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Preparing a Home for Sale in 30 Days

Preparing a home for selling can be a daunting task. The goal of selling a home is to get top dollar and make the buyer feel they are getting a deal. Experts say if you work hard and are motivated, you can prepare your home within 30 days.

In your 30 days, you want to focus your time on preparing your home so the buyer will only have to move in their belongings; not worry about cosmetics or structural issues. The exterior is where you want to begin because you won't be able to draw prospective buyers to look at the interior, if the outside is not appealing.

For the exterior, work on your landscaping; you want to make sure your grass is green and plant flowers. Flowers add a splash of color. Remove dead plants and trim back overgrown bushes and trees. You can pressure wash the walls or add a fresh coat of paint.

Think small. Things such as broken screens, tiles, or water stains are small repairs, so they can be overlooked. Anything that is visible should be addressed. If a potential buyer finds small items that need repair, they may conclude there are major underlying issues.

In the kitchen, you may want to consider replacing the countertops, paint the cabinets, replace the hardware, redo the floor, or replace appliances. When it comes to appliances, you don't want 10-year-old models and you want them to match; a stainless steel refrigerator, black range, and white dishwasher can clash and buyers could be affected. If other properties, in your neighborhood, have granite countertops, you need to install granite as well. Lastly, you can investigate replacing the plumbing fixtures in both the kitchen and bathroom.

The first thing people see when they enter a home is the floor, walls, and ceiling so these first impressions are important. Carpets should at least be cleaned, but replaced if they are old and worn out. If you have hardwood floors, you will want to make sure they are maintained and polished.

Your home decor should be neutralized and can easily be accomplished by using white, tans, earthy tones, or light greys can be more appealing and make people more comfortable than reds or blues.

Anything personal should be removed. A family looking at your home is not interested in your family photos or any trophies and collectibles your family has accumulated. You can store it, sell it, donate extra items to charity, or throw it away. You also want to get rid of any religious or political items you may have on display; you don't want to lose a potential buyer because they have different viewpoints than you. Make sure any bookshelves are not overflowing and are arranged neatly.

You want homes to be bright and big, so make sure your windows are clean and replace heavy curtains with sheers. Also make sure your lights work and replace outdated lamps and fans. If buyers turn on a light switch, they expect it to be attached to a fixture. Simply rearranging furniture can make a room appear larger.

Some of these suggestions may seem to be a large expense, but you can bring in friends, family, or experts to assist in identifying necessary repairs and fix easy issues. The biggest mistake people make is to underestimate the money necessary to spend. If you make minor repairs and upgrade to match modern trends, your buyer will not have to worry about this and could bring a 25% higher return. 

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