Preparing a Home For Sale – Work the Owner Must Do

When you list your home for sale, your real estate agent may hand you a printed sheet telling you things you need to do to make it more appealing to buyers. He or she may also recommend that you hire a stager to make the house look like a “show home.”

The first step, of course, is to clean and de-clutter. Buyers are turned off by dirt – starting with the fingerprints (or muddy paw prints) on the front door. Most buyers are also looking for a home that has enough space for all their “stuff” so you should clean out those over-stuffed closets and drawers, get rid of excess furniture, clean off the counter-tops and generally strive to give an impression that you have more space than they will need.

If you need to re-paint a room, do it. If the carpets are dirty, shampoo them. If they’re worn out, replace them.

When you’re cleaning, be sure to wash the light fixtures – they’re often full of bugs and dusty, so clean them to let more light into the rooms.

Now the stager, if you’ve decided to hire one, can come in and get to work.

But what if you can’t afford that? Or what if your sphynx cat for sale community is one that hasn’t yet taken to the idea of stagers – and there are none available to you?

Your job will be to make the house look as “un-lived-in” as you possibly can. You want your potential buyers to walk through and be able to imagine themselves living there. You don’t want them to feel like they’ve invaded your “nest.”

Take your children’s drawings down from the refrigerator – pack them carefully so you can re-hang them in your new home! Replace the family pictures with something neutral – scenic or still-life pictures that merely serve to add the right touch of color to brighten the room, but give no personal information about you and your family.

Go through every room in the house, doing your best to remove personal items and make it look like a model home. Move furniture around to give an air of spaciousness. Look at the colors and get rid of anything that creates a jarring note, while adding accents that give warmth.

If you have children, you can’t get rid of all their toys, but pare them down, and then provide a toy box and get them into the habit of using it.

And now, pack away your collections. You want potential buyers to focus their attention on the house, not on the contents of the house. Your collection of dolls or salt shakers or carvings are fun to look at, but can take so much attention away from the house that the buyers may leave without remembering if the fireplace was in the living room or the den.

There’s a second reason for putting some things away, and it has to do with human nature and the belief that a house holds the “energy” of its occupants.

If you have guns mounted on the walls, some people will feel that this is a home of violence. The same goes for hunting trophies – some will be so turned off that they won’t even enter the room, much less consider buying the home.

Anything that shows your political or religious affiliation can cause the same response. Some will not want a home with that kind of energy.

Now the hard part – your pets. Over half the population of America loves pets, but then there are the rest of them. Some hate cats or dogs for their own reasons, and some are allergic.

Keep all pet hair vacuumed up, and before buyers arrive, get the pets out of the house and put their beds, toys, and food and water bowls away. If you have a cat, get the cat box out of the house. You may not smell it because you’re used to it, but a stranger will… believe me.

Get a non-pet person to come in and sniff the house – you may need to take a second run over the carpets with some odor-killing shampoo in the machine. If your pets sleep on the furniture, you should shampoo it as well.

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