Tips for getting your home ready to go on the market

While it may seem nerve racking to put the for sale sign up outside the house you’ve worked so hard to maintain, redecorate, and have enjoyed countless memories in, sometimes everyone needs a fresh start in a new location. It’s easy to get excited about moving and beginning a new chapter in your life; however, it’s important not to overlook all the steps that go into putting your current home on the market.

The first decision you must make is determining the best real estate agent for you. Your agent is someone you should completely trust, so be sure to ask them several questions before entrusting them with the sale of your home. It’s important to get an understanding of how much they think your home is worth. Also, try and get an understanding of how they will market your home to potential buyers, whether it’s through print media, social media, or other methods. You may also want to contact their customer references to get an understanding of how successful they have been selling homes in the past. Once you choose the perfect real estate agent, the next step is taking your agent’s advice on how to best prepare your home for sale.

Your real estate agent would probably agree that one of the first things you need to do is heavy cleaning and de-cluttering of your home to get it ready to be sold. A clean and tidy house has the ability to make a perfect first impression and lets potential buyers immediately feel comfortable and right at home. Prospective new occupants want to see the house in its natural form, so they can envision whether this house has enough space and charm to be their very own. A house ready to be sold should not be filled with too many family photos and selective décor because it might take away from the home’s unique features. Once you’ve dusted off that fireplace, removed the pile of shoes from the walkway, and have made sure the furniture is properly arranged, you have taken a huge step in the right direction.

Now that your home is de-cluttered and clean, the next step is going through each room and thinking of simple and easy ways to make it more inviting to potential buyers. Having a welcoming front porch can make a huge difference because it’s one of the very first things potential buyers will see. Adding some gorgeous plants, flowers, an inviting welcome mat, or even adding a new coat of paint to the front door can make viewers feel welcomed before they even walk in the front door. Everyone has different tastes, so remember to make sure the walls are painted neutral colors, giving the buyer the impression they have a blank canvas they can turn into their very own creation. Instead of committing several days to painting, try adding color to a room by adding eye-popping throw pillows, plants, or a new set of curtains. Simple additions to a home is a cost-saving and time-effective way to give a room an entirely new look.

When preparing your home to sell, it’s very important to recognize its strengths and the type of buyer it will appeal to most. If your home is the perfect place for a family with children, make sure those aspects are on display. For example, remove safety hazards and prepare your backyard for children’s activities to ensure viewers that your home is the perfect place to raise their family. Another example might be highlighting features in your home that make it ideal for hosting parties or family outings, such as an outdoor dining area where viewers can interact with one another and see how nice it is to entertain in your home. These tips are just another way to market your home to make for a much easier sell.

None of these tips will be relevant if you make the easy mistake of over pricing the value of your home. It’s highly recommended to research the prices of other homes in your neighborhood and in the surrounding areas. Real estate agents are very knowledgeable when it comes to determining the value of a home, and can help you choose a selling price that will get your home sold quickly but also at a price of relative value. Potential customers will immediately shy away from homes that simply don’t fit their budget. An overpriced home will easily be identified by the amount of time it has been on the market. Smart homebuyers are always looking for a terrific value; therefore, they will have no problem skipping over a home that has been on the market for six months without a price reduction. Instead, they are seeking out a home that has just hit the market at a reasonable value. It’s important to find the perfect balance of offering a competitive price in comparison to similar houses on the market, but making sure you’re offering a price that will not have you financially vulnerable after making payments on your new home.

When preparing for your first open house, apply the five senses throughout your entire home. When it comes to making sure the entire house has been de-cluttered and is visually striking, your garage, closets and pantry should be as neat and tidy as the rest of the home. Also, make sure your choice of lighting displays a very cozy atmosphere, while enhancing the natural elements in each room. Provide your houseguests with a pleasant smell and taste of a fresh batch of cookies to show them you are thrilled they are interested in your home. To make the atmosphere even more warm and friendly, play relaxing music for some soft background noise. Also, make sure everything potential buyers see and touch is fully operational. If your house is fully functional, in perfect condition, and you display your home with a very welcoming attitude, the open house is sure to draw interest.

Putting a house on the market may be overwhelming, but remember you can talk to your real estate agent and ask his or her advice on how to best prepare your home for sale. While it may seem like the number one priority is to get your house sold as quickly as possible, it takes great patience to make sure your house is ready to present, it has a fair and competitive price tag, and to trust in your agent’s advice.
Julie Plummer Lading is vice president and managing broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties in Edwardsville. Elite Properties serves Madison and St. Clair counties, offering 50 real estate professionals ready to help you buy or sell a home. To start your search, visit or call (618) 655-4100.


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