12 Point Checklist to Follow Before Listing Your Home

12 Point Checklist to Follow Before Listing Your Home

  • Jaime Lubner
  • 09/13/22

Making the decision to list your home for sale can be an emotional time as well as a significant undertaking.  You’ll want to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row before you take the plunge. Naturally, when your home is at its best, you have a greater chance of generating the highest and best offers in the least amount of time. Making decisions on whether or not to stage the home, complete large repairs and how to execute these items can be fraught with indecision and challenges. Thankfully, there are many easy fixes that can go a long way when it comes to impressing potential buyers and garnering the most attractive offers without costing you too much (or causing a headache).

Find yourself a trusted real estate agent

While you could go it alone and sell your home without the assistance of an experienced real estate agent to save on commission fees, you’ll likely have a much more difficult time. Actually, in the long run, this route could end up actually decreasing your bottom line.

Real estate agents are trained professionals who know the ins and outs of the business. They’re equipped with connections to vendors, giving you access to various services that you would otherwise not have. Their expertise allows them to anticipate challenges in the process and how to best prepare to overcome them. There’s no substitution for this type of insight and knowledge. Having a real estate agent by your side will prove invaluable every step of the way. If you have questions about what needs to be done and not done before you list your property, your agent will be able to guide you every step of the way. They’re on your side!

Do a deep clean

Understandably, there are not many buyers who want to walk into a dirty home and try to imagine themselves living there. So, you will need to deep clean it yourself or hire a company to do it for you.

From top to bottom, the house should be sparkling!  Make sure that the walls are washed, carpets are steam-cleaned, and there are no lingering odors. Have a friend or your real estate agent walk through the home and provide you honest feedback. Sometimes, when you live somewhere long enough, you can become nose blind to any negative smells, and/or accustomed to items that will stand out to buyers and not to you.

Declutter your space

Photo courtesy of bargain dumpster

Of course, deep cleaning and clutter reduction go hand-in-hand. You want your home to look completely clutter-free when its time for buyers to come through, as prospective buyers want to come into their potential new home and see a neat and orderly environment so they can begin to envision how they could live there.

Areas of your home that look too busy or cluttered will distract buyers from the best features of your home. Remove items that look disharmonious or disharmonic, like scattered magazines on the coffee table or too many knickknacks.

Enhance your curb appeal

Put your best foot forward! When someone steps out of their car to see the home they may buy, the last thing they want to see is an overgrown lawn, a crooked mailbox, and a lot of debris out front. You want people to be in awe of how nice the property looks from the street view!

This, fortunately, is a relatively easy fix. If your front yard is overgrown, hire a landscaper to tidy it up, or you can do it yourself with a bit of work. A fresh coat of paint on anything that looks weathered will go a long way. Is your mailbox broken? You should fix that, too. Replace any outdated light fixtures, and consider putting out some plants or flowers to really brighten things up.

Take yourself out of the picture

To let the beauty of your home shine for its new owners, you’ll need to take down your family photos and any other decorative pieces that are too personal. You want buyers to envision themselves making the space theirs, but that’s hard to do when you have photos of yourself, family, or vacations everywhere. You want to help homebuyers see the home as a blank space for their own memories.

Although it may be emotional to remove such personal items from your home, remember that they’ll soon have a place in your new home!

Put it in neutral

Photo courtesy of Best of Lens

A neutral color palette is your best bet when it comes to staging or preparing your home for listing. Give potential homebuyers a neutral springboard to picture redecorating their home according to their own style. Dark or eclectic color schemes can take over a space, and they don't really show the space in its best light. Your home should be airy, inviting, bright, and as neutral as possible. This does not mean you should create a bland, sterile environment, though. Choose neutral elements like throw pillows, art, or neutral wall paint to tone things down a bit. With a neutral base, you can then add a small pop of color to the room.

Let there be light

You want to show your home in all its glory. Open the windows, blinds, and curtains to bring in the fresh air and natural light. The more light, the more spacious and inviting your home will feel. Lighting can also soften awkward spaces while accentuating unique architectural elements, such as crown molding, wood floors, or arches.

Fix broken or worn fixtures

Photo courtesy of Desert Yuma Handyman

Fixing broken and worn fixtures will go a long way to getting your stunning home market-ready. Little things like loose doorknobs, broken drawer handles, or torn screens make your home appear as if it hasn’t been properly maintained. Not only could these easy fixes turn off a potential buyer, but it could also mean that you won’t get the most attractive offers. If you’re a handy person, you can try to handle these simple fixes yourself. However, for more difficult repairs, consider hiring a professional.

Rearrange furniture

You don’t always have to go the full-on staging route to spruce up your surroundings. Simply rearranging furniture can open up a space in new ways. Consider removing bulky or torn, worn furniture that makes the space look dated, crowded, or unkempt. If you can’t replace ripped or stained furniture, try using furniture covers. This can give your sofa or armchairs a much-needed upgrade without breaking the bank.

Store your valuables

In preparation for open houses, it’s a good idea to store your valuables away. Remove any jewelry or other pocketable, expensive items. Not only will this make you feel more at ease, but it might help your home look less cluttered.

Clean out the closets

You may think that buyers won’t bother going through your closets during an open house, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. When someone is considering purchasing a home, closets and storage space are very important. If your closets are neatly organized, buyers will see how the space can be used efficiently. So, if your closets are overflowing,  aim to remove at least 50 percent of the contents for a neater appearance.

Stage the space

If the concept of staging and organizing is overwhelming, hiring a professional to stage your home for you will make everything much easier. A qualified real estate agent can arrange to have your home staged or give you tips on where you should direct your energy and budget. Staging a home can involve anything from bringing in new furniture and carefully arranging it to adding simple, special touches like throw pillows and unique art pieces.

A professional eye will make your home more attractive, of course, but it can also be an added expense. This is where a trusted real estate team to help you make decisions is worth its weight in gold.

Ready to sell your home in Grafton or Cedarburg?

If you’re looking to list your home, contact Jaime Lubner Group to arrange a consultation today. The professionals at the Jaime Lubner Group specialize in listing and selling homes in Grafton, Cedarburg and across the Milwaukee area.  They will be there every step of the way, from staging your home and preparing it for market to negotiating the best offer that will maximize your bottom line. Contact Jaime Lubner Group today!

*Header photo courtesy of Best of Lens

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