You’ve reviewed the comps, visited the competing listings in your neighborhood and settled on a price. You’re ready to go on the market and get your place sold. But wait…take a deep breath and take a look at your home with a critical eye. What do you see? A place that looks like the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog? A college dorm room? Somewhere in between?
Most likely it’s somewhere in between — and to get top dollar for your home, it needs to be closer to the Pottery Barn catalog than to the college dorm room. Here’s some advice on what you can do to sell your house quickly, in addition to pricing it correctly.
1. Maximize curb appeal. If needed, power wash the front of the house. Wash the windows. If you’re lucky enough to have any green space in front of your home — a rarity in much of San Francisco — spruce it up with some colorful blooming flowers. Ditch the ratty doormat in favor of a new one.
2. Edit your stuff. If your living room is so full that it looks like a furniture store, a good starting plan is to take everything out except a sofa, coffee table, a couple of chairs and the cabinet that hides your media gear. It’s OK to have photographs and other personal items on display, but don’t overdo it. In the bathroom, put away all your toiletries. Make the beds and don’t leave laundry on the floor. (You’d think that would be a given, but you’d also be surprised at what some people think is OK when they’re showing their home.)
3. Clean. Then clean again. If you have a pet, get your carpets cleaned. If you have kids, get your carpets cleaned. If you have kids and pets, get new carpet.
4. Paint. This is the least expensive way to freshen up a home. If you’ve gone color-crazy, it’s a good idea to pick a more neutral palette of colors. I don’t have a single white wall in my house, so this one is always tough for me to recommend, but a neutral color will allow potential buyers to visualize their own belongings and way of life in a home instead of being distracted by a black ceiling and dark red walls (I’m not making that up).
5. Make any minor repairs that are needed: fix any leaking or dripping faucets, replace any damaged hardware on doors and windows, considering sanding and refinishing your hardwood floors if they’re scratched or dull, re-stain decks or exterior stairs that are weathered.
This is a basic list; if your home is in very poor condition or is ready to be featured on an episode of “Hoarders,” then the preparations would be much more extensive. If you’d like advice on what you’d need to do to prepare your home for sale, let us know.