Thinking of Listing? Nine Ways to Get Ready

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The less time a home spends on the market, the more likely it is to sell at or above list price. That’s why our Top Agents recommend getting a property ready for marketing well before listing. Anyone who is even just starting to think about listing will benefit from some basic upkeep and pre-staging work. Even if you decide now is not the time to list, you’ll enjoy these simple improvements around the home.

With the right local resources, most pre-listing preparations take less than a week and will make the formal staging process simpler for all involved. Ask Top Agents in your area for referrals of local pros to hire. Once you’ve selected your Top Agent, keep yourself open to his or her opinion on other TLC to help decrease your home’s market time.

  1. Inspection: The last thing a seller or buyer wants is a surprise at inspection. That’s why a complete inspection before listing is so valuable. Many necessary fixes, such as minor roof or appliance repairs, can be discovered and repaired in less than a week. If inspection uncovers a major issue, any Top Agent will tell you that this knowledge is power; disclosing and expecting to take responsibility will increase buyers’ trust without affecting market time.
  2. De-Clutter: Take a little time to pack away surplus furniture items and extra knick-knacks, papers, books or occasional-use items throughout your house. Remember this may require boxing away video game supplies or packing up comfy throw pillows and blankets. Move these items temporarily into closets, the garage or attic with the assumption of possibly renting a storage unit just before listing.
  1. Paint: Whole-house painting is likely not necessary, but consider touching up baseboard moldings and doorways and open wall spaces in high-use areas such as bathrooms, the office, family room and indoor recreation spaces. Also consider a little varnish on the front door or banister.
  1. Artwork and Decor: Take a neutral look at your décor. Better yet, ask a Top Agent to do so. Buyers should be able to picture themselves living in your home. While your Top Agent may not advise you to appear generic, you’ll likely need to thin out any shrine-like displays to family, hobbies or cultural interests.
  1. Deep-Clean Housekeeping: After you’ve de-cluttered and touched up the paint, request a deep cleaning from your housekeeping service and weekly cleanings thereafter. Make sure they pay attention to details like dusting or vacuuming window treatments and lampshades or wiping smudges off door jams and baseboard moldings.
  1. Carpets and Rugs: Bring in the pros, but don’t just clean the carpets. Because the cleaners will be moving furniture anyway, ask them stretch and tighten any buckled areas of carpeting. Doing so now saves the trouble of having to credit your buyer for this following final walk-through. Also consider removing small area rugs to let the beauty of your hardwood floors shine.
  1. Look at the Loo: Buyers may not notice a brand-new toilet seat, but they will turn up their noses at the one with the broken hinges. Freshly replaced toilet seats, faucets or doorknobs in heavily trafficked bathrooms can go a long way in first impressions.
  1. “Mow & Blow”: Consider buyers as guests you want to feel welcome as they ascend the front walk. If you don’t already have one, hire a weekly gardening service to keep up with the mowing, weeding, pruning and basic maintenance outside so you can focus on other things.
  1. Staging: Once you’ve selected a staging professional for the finishing touches, ask them and your Top Agent for final recommendations on day-to-day upkeep, storage options and what-to-do (or what not to do) while your house is on the market.