Listing your home for sale can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. By taking the daunting task and breaking it up into a four-week “to-do” list, you can reduce your stress and even sell your home faster and for more money. Here’s what we recommend as a four-week prep plan for success.
Week One – Organizing To Sell Your Home
In week one, you’re going to go through the entire house room by room and make three separate lists (or piles).
The items you “must have available” include kitchenware, clothing, toiletries, etc. Think like you’re going on an extended vacation. What do you need to pack? You’ll keep these items in the home while your house is on the market.
The items that you want to keep but will not need during showing times would be things like personal pictures, decorations, off-season clothing, etc. These items can be packed away and stored. The more you can pack away, the larger your home will appear. Make sure that closets, cabinets, drawers, and vanities appear to have extra space.
This is also a good time to clean out the pantry and eliminate expired food or items you’ll never use.
The final list is for anything that can be donated or that you want to sell. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in the past year, you probably don’t need it. Get rid of it!
If you are selling items, go ahead and list them immediately in local buy/sell or marketplace groups.
Week Two – Interviewing Realtors, Packing “Keep” Items, Making a Repair List
This is going to be the most stressful and busy week of preparation. Remember to be kind to yourself and allow time to get it done. Break it up into days (Monday Kitchen, Tuesday Bedrooms, Wednesday, etc.) and ask for help from family and friends. You may need to complete these steps next week. Don’t worry if there is an overflow into week three.
You’ll want to schedule a time to speak to Realtors. Ask for recommendations from family, friends, and co-workers, and research them on your own. Choose three and interview all three of them. Once your interviews are complete, don’t make an instant decision. Instead, put it on the back burner and think about the pros and cons each has to offer. You’ll be hiring this Realtor next week.
This week you’ll also make a plan for storing all the keep items and move them to the temporary storage area. It’s a good idea to rent a storage unit for a couple of months if you don’t have a friend or family member with some extra space they can allow you to use temporarily. If neither option is viable, you can neatly stack storage bins, boxes, etc., in the garage. Although it’s not ideal, it can be explained away during showings. Just be sure not to block areas buyers want to see, such as electrical panels, shut-off valves, hot water heaters, attic access, etc.
Lastly, this week you will make a repair list. It is best to have a pre-inspection done by a home inspector. That way, you have a report and can show the report and completed repairs to potential buyers once your home is listed. If you do not hire an inspector, at least have your HVAC system serviced and replace your filter. Walk through your house yourself and then ask a friend or family member to walk through your home to identify repair items that you may be blind to.
Week Three – Hiring a Realtor, Finish Moving Non-Essential “Keep” Items, Complete Repairs, & Have a Plan for Showings
You may have some overflow from week two, so make sure any items that you haven’t moved are taken care of this week.
This week you will be hiring the Realtor you chose from the three you interviewed. It’s essential to let the Realtor know asap you chose them so they can schedule photography, prepare paperwork, and schedule staging (if necessary).
You’ll also have all the repairs completed (or at least scheduled) from your week two list.
Finally, discuss a plan for showings with your Realtor. It’s important that you allow showings whenever requested. Although it’s not the most convenient part of listing a home, it’s the most necessary. The more showings you accommodate, the faster your home will sell.
Week Four – Final Week Before Your Home is On the Market
This week you’re going to clean, clean, clean, and clean. Consider hiring someone to deep clean your home. Pay special attention to the grout, tile, blinds, ceiling fans, and appliances. Outside, add instant curb appeal with container gardening, remove brush, trim bushes, and edge the lawn. Consider hiring a landscaper for a quick sprucing up.
The final thing you’ll do is purchase small bins or baskets to quickly toss things into when a showing is scheduled. During showings, you want the counters clean and void of excess kitchen items, bathroom toiletries put away, pet items stored, and toys off the floor. Bins make it easy to run through, toss items in containers and then stow them away under the bed until after the showing.
Now you are ready to sell your home!