10 Things to Do the Week Before Listing a Home for Sale
Selling your home is as much as a mental exercise as it is a real estate transaction, and it’s totally normal to be facing a bit of jitters. On the bright side, there is plenty that you can do in the week before listing a home for sale that can help ease your mind. As with most aspects of selling a house, taking active steps is usually going to get you better results than just sitting back and waiting for everything to fall in line on its own. So here are 10 things to do now, before your home goes live.
- Start spreading the word
Just because your home isn’t technically ready for showings yet doesn’t mean that you can’t start the process of letting people know it will be available. Listed houses are often at their most desirable right when they hit the market, so the more interest you can generate right in the beginning, the better.
- Toss out, recycle, or donate what you don’t need anymore
Buyers want to be able to see themselves in homes when they go for a showing, and having a bunch of the previous owner’s things lying around can really mess with that vision. Go through each room (yes, even closets—buyers will want to look in there) and organize unwanted items into three piles—trash, recycle, and donate. Try to donate or recycle as much as possible instead of sending things to the landfill.
- Start staging
Staging is the art of designing your home to highlight its best features. And even if decorating isn’t your strong suit, it’s a part of the home selling process you can’t really ignore—49% of buyers’ agents state that home staging has a positive effect on how buyers view a home, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Staging Stats report, and 21% of buyers’ agents say it increases the value of a home and decreases the time it sits on the market.
- Figure out a plan for kids and/or pets
If you have little ones at home—two-legged or four—make sure that you have a plan in place for when showings happen. The house should be completely empty when prospective buyers come through.
- Set expectations with your realtor
The first couple of weeks that a home is listed for sale tend to be pretty busy in terms of market activity. Talk to your realtor now, in the week before you go live, about expectations you have about how things should go so that you know exactly what to anticipate.
- Boost your curb appeal
In addition to staging inside your home, you also want to put some effort into making the exterior of your home look as inviting as possible. After all, while the saying may be not to judge a book by its cover, people often do. Trim your lawn, remove any weeds, and tidy up as necessary.
- Find another place for personal items
A fundamental part of selling your home quickly and in as stress-free a manner as possible is depersonalizing it. Because again, buyers are trying to picture what their life would be like in your home, and that can be hard to do when they’re surrounded by somebody else’s family pictures. The week before listing a home for sale, go through and remove as much personal items as you can. This includes pictures, papers, and pretty much anything with your name on it (and definitely anything hanging up on the fridge).
- Stow away valuables
A large majority of the people who go to home showings are doing it with the best of intentions, but there are certainly horror stories of people who go in looking for valuables to take. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so find a safe storage spot for things like jewelry, checkbooks, medications, and anything else that may be of strong interest to somebody else.
- Do some repair work
Fixing up chips or cracks in paint, scuff marks, and loose cabinets will go a long way toward ensuring that your home looks its very best. If there are any major repairs that you plan to take care of, start looking into your options now so that your agent can let buyers know that fixes are in the works.
- Deep clean
Part of the stress that comes with living in a for sale house is having to keep it museum-levels of clean all of the time. Start the process early and get going with a blank slate by setting aside a day for giving your home a top-to-bottom deep clean.
Selling a home is a major transition long before the moving truck arrives. Using the week before listing a home for sale to get your bearings and optimize your property for a quick sale is a smart idea for all sellers, and will definitely make the entire process easier on you and your family. If you ever have any questions about additional things that you should or should not be doing, ask your realtor about it. They’re there to make your own role easier as much as they are to facilitate the sale itself. So, take a deep breath and then dive in—the more you get done now, the simpler the whole thing should go.
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