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How to Get Your House Ready to Sell

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Home Owner Putting Down For Sale Sign Window World Hero 960

Steps to start selling your home

Are you ready to pack up to begin a new chapter of your life? Naturally, you’ll need a good sale price on your current home to improve the next one’s down payment. But if your home is dated and appears neglected or dirty, you’re bound to put off prospective buyers.

Fortunately, there are ways to boost the bidding price for your home and maximize the odds of seeing more cash in your account. Let’s explore nine things to do before selling your house to improve its sale value and prep it for moving.

1. Find the right real estate agent

Before doing anything else, remember that you don’t have to – and shouldn’t – sell your house by yourself. The right real estate agent can make the whole process easier by:

  • Listing your property on the MLS and other real estate agent-exclusive listing sites
  • Showing your house or hosting “open house” events
  • Giving you specific advice on how to boost your home’s value

So before undertaking any major renovation projects, get a real estate agent to look at your home and give you an estimate of its fair market value. Then, prepare to look at your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and make any updates and repairs that will help bring the highest offers.

a blue front door with the number “72”

2. Fix it up to bump up the price

Keep that hammer handy and partner it with a full tool chest. You'll need it for all the home repairs on your to-do list!

Take a thorough look at your property and note anything that could be fixed up with some elbow grease and old-fashioned handyman skills. Some common things to fix before selling your house include:

  • Broken light fixtures or dim light bulbs – replace the old bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives to show your home in the best light
  • House numbers near the door – make sure they’re attractive and easy to see
  • Entry doors and windows – repair cracks with caulking or weatherstripping (see below)
  • Leaky faucets, which should be tightened or replaced ASAP
  • Electrical issues, including broken outlets or light switches
  • Dated AC or heating systems – most buyers don’t want to purchase a house with a bad HVAC unit, so consider footing the bill for this to get a better price when you sell your home
  • Roofing issues, including gutters – a new roof can be a valuable amenity and an excellent selling point

Remember, once you get an offer, the buyer will have it professionally inspected. Anything you can repair now will save you a headache later.

3. Replace old, drafty windows 

Depending on your house’s age and other factors, one or more windows might be drafty, cracked, and a warning sign for a prospective buyer. It’s a good idea to replace any old and/or drafty windows with new energy-efficient windows.

If your old windows are unsightly, you can replace them with much more aesthetically pleasing alternatives. Not only do new windows boost curb appeal, they also can make your home’s interior look better by allowing in more natural light. Picture windows, bow or bay windows, and other new replacement windows can do a lot to shift home price haggling in your favor come negotiation time.

a driveway being pressure washed

4. Pressure wash the sidewalks and driveway 

Here’s an incredibly satisfying fix that will also help you get a bit more cash from your house sale. Buy or rent a pressure washer and spray down the sidewalks, front porch,siding, and driveway of your home. It’s an easy touch that makes your house look bright and new and elevates the first impression of your property.

When prospective buyers walk up a pristine driveway to your freshly washed front door, they’ll be much more likely to make an offer than if they took the same route from a grimy driveway to a dusty, dirty door!

5. Deep clean – appeal to the eye and the nose!

Before selling your house, extend the above cleaning tip to the inside of your property. Deep clean everything you can. No one wants to enter a home and see dirt or grease or smell mildew or pet odors. You may have become immune to dingy surfaces or unpleasant scents, but homebuyers have eagle eyes and sensitive noses. Clean everything, paying special attention to:

  • The kitchen, including counters, cabinet doors, and appliances – remove all clutter from surfaces
  • The bathrooms, making sure showers and tubs are mildew-free and the counters, mirrors, and toilets are spotless
  • The floors and carpets – give them a good vacuum or steam clean the carpets to remove dirt and stains
  • All windows, inside and out
  • All interior and exterior doors
  • The living and dining rooms – dust all surfaces, clear clutter, and make sure the dining table is clear of all dishware and debris
  • The garage – clean and empty everything you can to make it look larger

Deep cleaning is necessary to show your house if your realtor wants to host an open house event where you'll display the property to multiple potential buyers. It’s also good practice to be polite to prospective future owners. 

flower window boxes on a house with light blue shutters

6. Spruce up outdoor and indoor décor

Make your home look more inviting and more valuable by planting new flowers in window boxes and planters and by fixing up the décor throughout your house. Rearrange furniture to open rooms to traffic and make rooms appear larger. Declutter shelves of too many books or knickknacks. Allow the potential buyer to focus on the home with a sense of calm and simplicity.

7. “Depersonalize” your home and stage it for newcomers

Don't leave any personal pictures or trinkets lying around. In fact, it's a better house selling strategy to depersonalize your property as much as possible. 

Why? When a prospective homebuyer visits a new house, they want to imagine themselves living in the space. That’s a lot easier if they don’t see pictures of another family staring at them everywhere they walk – especially if they don’t have a family similar to yours. 

Therefore, you should remove: 

  • Pictures with you and your family members, at least before someone is scheduled to arrive for a tour – once they’re gone, you can put the photos back
  • Very quirky or unique knickknacks, statues, and decorations – it may sound boring, but simple and classic decorations are best when trying to sell your house
  • Bold or bombastic furniture that can dominate a room and make it hard for a homebuyer to imagine themselves decorating the space differently

Remember, the more items you remove, pack up, or give away now, the less work you’ll need to do when you move.

8. Paint if needed 

To make your home’s interior more inviting and fresh looking, consider giving your walls a new coat of neutral color paint, especially in living areas or the master bedroom.

However, remember to do the paint job carefully and with plenty of time to spare. The last thing you want is a prospective homebuyer wrinkling their nose at the smell of paint when they should be imagining buying and living in your house!

a kitchen with white countertops and black cabinets

9. Consider installing new appliances   

Lastly, if your appliances are old, clunky, or completely nonfunctional, purchase and install new ones. True, this will take a bite out of your moving budget, but it could help you earn a much better offer for your property. Energy-efficient or eco-friendly appliances are an ideal upgrade that gives your realtor another bargaining chip to use in pursuit of a higher asking price.

Prep your house for a great sale

The above tips aren’t just wise to bolster your home’s bidding price. They’re also smart ideas for preparing to move in general. A clean, clutter-free home is good practice and very helpful when it’s time to pack up and go.

Your friends at Window World can help you with any window and door replacement ideas that can add value and energy efficiency to your home. As America’s exterior home remodeler, we have stores throughout the country, so we can help with ideas for improving your home for sale or ways to make your new home truly to your taste. Schedule a free in-home consultation and quote. Or find a store near you.

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