framed photos, bulletin boards and personal items (think photo albums, magazines, toys, awards, etc.) throughout the home. Leave a few nice, framed photos around the house to make the home more inviting.
Tips for selling your house quickly and efficiently
Now that your home is ready to hit the market, here are a few tips for getting it sold quickly and efficiently.
- Invest in good listing photos – First impressions matter, so make sure your home’s listing photos highlight the home’s best features. Invest in a professional photographer who has experience with real estate photography. Your realtor should be able to help you enlist a qualified photographer so that you don’t have to search for one. Remember: You don’t need photos of every single room and closet in the home. Photos showcasing the home’s best features and selling points are a great way to entice buyers to schedule a showing.
- Plan an open house – If you’re willing, host an open house with your realtor to create buzz around the new listing. Open houses are a great way to attract all sorts of buyers and buyer’s agents. If you end up with multiple bids – or even one great offer – in one day, you might not have to show your home over the course of multiple weeks.
- Be flexible with showings – Showing a home to buyers is never convenient. But if you want to sell quickly and maximize your selling price, it’s important to remain flexible and accommodating when showing a house to qualified buyers. We recommend keeping your house as clean as possible and having a place where you can quickly dump clutter when needed, such as a car, outdoor shed or portable storage unit.
- Market your home effectively – In today’s housing market, your realtor must have a good deal of marketing know-how, such as using social media channels, emails, mailers and events to stir up interest in your home. A good realtor should be able to harness different marketing strategies to find potential buyers.
- Avoid over-improving your home – While it’s important to get your house in top condition when listing it, you shouldn’t tackle costly additions and improvements – especially if you want to sell the home quickly. Renovations can take months to finish. To sell quickly and efficiently, try simple improvements, such as decluttering, repainting, and fixing obvious issues, such as holes in the wall.
Putting your house on the market FAQs
Keep reading to find answers to the most ask questions about putting your house on the market.
What should you do to your house before you sell it?
What you do to your home before you sell it depends on its current condition, any necessary improvements that need to be made, and your chosen listing price. For instance, if you wish to list your home for a high price, you may need to make certain improvements to get your price. On the other hand, if you wish to sell a home as-is and not make improvements, then you may need to compromise on the price. We recommend asking your listing agent for guidance on both price and preparation for listing your home. You can also follow our checklist above to get your house ready to sell.
What should you not do before selling your house?
Most realtors advise not undergoing costly renovations or long, time-consuming changes to your home unless it’s necessary. You also do not want to choose the wrong real estate agent to list your home. Be sure to interview multiple agents and consider their pitches before choosing a realtor for the job. Choosing the right realtor will set your home sale up for success.
Don’t forget to also assess the local housing market to get a sense of your competition and your home’s value. The last thing you want to do is list your home too high or too low. The wrong listing price is probably the biggest mistake you can make when selling a home.
Finally, it’s important to declutter and clean when selling a home. Many sellers overlook the importance of a clutter-free home when showing a house. Don’t let your things (and mess) distract buyers from the house itself.
How long does it take to sell a house?
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it takes an average of 18 days for a home to go under contract from the time of listing. Of course, the amount of time a home sits on the market depends on a number of factors, including location. According to Realtor.com, homes located in the top 10 hottest zip codes of 2021 were under contract within three to nine days from the listing day.
When is the best time to sell a house?
In general, the best time to sell a house is considered the month of May, when homes tend to sell faster and for more money. Of course, the best time for you depends on a number of different factors. Your location, life circumstances and the overall economic climate all affect whether it’s a good time to sell a house. Before you list your home, make sure you’re really ready to sell it and go through the process of showing it to strangers.
How do I get a messy house ready to sell?
Cleaning a home before showing it to potential buyers is a no-brainer. First impressions matter and a dirty home may be a deal-breaker for many. To get your house ready to sell, we recommend first decluttering and purging items you don’t need. Whether you’re throwing it away, donating it or storing it, get as much clutter out of your house as possible. Once you’ve decluttered, you should be able to organize and straighten up your house more easily. You may also want to give your home a deep clean (or, at the very least, a light clean) to put your best foot forward.
How do I make my house look good enough to sell?
Besides decluttering, organizing and cleaning, it’s important that you stage your home with furniture and accessories. Not only does staging a home make it look more appealing, but it also helps buyers picture themselves living inside your home. The “2021 Profile of Home Staging” by the National Association of Realtors states that 82 percent of buyers’ agents claimed that staging a home helped buyers visualize the property as their own. By staging a home, you’re increasing the likelihood that it will sell faster and for more money.
How do I decide on my price?
Pricing your home right is the most important thing you can do when selling a home. If you overprice the home, it could sit on the market for a long time. If you underprice the home, you’ll leave money on the table. A seasoned real estate agent should be able to give you expert price guidance. If you want to price and sell the home yourself, take a look at comparable sales (comps) in your town and neighborhood. When comparing your home to other listings, pay attention to the square footage, location, features and amenities that it offers. You’ll need to look at a wide range of comps to determine a fair asking price for your home.
Ready to move?
So, you’ve spruced up your home, put it on the market and sold it. Congrats! Now it’s time to start planning your move. To find a reliable and trustworthy moving company, check our extensive network of movers. We make it easy to compare quotes from hundreds of long-distance movers and local movers near you – free of cost. All relocation companies in our network are licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your move will be in good hands. Best of luck and happy moving!