When you’re selling your home, your To-Do list grows pretty quickly. You have to worry about more than just selling, of course; you’re thinking ahead to finding a new home, packing up and moving, and starting fresh in a new area. Though selling a home isn’t a simple process, it is much easier when you have a skilled and knowledgeable REALTOR® in your corner. Check out these seven steps to prep your home for sale before you even call an agent – that way, you’ll have a head start when it’s time to get down to business.

7 Essential Steps to Prep Your Home for Sale

Here are seven steps to take to prep your home for sale:

  1. Make plans for your pets and your valuables.
  2. Clean everything from top to bottom.
  3. Declutter
  4. Consider hiring an inspector.
  5. Make necessary repairs.
  6. Stage your space.
  7. Boost your home’s curb appeal.

Here’s a closer look at each.

Step 1 to Prep Your Home for Sale - Make Plans for Your Pets and Valuables

Step #1 to Prep Your Home for Sale: Make Plans for Your Pets and Valuables

When prospective buyers come to check out your home, you won’t be there – and neither will your pets. Your valuables should go with you, too, for that matter. That’s for your pets’ safety and for other peoples’ safety, as well as for your home’s saleability; even if people like pets, they don’t want to see them in a home they’re thinking about buying.

And when it comes to valuables, you need to know that many prospective buyers don’t walk through every room with their agent; they branch off on their own and explore various corners of the house. Not everyone is as honest as they should be!

Related: 3 things you should never leave out during a home showing

Step 2 to Prep Your Home for Sale - Clean Everything From Top to Bottom

Step #2 to Prep Your Home for Sale: Clean Everything From Top to Bottom

Many people choose to hire a professional cleaning service before they list their homes – and that’s a great idea. But if hiring experts isn’t in the cards for you, that’s okay. Just do your standard cleaning and don’t forget the hotspots:

  • Baseboards
  • Backsplashes
  • Corners
  • Floors
  • Windows
  • Inside and outside appliances
  • Door handles and light switch plates (as well as the areas around them)

Step 3 to Prep Your Home for Sale - Declutter

Step #3 to Prep Your Home for Sale: Declutter

The idea behind decluttering is to show prospective buyers that your home is clean and easy to maintain – and even better, it’s easy to live in. Take out any furniture that interrupts the natural flow of traffic, plus:

  • A third to one-half of all your clothing from the closets
  • Loose papers and knickknacks
  • Kitchen countertop appliances
  • Kitchen items you haven’t used in the past 3 months
  • Any other items you haven’t used in the past 3 months (including kids’ toys)

Step 4 to Prep Your Home for Sale - Consider Hiring an Inspector

Step #4 to Prep Your Home for Sale: Consider Hiring an Inspector

If you suspect there are issues with your home, you may want to hire a home inspector to check things out for you. Your buyers will eventually hire an inspector, so if you can uncover issues now – and fix them – you’ll be heading off potential problems later. Buyers often use inspection reports as springboards for negotiation.

Related: 7 hot tips to help you sell your home yourself

Step 5 to Prep Your Home for Sale - Make Necessary Repairs

Step #5 to Prep Your Home for Sale: Make Necessary Repairs

When you know your home has an issue, and it’s within your power (read: budget) to fix it, it’s in your best interest to make repairs. And if you know your home has an issue but you can’t fix it, you’re required to let your buyers know.

Check around your home for things like dripping faucets, cracked window seals, old weatherstripping, and other minor problems. If you have an issue that’s bigger than you can handle on your own, ask your REALTOR for a referral to a local contractor – your agent probably knows someone in every field who can give you a great deal.

Step 6 to Prep Your Home for Sale - Stage Your Space

Step #6 to Prep Your Home for Sale: Stage Your Space

A staged home can sell for as much as 18 percent more than a non-staged home – and generally, staged homes sell faster than their non-staged counterparts do. Think of staging as your way of putting your home’s best foot forward; it’s a way to make the space as appealing as possible to prospective buyers.

The idea is to create a neutral space where buyers can envision themselves living. That means taking down personalized decor and replacing it with neutral items (think of what you’d see in your favorite luxury hotel). You may even choose to work with a professional home stager, though that’s not always necessary.

Related: 5 simple bathroom upgrades that can help you sell your home

Step 7 to Prep Your Home for Sale - Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Step #7 to Prep Your Home for Sale: Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Buyers start forming an impression of your home before they even walk through the door, so you want their first impression to be a good one. Your home’s exterior needs to look welcoming and inviting so that buyers carry a good impression across the threshold.

Clean up your yard, cut the grass and handle the edging. Plant fresh flowers or place potted plants on the porch, power-wash the driveway and sidewalk, and invest in a new mailbox if yours has seen better days.

Are You Buying or Selling a Home in Baltimore County or Howard County?

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