Bored and ready to do something productive? Already burnt out on sourdough bread? If you’re getting antsy and are ready to get your house market-ready, here are a few things you can do while you’re quarantined that don’t involve having anyone come to your home, and likely don’t even involve a trip to the hardware store.
Declutter those closets, cabinets, and counters
Let’s start with the basics. I cannot say this enough, and so you’ll probably notice that throughout different posts and subjects, I bring this up a lot. The simplest and most inexpensive (read: free) way to make your home look bigger, brighter, and more open is to declutter. If you’re home right now with lots of time on your hands, this is a great way to be productive and never have to leave your house. Of course, if you’d like to order a load of totes and labels from The Container Store, by all means, go ahead! When clients ask me how much to remove, a good rule of thumb I use is that your closets and cabinets should look only about 1/3-1/2 full. If you live in a smaller home with overflowing closets, this may seem very overwhelming. Just remember, when you sell your home you’ll have to pack all of your things up anyway, so you’re just getting a head start. Donate some things, put away seasonal clothes you’re not using right now, and reorganize so that things fit more neatly in your storage spaces.
As for counters, the less on them, the better. Especially if you have a small kitchen, or even a large galley kitchen, removing small appliances, food storage, and knife blocks from your counters in your kitchen will make your kitchen feel infinitely bigger. In bathrooms, remove all toothbrushes, cosmetics, and other personal items. A small candle and light decor is fine, but remember, we want buyers to be able to picture themselves living in here when they come for a tour, and you know what makes it hard to picture yourself living somewhere? Someone else’s toothbrush.
Remove personal photos and start boxing them up
Here’s where your house will start feeling like a stranger’s house–and that’s a good thing, in this case (see toothbrush comment above). Personal photos are distracting to buyers. They focus on who lives in the house now rather than imagining their future in the house. Most people also tend to put lots of family pictures up, which is great, and makes a home feel cozy, but can also feel busy and cluttered. Another reason to box up your personal photos is for your own privacy.
I’m sure by now you’re sick of cleaning and running your dishwasher three times a day during quarantine. Or maybe your kids are home and you are just looking for an excuse to put them to work. Here’s your excuse: selling your home! Walk through your house as if you were seeing it for the first time and thinking about buying it. Make a list of all the items that could use a little touch up. Besides your basic floors, bathrooms, and cleaning that you do on a regular basis, try starting here (all based on things I’ve had buyers notice during showings):
- Clean windows inside and out
- Use a magic eraser to clean scuffs off of baseboards
- Clear cobwebs from corners and closets
- Use baking soda on drains and sinks to make them sparkle
- Clean window treatments that you plan on leaving
- Bleach shower curtain liners and clean any mildew off ceilings and out of showers/tubs
- If you have pets, shampoo any carpets
- Pressure wash your house/porch/deck/front walk
Touch up paint with paint you already have
This is a tried and true house prepping tip. To avoid a trip to the hardware store, venture down to your basement or garage and take a look at the paint you have on hand. If you painted your home more than a couple years ago, or if a room is particularly sunny or a high traffic area, the paint you used last time may have faded or be in rough shape. In this case, your old paint won’t match the new touch ups. In this case, it’s ideal to either paint the entire wall/room, or use a magic eraser and do your best to get the walls looking fresh again.
Freshen up your curb appeal
Here is a really good way to get outside, get moving, and improve your home’s value and curb appeal. A little landscaping refresh doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Right now Lowe’s and Home Depot are offering free curbside pickup, and still have paid delivery options as well. You can practice good social distancing and still get everything you need for a little yard work. Even just trimming the landscaping you already have and adding fresh mulch will work wonders. First impressions are so important in real estate, because if buyers don’t like the first impression, there won’t be a second.
Remember, it’s okay if you can’t get to everything. Nobody finishes everything on their list, and no house is perfect. But hopefully, with time and a little elbow grease, we can help buyers think that your home is perfect for them!
If you’re ready to talk about a more specific plan to get your house ready to list, shoot me a message here.