Updated: Mar 4, 2021
My husband and I recently put our home on the market. The MLS listing went live on a Tuesday evening, and we quickly had 5 showings scheduled for Wednesday. The first one came with a full price offer. Many factors contributed to us only having the house on the market for one day, of course, and here is a list of the things we (the homeowners) did in the weeks leading up to putting our home up for sale.
1. Pressure wash
We don’t own a pressure washer. Rather than renting one, though, Aric made a post on NextDoor asking if anyone would lend us one. A man from the neighborhood quickly replied, and he even dropped the pressure washer off the next day! Aric pressure washed the entire house and driveway, and it made a huge difference. We noticed it the most on the chimney stack. Our white house looked white again!
2. Touch up paint
After the pressure wash, there were a few places where the paint chipped. We took one of the chips to Home Depot and they matched the paint. We bought a quart for touch-up. I spent a couple of hours touching up the front of the house.
While we were at Home Depot getting paint, we also bought 20 bags of mulch and 3 crotons. Aric had pulled out some bushes a year ago and we never really got around to replacing them, so he planted the 3 plants up front and mulched in both the front and back.
4. Mow the lawn
Aric made sure to mow the lawn and edge before photos were taken, and right before the showings. People might not notice a freshly mowed lawn, but they’ll certainly notice if it isn’t mowed or edged!
5. Put away personal items
We wanted any potential buyers, whether viewing the home online or seeing it in-person, to be able to picture themselves living there. We did a decent job furnishing and decorating the place, so we didn’t feel we needed to have the place staged. We just wanted to remove personal items, like pictures, that made it obvious who the owners were. Sadly, I also put away a lot of my Florida Gators memorabilia. I know I’d be turned off looking at a house full of Seminole stuff.
The evening before pictures, we spent 2 hours tidying, straightening, and cleaning the house. We dusted. We swept. We cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms. We wanted people to know we took pride in the house.
7. Make repairs
Luckily for me, my husband is pretty handy, so we didn’t have many lingering repairs that needed to be made. One example was that the screws had fallen out of a hinge in a bathroom cabinet, so he fixed that in about 5 minutes. Making small repairs like this means fewer items for the inspector to find and add to their report.
8. Get professional pictures taken
I’ve looked at hundreds of listings for homes. There’s a broad range of photo quality in them. In this case, our realtor scheduled a professional photographer to take pictures for the listing, and it was one of the best listings I’ve seen. Am I biased? Probably, but it was worth it either way. Luckily, our realtor scheduled and paid for the pictures, so at least ask yours if that’s something they’ll do.
The bottom line here is this: do some prep to your house before you list it. Make sure it looks like you took care of the home and took pride in living there. Logically, potential buyers want to know they’re buying a good property. Emotionally, they want to be able to see themselves living there: cooking, hanging out, raising a family, etc. It takes a little bit of effort and a little bit of money, and it’s worth it!