How to get your House Ready to Sell

Selling your house is super stressful and can be very difficult. There are a zillion things that need to get done! Painting, prepping, patching, perfecting... and that's just before you list it. Then you have to get it spotless and take photographs for the listing. Where are the best places to list it? What should you look for in a realtor? I recently went through this process and I learned a few things I want to share with you that will hopefully make your experience much easier!

Curb Appeal: You only get one chance to make a first impression. So don't neglect your yard and the exterior of your home. A good rule of thumb is to visit some model homes in your area. What is on the porch? What does the landscaping look like? Those houses are professionally staged to sell so check out what they are doing and copy them. Add pretty, personalized touches that go above and beyond that a buyer is going to appreciate. For instance, on my porch I hung a few strands of globe party lights and I made sure to turn them on whenever we had someone come look at the house. 

Warm Welcome: My Aunt Pamela once told me that the first room in your house should make everyone who walks in want to see the rest of it. Make a statement in your entry. Your entry should give clues as to what to expect throughout the rest of your house. Make sure the paint is fresh. I went through and touched up the floor boards and trim, as well as the banister. No detail is too small! 

Declutter: Make sure your rooms appear open, fresh, and clutter free. I am all about accessories and decor but not too much. I have also heard that your should remove family photographs. However, in my home the photographs are so much a part of the decor and are used pretty minimally so I decided to keep them. I did go though each room and asked myself, "Does this need to be here?" If it didn't I chucked it or stored it.

Give to Charity: I went though my stuff and I asked myself, "Do I love this and am I going to use/wear it again?" If the answer was no I threw it in the "Good Will" pile and dropped it at my local thrift store. Done and done. And you know what? I don't miss anything I got rid of!

Add Appealing Elements: So you just got rid of your clutter, now it's time to bring back a few elements that will look clean and appealing to potential buyers and while adding a "homey" feel. Think vases filled with fresh flowers, pretty soaps by the kitchen sink, a couple antique candle sticks.

Style your Table: People often overlook their dining table when it comes to design opportunities. I like to layer a few different elements. In this photo I have a vase of white roses, an asian vessel, and a silver tray with several white pillar candles on it. Love it.

Hire a Photographer: I'm a blogger. I take photographs of homes a lot. But when it came to listing my house I hired a professional real estate photographer. I have a great camera and a couple nice lenses but I just couldn't capture the whole room. I also have a really hard time getting good photos of rooms with no natural light (like a couple of my bathrooms and the storage room). The photographer I hired actually took multiple photographs of each room and layered them together to get the right colors. Yeah, I can't do that.

List It Baby: I did a lot of asking around. I wanted to know if listing it on all the available sites was a good idea or if the MLS would do the trick. I decided not to list my home on sites like Craig's List and Zillow because I didn't want calls from random realtors asking me if they could list my house (apparently that's totally what they do). I instead opted to list my house with a realtor so I didn't have to deal with that.

What to Look for in a Realtor: Here's my thing... I think that if your house is listed and the photos look good and your pricing is within reason you are going to get showings regardless of who is listing your house. I have noticed (and this is just a personal opinion) that a lot of listing agents are not holding open houses anymore and that they are just, well, listing your house. So that's not really the important part... what I want in a realtor is someone who has a reputation of getting the most money for their clients. Anyone can sell a house and sell it fast if it's under-priced. I for one, want as much as I can possibly get out of my house and I am willing to wait a little while to get it. I want an agent who isn't going to leave any money on the table. I also want one who knows how to negotiate. I'm talking hardball ;)

Research: Figure out how much the houses around you are going for. Ask your neighbors what they paid. Check out your local public MLS listings and see what similar houses are going for. This can be a little misleading because what a house is listed for and what it sells for are two different things and what a home actually sells for is all that matters. Interview at least three agents and find out what they would list your house for. You might be surprised at the discrepancy in their pricing. :)

There you have it! I hope these tips make your life just a little easier as you prepare to sell your home. XOXO

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