Recently we announced that we were selling our house and moving to Milwaukee! Thankfully we received an offer after only one week on the market, and the house is under contract! This is the fifth house we’ve sold in the last five years, and over the years we’ve wisened up on how to sell your house quickly!
I often get asked about my tips for selling a house quickly, and today I wanted to share those tips with you. I’ve also created a printable checklist for selling your house!
Everyone knows that staged houses sell faster, but what exactly does that mean? Honestly, as a DIY and Home blogger my house is basically “staged” all the time, but here are a few things I suggest to anyone:
- Set your table with dishes, cloth napkins and a centerpiece. Make your buyers excited to host a meal there!
- Drape throw blankets and pillows on couches, chairs, and beds. Make them feel inviting.
- Ensure that your coffee table has a few nice books on it.
- Add lamps to nightstands and end tables.
- Minimize items on bookshelves. They can be functional but not overstuffed. Stack books nicely and add decor items.
- Hang a scarf, bag, or nice jacket from hooks to show function.
Freshen Up and Neutralize
Obviously everything in your home isn’t always fresh and new, but when you’re selling it, it should be! Here’s a few items to splurge on before you sell. The bonus is that you’ll be able to bring these almost new items to your new house as well!
- Make sure your house is especially clean. Don’t forget spots like the gutters, garage floor, windows, ceiling fans, and other spots you don’t typically clean.
- Update your shower liners and make sure your shower curtains are fresh and neutral.
- Splurge on a nice welcome mat. This Target one is my favorite.
- Make sure the hand towels and hanging towels in the bathroom aren’t dingy.
- All beds should have neutral bedding with decorative pillows. Specifically I think a white comforter feels clean and fresh, like a luxurious hotel.
- Minimize bold colors and patterns. I decided to take a chance on this house leaving the wallpaper and bold colors up, but my plan was if the house lasted a couple weeks on the market I would remove the floral girl room wallpaper, and the floral mudroom wallpaper. I also planned to paint over the “night sky” mural in the boys room. Lastly I planned to paint my green closet doors and laundry closet door black or white. These are all very taste specific that might help sell your house, but also might hinder the sale! I’d definitely lean towards neutralizing anything possible to appeal to the most buyers.
I’m sure you don’t think your house smells, but make sure your buyers don’t either!
- Because you can’t leave an unmanned candle for showings I like to turn on a wax warmer with a mild scent. This oatmeal cookie is my favorite for Fall. Otherwise Fresh Linen is great any other time of the year! **post contains affiliate links**
- If you have animals remove any and all signs of them! We’ve got two barn cats, but we were especially on top of cleaning their outdoor litter box. If you’ve got indoor pets I would go as far as removing cages and litter boxes for showings.
- Empty all trashes before every showing.
- Don’t cook anything that leaves a strong scent before showings… except maybe cookies, because who doesn’t love cookies? (If you do make cookies, you HAVE to try this recipe)
You want buyers to feel at home when they walk into your home, here’s a few things you can depersonalize so that they see themselves living there rather than you!
- Take down family photos. I actually replaced all the photos on our stairway gallery wall with landscape photos instead!
- Remove any monograms, or name related art. I’ve got a few things with our last name on them, as well as each kids initials in their room. These got packed away before showings.
- If you have a letterboard, bulletin board, or other places to personalize, use a generic “homey” message! I finished our letterboard ledge with the phrase “you are home”.
You might not feel like your home is cluttered, but take it one step further before listing your home.
- TOYS! Either pack them up, put them in a cabinet, or hide them away. Not everyone wants to envision toys taking over their home… even if it’s bound to happen anyways.
- Closets- pack up everything you can to leave margin. You want buyers to see excess space. You’re going to have to pack up everything anyways, so just pack it early.
- Clear Countertops- Hide away your countertop appliances, mail piles, or anything else clutter your countertops. I only left out a toaster in one corner, and a coffee maker in another.
- Excess Furniture- If you have furniture blocking walkways or making rooms feel smaller get rid of it. Take leaves out of tables. We removed our bar cart from the dining room to help open up the walkway. We also downsized our king guest bed to a twin so that our guest room would feel more spacious.
Get a good real estate agent
You can do everything in your power to sell your house, but without a good agent it’s hard. We’re grateful to have a good agent who we worked with when we bought our house. If you don’t know how to find a good agent here’s a few tips:
- ASK! Get recommendations from friends and facebook groups!
- Go for a drive and look at “for sale” and “sold” signs… is the same name popping up all over?
- Look at Zillow’s “recently sold” listings, who was the agent that sold them?
- Interview your agent and have them do a market analysis before you list with them.
- Ensure that your agent uses great pictures of your home. If they don’t use a photographer ensure that either they take high quality photos or provide the photos yourself.
Always consider re-sale when purchasing
My last tip is hardly one that helps when you are selling, but more important when you’re purchasing. Don’t ever think that you’re never going to resell a home. Even if you think it’s your “forever home”, don’t buy a home that has terrible resale value. Here are a few things that will hurt any house when trying to resale:
- Is it in a good school district?
- Is it on a busy road?
- Is the neighborhood safe?
- Are there high voltage power lines, airports, or loud or stinky industrial properties nearby?
- Is it a two bedroom in a market where everyone wants three bedroom homes? Or a single car garage in a place where a two car garage is standard? Are the basement ceilings too low to use as liveable space? Is the property in a flood zone?
Even if you might be able to overlook some of these things, it’s probably not worth the trouble it will give you come re-sale time.
Whew… that was a LONG post! I hope that it helps if you’re considering selling your home! In order to make this list more useful I’ve also provided a free one page printable checklist! Just enter your e-mail on this form and it will be e-mailed to you!