Last summer I wrote a series of posts about getting your home ready for sale. During my years in the real estate industry, I have seen thousands of homes. I’ve helped sell hundreds of those and I’ve seen what can give a house that special edge in a competitive selling situation. If you read my most recent post, you know that NOW is the time to list your home for sale in Middle Tennessee. Buyers aren’t waiting for warmer temperatures and blooming flowers. We have a surplus of buyers and not enough homes on the market. It’s the perfect equation for a quick sale.
So how do we blend the “getting ready to sell” posts with the “be ready now” post? Clearly, if time is of the essence, you’re not going to be able to repaint the entire interior of your home in fresh neutrals or hire a professional landscaper to give your lawn a complete overhaul. The installation of granite countertops is also not going to happen on a tight time frame. What can you do THIS WEEKEND to make your home sale-ready? Here are some quick tips:
1. Give your home a thorough cleaning. Pay particular attention to kitchens and bathrooms. Clean cabinetry from top to bottom. Dust crown molding. Clean the interior of light fixtures. Shine your stainless steel appliances. Make sure that windows are sparkling and baseboards are shining. In the bathrooms, deep clean your showers and tubs. Borax (mixed with water to form a paste) is a wonderful cleaning agent and will remove hard to clean mildew with ease.
2. Get rid of clutter! Walk through each room of your home with a medium sized book box (local mailbox stores have these in stock) and fill it with knick-knacks and overly personal items. Kids’ art projects need to be packed away. Don’t leave the room until the box is full. In the living rooms and dens, make sure bookshelves are clutter free. A good rule of thumb for shelves is “books+2.” In other words, you shouldn’t have more than two tchotchkes on any one shelf. Store these boxes neatly in your attic (or borrow some space from a kindly neighbor) until you are ready to move. Replace family pictures with a simple plant to depersonalize the space. Not only will de-cluttering add the illusion of extra square footage to your home, it will be easier to keep clean while your home is on the market.
3. Clean out cabinets, pantries, your refrigerator and closets! Yes, these tasks can seem daunting, but they can be accomplished in a weekend and cost you nothing. An organized cabinet or closet tells a potential buyer that the home has been well cared for and maintained. Closets crammed with out of season clothing or pantries overflowing the half-eaten boxes of cereal indicate a lack of attention to detail and a frenzied environment.
4. Neutral walls are best, but a weekend is not enough time to completely overhaul the color palette of your home. Instead, purchase a jumbo sized box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and wipe walls from top to bottom. Be sure to wipe with a clean cloth to remove residue. You’ll get the effect of clean, crisp walls without the time and labor of repainting.
5. Like fresh paint, you’re not going to have time to install new carpeting. Instead, rent a carpet cleaner from your local home store or supermarket and shampoo carpets. Polish hardwood floors and keep a Swiffer handy for quick swipes before a showing.
6. Stand across the street from your house and take a quick inventory of your lawn, shrubs and planters. Re-sodding isn’t practical, but it won’t take much time to lay down a bag of mulch or two. Plant some bright yellow pansies in urns by the front door and around your mailbox. If you didn’t do it in the fall, trim shrubbery and cut back plantings.
Last but not least, approach your home as a potential buyer would. Enter through your front door with a fresh, yet critical eye. Does your entry seem inviting? Linger in the doorway of each room and make sure furniture is arranged to maximize the space and flow in a room. Then… call me. I’ll take it from there and help you capitalize on the hot real estate market in Middle Tennessee!