Here are 11 Things Most People Forget
You’ve started on your lists of small repairs,
you’ve contacted a real estate agent, and now you’re in the final steps of
getting ready to sell your house. But before you put your home up for sale, and
certainly before having your first open house, here are 11 things to consider
that most home sellers forget to think about and could cost you a sale.
Declutter and Organize Your Closets and Cabinets
Sure, you went through your entire house and
reduced the clutter in each room, organized your desk and other surfaces, and
arranged your collection of antique ceramic kitty figurines to be facing
perpendicular to the window. However, did you tackle your closets and cabinets?
One thing you should definitely expect during
an open house or individual home tours is that potential homebuyers will be
looking in your closets, kitchen drawers and cabinets. Will your walk-in closet
fit all of his shoes and her summer dresses? Is there enough storage space in
your kitchen for their cookware, bakeware, and all the kitchen gadgets that
they seem to collect each year? These are all questions homebuyers will be
asking themselves as they walk through your home.
Of course, you as a home seller will have no
idea what the needs are of a potential homebuyer, but you can definitely showcase
what your house has to offer in terms of storage. Start by decluttering your
closets, cabinets, and drawers, and then keeping only enough belongings in each
to really show off the potential that space has to offer. Think of it as an
extension of staging your home, but for your storage areas.
Clean Stains and Eliminate Odors
We should all consider small stains, marks,
and other imperfections as badges of honor for a house that has been lived in
for years. Nonetheless, these slight bumps and bruises your home has
encountered over time will stick out to potential homebuyers, so tackle them
Begin by trying to put yourself in the shoes
of a potential homebuyer and look at your house objectively. Start by going
outside and then re-entering your house as if you didn’t actually own it but
were an interested homebuyer looking at it for the first time. What do you see?
Walk through every room and take note of all the imperfections you notice. You
might surprise yourself with how quickly your list grows. You can then add them
to your list of repairs so you can make your house truly be at its best before
your first open house.
Also, if you have pets there is a strong
possibility that your home has an odor which you can no longer smell. Deep
cleaning your house is a sure fire way to help eliminate these odors, but also
think about using an odor eliminating spray every day for about a week before
your first open house. You can also place plugin room fresheners that offer a
great crisp smell, like cucumber, to help infuse a sense of cleanliness
throughout your house.
Replace Light Bulbs
Walk through each room in your house and look
at every light bulb to see if it’s working. As homeowners, we sometimes forget
to immediately replace a lightbulb when it goes out. You want your house to be
at its brightest when new homebuyers are touring your home and replacing old
burnt out light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to do it.
Also, don’t forget to walk around the outside
of your house to make sure all the lights of your home’s exterior are working
as well. Depending on the time of year, your open house or home tours could
happen when the sun is going down or when it’s already dark. So be sure to make
your house shine inside and out!
Pro tip: Make sure all your light bulbs are
the same color temperature inside your house as well as outside. A soft-white
light LED bulb can create a bright but welcoming environment for new
Think About the Small Details: Plants, Mirrors, Rugs
Consider each room’s individual
characteristics, so you can really showcase the potential every room in your
house can offer. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while you start prepping every space for an exceptional open house experience.
little green to your spaces
Nothing breathes life into a room more than a
little greenery. A potted tree can work wonders in a living room, but for
smaller areas think smaller plants such as a small potted herb garden in the
kitchen or a miniature cactus on the mantel.
even the smallest rooms
Mirrors can make small spaces seem large
because they create the illusion of depth. Mirrors also work wonders in darker
rooms as they reflect light deep into areas of a room that may not receive an
abundance of natural light.
character to an otherwise unimpressive space
While staging your home, think about adding
character to various spaces with rugs. However, keep in mind that you want to
use rugs to enhance a space, not be the focal point of it. Also, if you have a
strange space that you never really figured out a good use for, a rug could at
least offer a little personality while leaving the space and its potential to
the imaginations of homebuyers.
Enhance Your Outdoor Space
You’re probably already aware that enhancing
your curb appeal is one of the most impactful things you can do to create a
great first impression. However, you don’t want to forget about your other
outdoor areas, such as your front porch or entrance, your back entrance, side
yard, and backyard. You want to enhance your outdoor spaces around the house so
potential buyers can see themselves living as much outside your house as
Simple enhancements like placing potted plants
to your front entrance or adding fresh beauty bark around the base of your
hedges and trees can go a long way. If you don’t already have a designated
outdoor space for entertaining, think about building a DIY fire pit and adding four
Adirondack chairs to create the idea of outdoor fun. Ultimately, your outdoor
space can be just as important of a space as what your home has to offer on the
Get Professional (Aerial) Photography
By now your research has probably shown you
that homes with professional photos sell for more and spend
less time on the market on average. What you may not have considered
is adding aerial photography to your listing photos.
Aerial photography can show off your entire
property, a scenic view, and the surrounding area. If you have a lot of property, an aerial shot
can easily put into perspective the full scope all your land has to offer to
Furthermore, aerial photography has come a
long way thanks to the rapid development of drone technology, resulting in
reasonable pricing that is accessible for many homeowners today. For higher-end
listings, drones can even capture video of your property, helping it stand out
among the hundreds of other homes for sale.
Don’t Forget About Your Gutters
Imagine that you’re having your first open
house and despite the rain, foot traffic has been steadily increasing all
morning. Your house looks immaculate, like one of those home’s off of an HGTV
show, and your real estate agent has been messaging you updates every hour
about how great it’s going. But then the unexpected happens. A small stream of
water starts coming down right in front of your large bay window in the living
room. The stream is outside the house, but your would-be buyers watch on as it
grows into a miniature waterfall.
