When it comes time to sell a house it can be overwhelming. In this post, I am going to go over how to prepare a house for sale.
My family of 5 lives in a tiny little farmhouse. I love this farmhouse. I love the history of this house and the memories it has been a part of. But, we have outgrown our home.
I have all 3 of my boys in 1 bedroom. We all share 1 TINY bathroom, and there is literally no place for my kids to play, besides outside. I love that my kids can play outside however there are months here in Utah where it is bitter cold and then on the flip side blistering hot. In fact, today we have a heat advisory in place.
As my kids continue to grow we will keep getting more and more cramped and so we have reached the decision to sell our adorable little home and move into a home that fits our needs a bit better. This decision was hard. We love our community and our home. Having a little land is such a blessing. Being so close to family and friends is amazing. However, we know it is time to move on.
Since this is what my life is currently consumed with I figured why not share the steps I am taking to prepare my home to sell.
Prepare the Exterior of Your Home
The very first thing people will see when they come to look at your home is the outside. It is crucial to have some curb appeal.
My home is over 100 years old. It has some issues. We don’t have a paved driveway, we have porches that are starting to sag and we have aged siding. We knew we could not afford to fix these issues. But, we knew we needed to do everything we could to make it look great.
1. Upgrade the Flowerbeds to Help Sell a House
The first thing I did was begin working on the flower beds. We had mass amounts of beautiful peonies but they had overtaken our property. Between the peonies and the weeds, our flower beds look rough. So, I starting tearing things up. We thinned out the peonies, pulled all the weeds and placed new weed barrier and wood chips down. It changed the whole look of the home!
2. Mow the Lawn to Sell a House
Another thing we did was lawn care. I have a huge yard! I love the fact it is so big but to be honest keeping it looking great has not been my highest priority. Due to the size of it and the fact that my husband works 2 jobs and I am home with 3 littles it made it hard to maintain. We decided to invest a little money and hire our lawn mowing. My husband found a guy that is a teacher during the school year and was looking for something to do in the summer and we hired him to come to mow our lawn once a week. We are still taking care of the edging and trimming but not having to mow the .5 acre of grass is a huge time saver!
3. Cosmetic Upgrades for Selling a House
Lastly, I worked on making it pretty, not just maintained. I gave the front door a fresh coat of paint. I placed a new welcome mat, potted flowers, and some chairs on the front porch. Super simple updates that brighten the place up.
Overall the exterior of my home received approximately $300 in updates between the materials and the yard care expenses.
-$100 Yard Mowing
-$200 weed barrier, wood chips, potted plants, fresh paint.
Prepare the Interior
This is where things get hard.
4. Prepare a House for Sale by Decluttering
I have a tendency to hoard things. It takes great effort and emotional strength for me to get rid of things. I am constantly fighting an internal battle not to become a hoarder. Luckily for me, my husband has zero emotional attachments to material things. He is able to talk me off my emotional breakdown 90% of the time!
Courtney and I have been working non-stop on emptying the house and the garage. I have shed many tears but overall I feel really good about the progress we are making. We have been able to donate mass amounts of clothing, household items, and of course tons of toys, and outside gear.
There is still a lot of items that we use regularly and want to keep but due to the size of our home, it still felt overcrowded. To solve this issue we rented a storage unit. Normally I would advise against this but since we are more than doubling our square footage I know we will have adequate room for storing these items and it will cost us more to replace them than to store them.
5. Prepare a House for Sale by De-Personalizing
I like my home to reflect who we are and the love we have here. But, taking down our family pictures, the kid’s artwork, and swapping our fun bright patterns makes the home appeal to a larger group of people.
6. Prepare a House for Sale by Fixing Things
Ugh…more work! I know, I know, this is not fun but it will totally be worth it. Or, I keep telling myself.
Once your home is decluttered and de-personalized you can walk through the home as a potential buyer would. When you are walking through your home note the things that stick out to you that needs fixing.
In my home, we had a threshold that liked to lift up going into a room. We had some paint that needed repairing and we had to replace all the carpet. Re-carpeting is expensive but we still had green shag carpet and I knew that if we wanted to sell this house for the top dollar we needed to invest.
In fact, we did a lot to this house to sell it. We did an entire kitchen remodel. New cabinets and countertops, new appliances, new flooring, even new electrical! It was a lot of work but makes a huge difference in our home.
If something like that is not in your budget, do not worry! We knew that we needed to invest in this home so it would sell at a higher price point but we could have easily just left the kitchen and carpet as is and listed it at a lower price point.
Another thing to note is the lighting. You want your home to feel bright and open. Make sure all lightbulbs are working and that your windows are washed and curtains are drawn when showing the house. People are drawn to bright and clean areas so make sure you are showing a clean and bright area!
7. Prepare a House for Sale by Staging
If possible have your home staged. This was not an option for us. But we improvised as best we could. We donated excess furniture that we knew we would not want in the new home. We bought new area rugs, cleaned all the curtains, and bought a new sectional to really make the area feel clean and new.
Move the furniture around until you find the places that make the room look the biggest and is still functional. I moved my kid’s furniture around at least 3 times trying to find the right configuration.
Ensure all beds are made, neatly, before each show. I also like to make sure all flooring is vacuumed and/swept. There is something about carpet lines that makes things feel desirable!
If you only have a few moments take a slightly damp cloth to your couch. Swipe that cloth up and down the back of your couch along with the cushions and it will create the appearance of vacuum lines but without the actual vacuuming part. Instead of 10 plus minutes, it takes 1 minute and presents the same!
8. Prepare a House for Sale with Smells
The very last thing I like to do is make sure my house smells amazing!
You don’t want to have candles going because fires danger and also… “what are these people trying to hide” may cross some minds.
Instead of candles, I opt for wallflowers in each room. Stick with the same scent so the smell is consistent throughout the home.
Another great option is essential oils in a diffuser. I love using lemon and orange with a little lavender mixed in. It is a fresh clean smell with a calming effect. It is amazing.
Prepare a House for Sale
Selling a house is scary. It is full of uncertainties and insecurities. We question if it will sell, how fast will it sell, will you get as much money as you hoped for, etc?
By focusing on the items I mentioned above it will help ease some of the insecurities. Of course, I am fully aware that nothing will completely ease your mind, trust me, I am currently in the throws of this myself. But, by putting in the work I have confidence that my home will sell and if you put the work into your home you too will have some peace in regards to the sale of your home.