5 Simple Steps for Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Joan Wilson

5 Simple Steps for Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

The process of getting your home ready to sell can seem overwhelming. Every now and then I see a home that I really want to live in and then I take a serious look at what I would need to do to get my home ready to sell. Even though the task itself seems overwhelming, if you break the process down into simple, easy to do tasks, you can have your home ready in no time.

Where do you start? 

1. Clear out all the treasures you have on your countertops and shelves. You want to create a feeling of neat and tidy space. Pack up your treasures ad put them in storage. After all, you are getting ready to move, packing just gives you a leg up in the process. When people come to see your house, you want them looking at your house, not your treasures and family pictures. On small shelves, you can leave 3 items out, just be sure they add to the decor and they are not valuable or personal.

2. You want your home well-lit for showings, so replace burned-out lighting in all your rooms. Wash your windows and open your blinds and drapes so that you have natural light in every room as well. You may normally keep the drapes closed during the day, but now you want them open since natural light gives your home a warm, welcoming feeling, and creates more space. Remember, most showings happen during daylight hours. Be sure to clean the ceiling fans too. People may not notice the fans under normal circumstances, but when they are looking at buying your home, they do notice the lights which includes fans.

3. Clean and declutter your kitchen from top to bottom. The most cluttered room in the house is the kitchen. Go through all the drawers and pack away anything you are not going to use in the next 3 months. This includes dishes, silverware, pots and pans, and the kitchen catch-all drawer. People want a clean kitchen with plenty of open storage. You can’t change the amount of storage you have, but you can change the perception to one of ample storage. Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and put away any countertop items not in use at the moment.

4. Minimize the impact of your pets. Some people are not big pet fans, some are even allergic to cats and dogs. Make sure that you keep your pet toys and tools picked up. Clean up after your pets daily to insure your house and yard are ready to show and don’t smell. Put their food and water in a safe place where no one will trip over them. If you can, put your animals in a kennel during showings. You can keep them in the back yard if you have no other choice, however, then people can’t see your backyard. Don’t assume your animals are going to act normally during a showing. I have seen very sweet dogs bite and cats that never leave the house, suddenly run through the front door.

5. Remove extra or worn-out furniture and arrange remaining pieces to create smooth traffic flow and a feeling of spacious and airy rooms. Some of us have pieces of furniture that we love but have seen better days and don’t fit the room. It is probably time to move it out of the house while you are on the market.

Spacious, bright, clean and airy rooms are the goal. By taking these steps you will create a home that looks bigger, is easy to keep clean and will sell faster in less time. Remember you can only make a first impression the first time someone looks at your home.

Right now is a great time to get your home ready to sell. In our area, there is a lack of inventory and the average time on market is 2.8 months, which is a very quick sell. This is a seller's market for any home priced under $500,000. The median home price of a sold home in January was $190,000, up 20% from the year before. Pricing in February is continuing to rise.

If you are looking to buy in our area and can’t find what you want, be patient. There are homes coming on the market over the next few months. Decide what you must have in a home, and what you would like to have. You might have to pick a home that has what you must have and not everything you want. Pricing is already on the rise this year however, there is still time to buy a great house.

If you would like more in-depth information about your local market, talk with your local residential REALTOR ®. They will be happy to help you get your home ready. Make sure that they have the REALTOR® trademark next to their name to ensure that you are working with the best of the best.

Joan Wilson is an active REALTOR® with Long Realty in Sierra Vista and Cochise County. She is a member of the Huachuca 50 board, past President of Women’s Council of REALTORS®, and current President of the Southeast Arizona Association of REALTORS®.