Red flags go up for the homebuyers touring
your house as the foot traffic thins then disappears altogether. What they didn’t
see was that the spillage was the result of a clogged gutter, nothing more,
causing water to spill over in a very inopportune place and at the worst time.
Depending on where you live, you may not see
as much rain in locations like Phoenix,
AZ, but in many locations where rainfall is a common occurrence,
such as Seattle, WA, this situation is more likely to
happen. If you don’t have time to clean your gutters yourself—because you have
a house to sell and a million other little things to do—there are professional
services that can clean your gutters for you so this little oversight doesn’t
drown out your hopes of selling your home quickly.
Paint Your Baseboards and Crown Molding
It’s pretty common knowledge that you should
paint the interior of your home a neutral color to appeal to more buyers.
Homebuyers want to imagine themselves and their stuff in your space, so your
red accent wall will need to be painted over with a more neutral hue. But what
a lot of home sellers forget to do is pay attention to their baseboards and
Where crown molding may just need some
cleaning and touch-ups, your baseboards most likely have seen a lot more
traffic, especially if you have kids. It may be a toy truck that has repeatedly
crashed into your white baseboards, crayons that went rogue, or the black
rubber wheels from bikes racing down the hallway, most likely your baseboards
have been marked with years of life experiences.
To correct these homely blemishes, you can try
cleaning your baseboards with simple dish soap and water. But if it has been
years of wear and abuse, you most likely will need to paint. Use a paint with a
semi-gloss finish that will offer a light sheen but not glossy enough to
distract attention away from your floors. You can also match your crown molding
using the same paint, making every room pop to potential homebuyers. Of course,
if you end up hiring painters to repaint that accent wall of yours, you might
as well have them paint your baseboards while they’re there.
Focus on Your Floors
Your hardwood floors were once beautiful and
one of the initial reasons you bought your home, but after years of traffic
your hardwoods have since dulled to a shadow of their former glory. Likewise,
your once plush carpet has also now matted down into obvious paths that lead
from room to room.
One of the first things potential homebuyers
look at when entering a new home is the floors, so make yours a statement.
If your carpet is approaching that 10-year
mark, it is most likely looking pretty worn. Think about recarpeting your house
to make it look fresh and ready for new homeowners. Such as you did with your
walls, you’ll want to go more neutral in color to appeal to the majority of
homebuyers. If your carpet is only a few years old, however, getting it
professionally cleaned can go a long way in bringing your carpet back to life.
If you have hardwood floors bring them back to
their former glory by refinishing them. Refinishing hardwood floors typically
includes sanding down the floors to eliminate the original finish and stain,
then restaining with the desired color followed by a coat or two of sealer.
Your floors will look brand new and really stand out during the open house.
Gather Your Documents
You might not be aware of this but you’ll want
to gather all the documents you have in regards to warranties, manuals, service
records, and repairs done to your house. These documents are hugely important
for several reasons and certain ones are needed by different parties before you
sell your house.
Your agent is your best friend during the home
selling process. They are also your homes’ first line of marketing and the more
information they have about your house, the better they can promote it. They
will write out the specific details of your home as well as an enticing
description that will highlight key features that homebuyers want. So, if
you’ve made recent updates like a new deck, new roof, updated HVAC, or if your
home has hot water on demand make sure your agent knows it and you have the
paperwork to back it up.
During the home inspection process, home
inspectors are going to go over your house with a fine-toothed comb. If your
furnace or water heater hasn’t been serviced in years, they’ll let you know.
Take a proactive approach by gathering all your service records so you’ll know
ahead of time if something needs to be serviced before listing your home.
However, beyond the paperwork your agent and
the home inspector would like to see, title companies require very specific documentation in order for you to even sell your
- Mortgage loan information, which
will show any outstanding mortgage balance and pay-off balance (if there is
- Final purchase and sale agreement
- Title report
- Property tax information,
including most recent tax statement
- Homeowners insurance information
- Lease agreement, if you’re
currently renting the property
- Any reports or documentation that
relates to the property
- Warranty paperwork, permits,
service documentation, instruction manuals, dates of home improvement projects,
and age of the roof, furnace, hot water heater, HVAC, and all the other major
Pre-Sale Home Inspection
The last thing most people don’t think about
before they sell their home is getting a pre-sale home inspection. Though it is
not mandatory, a pre-sale home inspection is a proactive approach to
understanding your home’s condition at that point in time, and if there are any
repairs that need attention, you can address them now versus trying to do it
during the home selling process.
Homebuyers will most likely get a home
inspection of their own, right? So, why would you get one as a seller?
A home inspection report will most likely turn
up a list of repairs that will need to be fixed. Would you prefer to fix these
issues now before you list your home, or after you’re in negotiations with a
potential buyer? If you wait, you may push back the sale date of your house as
repairs are being made. Or, homebuyers may ask for concessions on your asking
price in order to cover the repairs and the time it takes to make them.
Ultimately, getting a pre-sale home inspection will leave you in a better
position when it comes time to negotiate with potential buyers.
You may feel like spending a lot of time and
money on your house is pointless because you’re just going to sell it anyway,
right? Just consider that the more you appeal to the majority of homebuyers the
more bids you’ll likely see and ultimately help you sell your house quicker and
for more money.
published on Redfin