If your home is about to go live on the market, you’re probably feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement—and possibly a bit of stress about whether you will sell quickly. 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, and that may even help your home get under contract faster. 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.
1. 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. Some realtors will provide you with a “coming soon” sign that you can post up in your front yard, but even if yours doesn’t, you can take the initiative and start letting people know on your social channels. 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.
2. Toss out, recycle, or donate what you don’t need anymore
You may not be ready to pack up and move yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be getting rid of stuff. 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. In addition to helping buyers imagine themselves living in your home, editing down your things now will be a big help when you need to clear out for last-minute showings.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.
3. 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. The week before listing a home for sale is a great time to start staging, since you’ll have some time to really make sure it’s done right. And don’t feel like you have to spend a ton of money to do a good job; it is definitely possible to stage your home on a budget.
4. 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, which is an inconvenience on your end but something that has to be managed. If you don’t have a lot of flexibility, talk to a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member and see if they can arrange to help you out in the event that your kids or pets need a place to go during a showing.
5. 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. This includes the lead time you would like to have between showing requests and the showings themselves (two hours is usually a good way to go), any rules you have for when buyers and their agents are in your house (let your realtor know if you’re a no-shoe household so they can provide booties), and anything else that will be harder to control once the listing is active.
6. 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. If your siding or driveway could use a refresh, use a power washer to clean them off and have them looking good as new. For other easy ways to improve your home’s curb appeal, check out these tips.
7. 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). Don’t throw these things out, obviously, but do store them somewhere safe and out of view. It will feel a little bit weird to live in your home without all these personal things around, but it’s worth it if it means your home gets scooped up faster.
8. 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. If you don’t have one already, purchase a fireproof safe that you can store these items in, and then move it to your car when you’re going to be out and know that showings will be taking place. It’s a small step to take, and one that you’ll definitely be upset you didn’t take if something goes missing.
9. Do some repair work
The week before you list is a great time to make sure all small repairs are taken care of. 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.
10. 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. There’s no such thing as just leaving the dishes out for another day when there’s a chance that a buyer might come through. 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. Follow the same tips you’d use to clean a home upon move-in, making sure to get in all of the nooks and crannies. It won’t be fun, but at least it will be easier to ensure your home is as clean as possible for showings when they do start happening.
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 more simple the whole thing should go.
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The property information herein is derived from various sources that may include, but not be limited to, county records and the Multiple Listing Service, and it may include approximations. Although the information is believed to be accurate, it is not warranted and you should not rely upon it without personal verification. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are independent contractor agents and are not employees of the Company. ©2017 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. DRE License #01908304.