Here are the basic checklist of 10 things to do before you sell your home:
1.Pest free? Get your home professionally inspected for termites and other pests and once any are removed, get rid of any evidence of having had them. Having a recent inspection certification in hand will give prospective buyers solid piece of mind that there are no creepy-crawlies hiding in the woodwork.
2.First impressions. The first things buyers will see when they walk up to your home are the landscaping and exterior features of your house. Make sure the yard and shrubs are neatly trimmed—plant fresh flowers in existing beds. Paint or power-wash the exterior of your home if years of weather have taken their toll. Make any repairs to gutters, trim or windows as needed. And apartment dwellers should make sure all common areas are neat and clean as well, so clear out those strollers and bikes from the hallway.
3.Go generic. As buyers walk through your home, they’ll want to imagine themselves living in the space. You can make this easier by keeping personal effects out of view. Store collectibles and family photos and try to decorate with simple landscapes or commonplace objects.
4.That deep down clean. It is understood that your home should be kept neat and clean, but you’ll need to go beyond surface cleaning. Dusting and vacuuming are a given, but don’t forget to clean windows and molding, light fixtures and ceiling fans and appliances and other fixtures. And clean should mean the place smells great too. If you can’t bake cookies for each showing, at least make sure all offensive odors are eliminated at their root cause.
5.Down, Spot! Consider an alternate place to board your pets during the selling process. Remove all pet supplies and things like litter boxes, beds and feeding stations before showing your home.
6.Getting steamed. Add carpet cleaning to the list of things to do before you sell your home. Industry experts recommend professionally cleaning your carpets every three years or so. Even if your carpets have been cleaned in the last 18 months, it’s a small investment to have them cleaned before you begin showing your home.
7.Reduce, remove and reorganize. Eliminate clutter in bedrooms, on counters and wherever else your family tends to leave things. Have a yard sale to get rid of as much as you can and then work as hard as you can to organize what is left behind. And if you don’t have a yard, log in to Craigslist.org and start your own virtual garage sale. Resist the temptation to shove things in the basement or a back closet—prospective buyers will want to check out your storage areas. And if you simply can’t get rid of that Nordic Trac, rent a storage locker and get it out of your home.
8.Important rooms. The kitchen and baths are the most frequently used areas in any house. Pay particular attention to cleaning, organizing and repairing these rooms. Remove and replace stained or damaged caulk; clean grout in tiled areas and repair or replace appliances or fixtures as needed.
9.Slap on a coat. There is much debate about the value of painting before you sell your home. While the new owner may want to paint with her own colors, you should certainly consider a coat of paint in areas that are chipped, peeling or stained. Be sure to use neutral colors and do a neat job.
10. Keep up to date. Consider replacing cabinet pull or door handles that are damaged or dated. While replacing these fixtures can be a cheap fix, the replacements will keep your house looking current and well cared for.