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How to Prep Your Home for Sale

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When you are so focused on your move and quite possibly grieving the idea of moving, it can be tough to look at your current home and prep for that sale. Deciding to sell your home is a big deal. You are closing one chapter of your life and literally shutting the door on it—or at least you will after some lucky buyer meets your sales price—but that time isn’t here quite yet. You still have to prep for the sale of your existing house.

To get the best return on your investment, here is a list of tips to prep your home for a sale.

Make Repairs

The first thing you need to do is make repairs. If you have been living in a home for a while, you likely have an entire list of chores that have fallen to the wayside—that cabinet drawer that always sticks, the piece of moulding that is loose in the hallway, the mark on the wall in the den. Now is the time to take care of all those seemingly little things. Consider the idea that if small issues, like a sticky drawer, could detract buyers, imagine the effect that larger issues, like a leaking roof, could have. You’ll need to take care of those issues as well. Your home needs to be in its best condition possible.

Depersonalize

Once you have fixed any issues in your home and made sure that the property is structurally sound, it’s time to depersonalize your space. “Buyers want to be able to envision themselves in your home, so remove anything overly personal, like family photos in the hallway or your kids’ artwork on the fridge,” explains Forbes. “To help buyers imagine themselves in your space, get rid of any art or other decor that might turn off people with different tastes. A classic landscape painting? Totally fine. Your zebra print leather couch? Might want to slipcover that for showings.”

But, that’s only the beginning. You will also need to remove any items that you would not include with the sale of the house at any price. A special chandelier, a family heirloom, an antique desk, your grandmother’s cedar chest and items of that ilk should be taken out of the house and placed in storage. During open houses, you will have strangers passing through. Something could go missing or become damaged. In addition, a prospective buyer could try to buy a piece from you.

Clean, Inside and Out

Next, it is time to clean house. A sloppy appearance could lead prospective buyers to think that you haven’t kept up with home maintenance. Also, a clean and neat home is just more inviting. It smells better and it looks nicer. People do pick up on the details, even if they don’t register it immediately. You will want to wash the windows and vacuum as well as do some deep cleaning. Wash the blinds, clean the stove, dust the ventilation screens, scrub the carpets, and pull out the furniture. According to Handy, an apartment with two bedrooms and two baths will take up to five hours to clean and houses will take even longer. You will also need additional time to clean the exterior of your home—scoop out the gutters, rake the leaves, sweep the porch—whatever it takes.

Small Upgrades

You will also need to make some small upgrades. A new coat of paint can go a long way to making a place feel fresh and clean. “As an added bonus,” said Mickey Conlon of the real estate firm Douglas Elliman, “the faint whiff of paint can be as alluring to home buyers as new-car smell is to auto shoppers.” Just make sure to keep it neutral. The wrong color could deter some buyers. This isn’t likely to happen with taupe, but it could happen with bold colors that some people will strongly dislike.

You might also want to spend some money on updating fixtures in your house—both plumbing and lighting—as well as buying a new doormat to welcome prospective buyers and a few items to spruce up the outside of your house. A few plants, a new door and a fun new exterior light fixture can really boost your curb appeal.

By Malka Abrahams

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