3 Surprising, Simple Tasks That Can Help Prep Your Home for Sale

We’re not going to sugarcoat it - selling a home is a major undertaking. There are many different moving parts and considerations that go into listing, marketing, and selling a home. In fact, sometimes it’s easy for the “to-do” list to become so long that you end up overlooking some of the most essential steps, including basics like prepping your home for sale. 

That’s right. Sometimes, in the rush of getting the ball rolling and moving the process forward, homesellers can overlook some simple questions: Is your home actually ready for buyers to come take a look? And if it’s not, what can you do to help get it ready, and showcase it in the best possible light? 

These are important questions to ask, and crucial topics to discuss with your broker! Your real estate team can help offer some personalized recommendations and ideas, suited to the unique variables of your sale. For instance? Buyers in your market may be looking for specific home features, or even up-to-the-minute design and home staging choices. Your broker can help you get a sense of what buyers are looking for, based on local market trends and the unique conditions of your property. 

With that being said? While it’s important to keep in mind that each and every home - and every home sale - is going to be unique, there are a few “tried and true” steps you can take to help get yourself in the right mindset to sell your property, and get your spaces ready for prospective buyers to see. There’s a lot to consider - but it’s also important to remember the fundamentals. 

So, what simple home tasks should you be sure to discuss with your broker, before your house goes on the market? Prepping your home for sale can mean a few different things. Here are three simple steps that can have a surprisingly major impact: 

1.) Clear Out the Clutter

One of the first steps sellers should take when preparing to put their home on the market is ridding their home of a big buyer deterrent - clutter. 

From a distance, this task might seem like a no-brainer, but in the rush of a home sale, it can be surprisingly easy to overlook. 

Making sure your home is clean and clutter-free before you list it - and while it’s on the market - is often going to be necessary for drawing in buyers. Getting clutter out of the house can really help make it easier for buyers to recognize the full potential of your home, in terms of its overall space, storage capacity, and visual aesthetics. Cleaning and decluttering are an essential part of the home staging process, and they can have a major impact when you get your home professionally photographed and advertised online. Keep in mind that many potential buyers, turned off by photos of a cluttered home, may decide to skip your listing altogether. 

At the same time? Approaching your home with the goal of decluttering can help you truly “de-personalize” the property, allowing you to get rid of the unique furniture pieces, family photos, or singular design choices that can prevent new buyers from truly seeing themselves in the space. This can make your home more appealing to buyers, and help give you the chance to “break away” from your old home, and really focus on doing what it takes to get it sold. 

Down the line, when your home hits the market and is ready for open houses, showings, and any possible viewings from buyers, it’s important to keep it clean. That includes making sure the trash bins are empty, and keeping the clutter to a minimum, even in storage spaces such as your attic or garage. Buyers could want to inspect and look at any area of your home, so if your kitchen trash can is overdue to be emptied or if your hallway closet is disorganized and overflowing, they might be turned off by the mess.

2.) Make the Right Repairs

As a homeseller, you want to make your listing as appealing and exciting as possible for fresh eyes. That means that the last thing you want to happen is for buyers to feel discouraged when they spy a broken window frame, a dislodged gutter pipe, or other areas in need of repair, big or small, around your property.

As consumer information site The Balance has noted, “a home that needs repairs will… deliver a lower price in any market.” In other words? Ignoring necessary fixes can affect the sale of your home negatively, in a few different ways. Buyers could be turned off by the laundry list of fixes, causing your home to linger on the market, and forcing you to deal with mounting carrying costs. 

At the same time? Keep in mind that many, many buyers are going to prefer a home that needs no immediate fixes, and might go with a fully move-in ready listing that’s comparable to yours. In some cases, that could force you to lower your asking price. 

Avoid these headaches by getting these repairs tackled and out of the way early, before small issues have the chance to blossom into major headaches. This is another key point to discuss with your broker! As a local real estate expert, your agent can help you identify the areas in your home that may prove detrimental to your future sale, allowing you to focus on making the most efficient, impactful, and cost-effective repairs by looking at buyer preferences, the “cost vs. value” of home upgrades, and other important guiding factors. 

3.) Don’t Forget About the Little Details

The way your home looks, feels, and even smells can all have a major impact on buyers. Before showings and open house events really get underway, talk to your broker about the little flourishes and finishes that can help elevate your home in the eyes of new visitors. 

For example? Don’t forget about home odors. It can be hard to determine good and bad smells in your own home, due to an experience that Mental Floss calls olfactory adaptation, a brain process that explains why you can’t smell your own breath, perfume, and home, even just after a few minutes. So, even if you really don’t think your home has a distinct smell, future buyers might pick up on specific scents that they don’t appreciate. Make sure to invest in pleasant, neutral scented candles or odor traps that can help deodorize your home. You may also want to experiment with bringing in fresh smells, like flowers, plants, or just-baked cookies (an old standby), while get rid of common sources of bad odors, like old food in the fridge, permanently stinky trash cans, and so on. 

To go back to those flowers for a second? Apart from additional odor help, setting out flowers or houseplants when you know potential buyers will be looking at your home can add a sense of vibrancy and life to the place. Consult with your real estate team about other small ways to invigorate your space. This could mean everything from fine-tuning your landscaping, to finding ways to bring lots of natural light into your rooms. 

Get Ready to Sell With Confidence

Curious about what’s going on in your Chicagoland real estate market? Do you have more in-depth questions about how you can prepare your home for sale? The Real Group RE team is here to help! Don’t hesitate to drop us a line to keep the conversation going with Chicago’s real estate experts.

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