The very first step you should take in preparing your home for sale, is to do a massive decluttering session in your house.
Pretend to yourself that you have already bought your new home and it is nearly time to pack. Look around each room and decide carefully what should be coming with you to your new home, and what should be thrown away or donated.
It can be quite amazing to see just how much ‘stuff’ you’ve acquired over the years that you don’t use, don’t realise you still own or just simply don’t need. Look right into the back of cupboards and wardrobes and go through all of your storage spaces. As you pull each item out, ask yourself whether it is worth taking this item into your fresh new house.
It is a good idea to book a bin at the beginning of this process as you’ll be surprised just how much you’ll end up getting rid of. If you’ve done past renovations, you’ll probably also have old building materials that you kept ‘just in case’ which can now be put into a skip bin. Donate anything that is too good to be thrown.
If you have items that you want to keep, but that don’t necessarily make the place look better (think, the old comfy armchair that is squashed into the corner of the lounge room), hire a storage space to keep these items in. It’s better to have less furniture in a house that you are trying to sell, as it gives the impression of more space.
Give your home the cleaning of a lifetime. Don’t hold back on anything at all – in fact, if you are short on time but have the cash, consider getting some professional cleaners in who will get around your home faster than you’d be able to and who already have all the cleaning supplies ready.
Make sure you clean EVERYTHING, not just the usual surfaces like the kitchen bench and bathrooms.
Wipe down the skirting boards, the tops of ceiling fans, windows and window dressings, wipe fingerprints off the fridge and all appliances. And make sure every wardrobe, cupboard and drawer is neat and clean as prospective buyers will usually open doors to look at storage space. If they find clutter hidden away, it will give the impression that there isn’t enough proper storage in the house and that can be a big turn off to buyers.
If you haven’t already, book a bin and while you are cleaning start throwing out anything that doesn’t belong.
Get a notebook and pen, and go through your house looking at it through new (and critical) eyes. Take note of anything that needs repairing around the house, room by room. You will add a lot of value to your home if you have fixed everything before you have an open house. People like to see a finished product and know that they won’t have to spend additional money after they move in.
This can include a new coat of paint, especially if the current paint is looking old and tired, and cleaning or replacing the carpets.
Book a bin and get started on any renovations or overhauls that you’ve been meaning to get around to.
While you’re looking through your home, take note of some of the things that you can do as an ‘easy win’. These are the small and simple things you can do to a home to make it look instantly better. If it’s an older home, this might include simply changing door handles or the covers that go over light switches – you’ll be surprised at how much more modern your home will feel once you have updated these things.
Don’t forget the interior decorating. You are selling more than a home; you are selling a story. You want people to walk in and immediately feel like they could live there, or that they’d LIKE to live there because it is so tastefully decorated and feels so welcoming.
Head down to Kmart and for a small amount of money you can buy things that will instantly refresh a place and make it look like something worthy of Pinterest. Buy new cushions and throw blankets for the couches and beds, take down your family photos and replace with artwork so people can see themselves living there instead of seeing your family pictures. A new pot plant, well placed candles and a lamp or two can really give a room warmth and create ambience.
Don’t forget the outside!
It’s easy to focus on the house and completely forget about the outside. Make sure you keep on top of the gardening and weeding before the open house, and fix anything that is broken on the outside. The front of the house and yard will be the very first impression a potential buyer will have of your home, so you want to make sure it looks the best it can. Getting the ‘wow’ factor before people have even set foot inside will give them a more positive feeling as they move through the house.