You know you are going to move so start packing early. I recommend having three piles:
- I love it and I’m going to “Keep it” pile
- Probably never going to use it again, so let’s “Donate It” pile
- Ugh! No one is going to want this; it’s just “Garbage” pile.
Start cleaning out and packing drawers, closets, the basement/garage, books, extra clothes, toys, dishes, etc. You’ll be happy you started early. Things tend to multiply in dark places.
Remove valuable items and safely store them in a safe deposit box, home safe, or a locked drawer/closet. Larger items can be kept with a friend or relative. Valuable items include precious jewelry, coin collections, paintings, check books, bank statements, cameras, etc.
Living in our home, we become indifferent to dings, scratch marks, handprints, and overall dirt on our walls and baseboards. A fresh coat of paint eliminates these marks and will visually invigorate the home while helping to remove old odors. Neutral paint colors are recommended, such as warm grays, greens, creams, and blues. Bright colors, such as turquoise, yellows, and reds, tend to be undesirable to a buyer. Sellers ask me if they should re-hang pictures or decorative items once the home has been painted, I say “No.” The home has been neutralized, and a good painter will patch the nail holes so the buyer can start fresh with a blank wall.
All minor repairs such as a leaking toilet, broken tiles, sliding doors, cabinet doors or drawers that do not close, scratched floors, etc. should be fixed. The buyer can ask for money to fix, repair, or correct the defective items from the seller. Repairing the items before the home is listed will save the seller money. A buyer will notice the home has been well maintained by the seller and an offer usually comes quicker. I recommend to my sellers that they have a Home Inspection completed on the home by a licensed Home Inspector prior to listing the home. Hidden defects can be discovered and corrected by the seller.
Wash your windows, inside and out. This allows natural sunlight to stream into the home and buyers can view the outdoors clearly versus trying to see their new yard while navigating around finger prints, smears of dog drool, spider webs, and dirt. I also recommend washing door and cabinet handles, stair railings, and light switch plates. There’s nothing less appealing than when a door is opened by the buyer and they touch something sticky.
Replace any broken fixtures or light bulbs. This includes faucets, door knobs, light fixtures, garage door openers, etc. Again, the buyer will recognize that the seller has maintained and cared for the home, and an offer usually comes sooner, closer to the list price.
Neutralize your home, pack away family photos, unique art, awards, certificates, etc. When buyers enter a home, they try to envision how the home will work for them and their family. If a home has too many items of distraction, it is hard for buyers to imagine themselves living in the home.