When preparing the inside of your home for sale, the first thing you will want to do is remove clutter. What do I mean by clutter? Well… as much as you can without removing those things you use on a daily or weekly basis. That may seem extreme, but the more clutter free your home is, the faster it will sell.
For most people, this is going to be a large number of belongings that need to be removed. Let me clarify the word “removed” in this context. I am not referring to stuffing everything into closets and under the bed. Keep in mind that potential buyers typically want a lot of storage space for their own belongings. They will be opening every door and cupboard in your home and imagining their stuff stored there. The more open and spacial these areas appear, the more buyers will feel that your home has adequate storage space.
This is a great time to start going through your belongings and deciding what you plan to take with you and what can be donated or thrown away. You’ll want to box everything up that you plan on taking with you. This will also aid you in moving to your new home.
Start with the larger rooms and remove everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. You can leave a little bric-a-brac, but be sure it complements a very clean and open feel. Less is more! Also, it is recommended that you remove family pictures from the walls, as you want potential buyers to imagine their own family living there when considering your home. It is also a safety concern, as you don’t want pictures of your family along with your address posted online where anyone can view them.
Once your main rooms are uncluttered, start on the storage areas and closets. If you’re like most people, your closets are probably filled with clothing and outfits you rarely or never wear. Again, decide if you want to continue holding on to them or donate them to your favorite charity. Yes, this also includes shoes. You can keep the essentials, but you want your closets and storage spaces to have ample hanger room and to be well organized. Your clothing should NOT be able to stay put and not drop to the floor if you remove the hanger. Depending on your closet layout, consider investing in some inexpensive organizational items like shoe racks, removable shelves, etc.
Lastly, an often forgotten area, are your cupboards and drawers. If your cupboards are packed to the brim with glasses of all kinds, such as daily drinking glasses, martini glasses, kids glasses, etc., you’ll want to remove most of them. Consider only keeping your daily drinking glasses for the family and perhaps a couple of wine glasses to keep the cupboards clean and organized. Do the same with your plates and silverware. Remove and pack your rarely used china, special occasion plates, etc. so that your cupboards look clean and spacious. The more space potential buyers see, the more it will give the appearance that your kitchen has ample storage and cupboard space.
Once you have everything boxed up, you’ll need to figure out where to store the boxes. If you have space and the easy access to the attic or a small storage shed, this will be ideal, as it is out of the way and will not be seen by any buyers typically. If the attic is not an option, you could consider renting a small storage space for a month or two. You could also consider storing the boxes in the garage, but keep in mind that the buyers will look in the garage, so make sure to store them neatly in the garage and take up as little space as possible.
Now it’s time for a good deep cleaning. Depending on the size of your home and the amount of help this can take several hours to a couple of days, but it is essential if you want to sell your home fast AND for top dollar.
It’s always best to start from the top down and inside out when cleaning each room. If the room has a fan, you’ll want to thoroughly dust the blades, both top, and bottom, and be sure to clean any light fixtures that are attached. If there are hanging lights or lights in the ceiling, give them a good dusting as well.
Next, remove any pictures and wipe down the walls, baseboards, and the doors. Make sure to move any furniture away from the wall and clean behind it. If the walls look dingy or faded whatsoever, a quick light coat of paint will make them look new again. Be sure to dust or vacuum any furniture in the room. If you have a lot of loose cables or wires, there are several great products to help you organize and conceal them inexpensively.
Last, and probably most importantly, you need to deep clean the floors. The type and condition of your flooring will determine your options for cleaning and repair. For instance, with carpet and laminate/wood flooring you can usually patch any holes, chips or scratches. For tile, you might be surprised when you find out what color the grout really is! Regardless of type, you need to clean your floors as best you can. Buyers can make due with some wear and tear if the floors are clean, but if they are worn AND dirty they will start factoring in the cost to replace the floors which can be quite pricey and may cause potential buyers to find a house similar to yours without the need to replace the flooring.
Cleaning and decluttering your home will make it more appealing to potential buyers and it will give you a head start on the moving process. This part of the process can seem tedious, but it will help you get the best offer possible in the shortest amount of time.