How To Prepare Your House For Sale

budget-friendly-ways-to-prep-a-home-for-sale    Prepping and staging a house. Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it’s not luck that makes that happen. It’s careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.

Here’s How:

  1. Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.
    • Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.
    • Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
    • Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
    • Say goodbye to every room.
    • Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.


  2. De-Personalize.
    Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there! You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live in this home?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”
  3. De-Clutter!
    People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.

    • If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away?
    • Remove all books from bookcases.
    • Pack up those knickknacks.
    • Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
    • Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
    • Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.


  4. Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets.
    Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:

    • Alphabetize spice jars.
    • Neatly stack dishes.
    • Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
    • Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
    • Line up shoes.

  5. Rent a Storage Unit.
    Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers scratching their heads and saying, “What is this room used for?”
  6. Remove/Replace Favorite Items.
    If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer she can’t have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.
  7. Make Minor Repairs.
    • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
    • Patch holes in walls.
    • Fix leaky faucets.
    • Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
    • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
      (Don’t give buyers any reason to remember your home as “the house with the orange bathroom.”)
    • Replace burned-out light bulbs.
    • If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!


  8. Make the House Sparkle!
    • Wash windows inside and out.
    • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
    • Clean out cobwebs.
    • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
    • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
    • Clean out the refrigerator.
    • Vacuum daily.
    • Wax floors.
    • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
    • Bleach dingy grout.
    • Replace worn rugs.
    • Hang up fresh towels.
    • Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows.
    • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.


  9. Scrutinize.
    • Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
    • Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
    • Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
    • Make sure window coverings hang level.
    • Tune in to the room’s statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
    • Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You’re almost finished.


         10.    Check Curb Appeal.
If a buyer won’t get out of her agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get her inside.

  • Keep the sidewalks cleared.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Paint faded window trim.
  • Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
  • Trim your bushes.
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.



Staging your home for TOP DOLLAR.

In any market, it’s critical to stage your house to when you are getting ready to sell. Regardless of the interest rate on home loans, the price of homes in your neighborhood, or the number of homes on the market, you will always get better results when you stage your house specifically to get it sold. Of course, we all have a visual image of what it looks like to stage a house – and it is usually a model home, or something you remember seeing in Architectural Digest or Downton Abbey, or one of the houses of “The Real Housewives of Orange County.’’

Let’s get down to the top two staging priorities for hopeful homesellers in today’s Orange County market.

  1. Clean and tidy – the foundation of a successful sale

Clean, dust, polish, vacuum, rake, sweep, power wash, mow and blow – use any or all of these techniques to make your home crystal clean. Now it’s time to tidy up. Put away everything. Pack up the legos, books, crafts, greeting cards, collections, hobbies, bills, magazines, bowls, canisters, dog toys – look around your house and complete the list. Take it down to the bare bones and make sure everything is sparkling clean and all your stuff is stored away. Even if it fills up your garage.

  1. Emotional appeal – The lure to bring in buyers begging for your house

Color schemes are great place to start staging. Pick a simple palette for each room or vignette. If you have dish cloths, canisters, napkins, dishes and glasses in all colors of the rainbow, pick two complimentary colors for your kitchen display and box the rest up – you are moving, remember? It doesn’t matter if the pieces you choose were in the extreme markdown bin or from the last neighborhood garage sale. If they look good together, are clean and well organized, you’ll get that “wow” factor – paying attention to detail showed that buyer how beautiful your house can be.

Display only two or three items on your countertops. Just saying “displaying items” should put you in the mindset that you are staging your home for a specific purpose – to entice a qualified buyer to make an offer!  That applies to all counters – kitchen, bathrooms (yep, all of them), laundry room. It even extends to the tops of buffets, sideboards, couch tables, dressers, bedside tables, and bookshelves. You should set all dining tables with matching plates and coordinating glasses. When selecting items to display, your toaster oven with the aluminum foil wrapped around the insert-able tray should not be one of them.

Look at each and every room with a new vision. Is your kitchen beckoning prospective homebuyers to come on in and start dinner?  Better yet, does it look like dinner is ready to be put on the table?  Does your living room look like the lobby of a five-star hotel or the sitting room of a penthouse suite? Does your master bedroom look like the butler just plumped your pillows and turned down your covers, and is there a designer chocolate on the pillow?

Does it look so inviting that you worry about coming home to find someone may actually be under the covers?  If you can say yes to most of these questions, you’re on the right track.  If your home is priced right, expect an offer to come in quickly!

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