When listing your home for sale, your realtor is likely going to tell you to tidy up the place a bit, and may have some specific areas of concern and suggestions for improvements, such as painting, carpet cleaning, and other noticeable tasks. After working with many clients to get their homes ready for sale, we have found that there are several areas that are overlooked from our experience with home sale preparation service in Northern Virginia. Here’s a cheat sheet for you so your home is ready for the big day!
1. Front door, porch, or stoop
This space makes or breaks a first impression, as the buyer will be standing there for a few moments while the realtor opens the door. It’s often overlooked because many homeowners enter their home through the garage and rarely use the front door. The door should be in good working order, pleasant to look at, and cleaned up. Sweeping the stoop, removing spider webs, and cleaning the windows and sills will make a good first impression. If there is room, having a pretty wreath on the door, a seasonal potted plant (looking healthy), and a chair or bench will go a long way to making your home seem inviting, well-kept, and worth a look.
You may think that what’s in your closets is your business, but buyers want to see how much storage space they have to work with in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and halls. They will open the doors and expect to see some order, not a lot of clothes, linens, or miscellaneous stuff crammed in. Find out more about decluttering.
Just because it might be a little harder to get to, buyers are going to want to see the attic. Even if it’s not a storage area, they will want to be able to visually inspect it for leaks, pests, or other concerns. And if there is an HVAC unit in the attic, they’ll want to see that it’s in good shape, too. And if you do store off-season or excess items in the attic, you’ll want to straighten them out so a buyer can walk around safely without hurting themselves or your belongings.
Finished or unfinished, a basement represents extra space for storage, heating and water systems, laundry rooms, hobby areas, and everything else under the roof. Again, buyers are going to want to see these areas. While they’ll leave the detailed home inspection for the professionals, they’ll want to see for themselves if there are unexplained water stains or a musty smell, the age and condition of the appliances, evidence of pests, and the overall state of the space. Since basements are often where home owners store outgrown toys, clothes, outdated games, and other cast-offs, it’s important to clear out the clutter so the space looks bigger and the buyer can see the condition of the floors, walls, ceilings, and appliances.
5. Kitchen cabinets and pantry
You should just assume the buyer will open every door in the house (except maybe the refrigerator, but that’s been known to happen, too). If your pantry is overstuffed, or your kitchen cabinets have more dishes and drinkware than you’ll ever use, it’s time to declutter them. With all the gadgetry and specialty kitchen items in today’s age, buyers are going to want to see where you store your bigger items and how much room there is for theirs. It’s also a good idea to wipe down the outsides and insides of the cabinet doors and spaces with a wet rag – that will help make the kitchen shine.
Some people park their cars in their garage. Some people would like to if they didn’t have so much stuff in it. While you don’t have to empty your garage of bikes, sporting goods, lawn care tools, automotive items, a workbench and tools, old paint cans, and whatever else you store in there, it should be orderly and have room for your car(s) and clear paths to get in and out of them. Often the garage is the last stop before something is donated or tossed, so the decisions involved in decluttering this space might not be as tough as others inside the house. If the garage was finished with sheetrock and painted, but now looks scuffed up and spider-webby, it’s worth the relatively low cost to have it repainted after it’s been decluttered, so it can make a clean and fresh impression on prospective buyers.
7. Bathroom closets and vanities
Though it seems probably the most personal of spaces in the house, buyers will peek in here, too. All the prior decluttering tips apply to this space, as well. But one more tip is important: you should secure any prescription drugs or take them with you when you leave during a showing or open house. The same thing goes for any valuable perfumes or jewelry you might have in the bathroom or in a nearby bedroom closet. While we would all like to assume buyers are accompanied and watched by their agent as they walk through the house, it’s best not to leave out expensive items or prescription medicines where they can be taken.
8. Outside sheds or outbuildings
Though you will probably be taking with you all the contents of any outbuildings on the property, the buyer will want to see the condition of these structures, as well. We have heard of situations where a family of snakes or racoons has moved into an outside structure, only to be discovered when an unsuspecting buyer opens the door. That’s not a great selling feature, so it’s best to give these spaces a once-over as well.
This list might sound like a lot of work, in addition to the obvious areas throughout the house that need to be spruced up as you prep your home for sale. That’s why it’s a good idea to work with a Professional Organizer to tackle all the areas of your home. The quicker you get your house ready, the sooner it can go on the market and sell. To overlook these areas in the interest of getting on the market sooner means you’re leaving money on the table – a decluttered and organized home will influence higher purchase prices.
Home Sale Preparation Service in Northern Virginia
By taking the time to prepare your property from top to bottom, inside and out, you will present your home in its best light, which will make a big difference to how buyers will see it. When you hire a Professional Home Organizer they will notice that you’ve made the effort to help them picture themselves in the home. And if buyers can do that, you stand a much greater chance of getting an offer to purchase. Ask how we can help you with our home sale preparation service in Northern Virginia.