Preparing Your Home for Sale

The recent increase in the Montana real estate market may prompt some homeowners to consider selling their home. Before putting up your home for sale, you need to get your home market ready. Any home that has been lived in a few years will need to be decluttered, deep cleaned, repaired and staged. When removing clutter, think of it as packing up to move. This will encourage positive energy to permeate the whole selling/moving experience. Toss broken things, give away unused things and neatly pack and label the things you want to keep. Do not store clutter in closets or the garage. Store what you want to keep in a separate storage unit that preferably is not on the property. If you decide to use storage on the property, try to make the storage space off limits to potential buyers but be prepared for them to expect to see inside.

The next step is to deep clean the entire property. Cut the grass, clean the gutters and sweep the walkways and driveway. If possible, pressure wash the house and roof. At the very least, scrub the gutters, downspouts and trim to remove any dirt or mold. Then deep clean the inside of the house. Clean every nook and cranny including closets, attics and basements. Up to this point, very little money has been spent but the impact on appearance is huge.

The next step is to decide how much money you want to spend preparing your home for sale. Go over the property with a notepad and list all the repairs you can see. On a separate sheet, write down any decorating ideas. These may include paint, slipcovers, flowers or lawn decorations. Prioritize repairs and decorations according to your budget. The order of priority should be curb appeal, kitchen, bath, closets/cupboards and then staging. The potential buyer needs to feel invited to your home. Anything that needs to be repaired on the way to the entrance of the home should be addressed first. Then think about color. Yellow invites people to buy a home. Plant some marigolds or place a few pots on a step.  Try hanging a yellow birdhouse to draw the eye up if the walkway needs more work than you are able to do right now. Two chairs and a small table sends the invitation to sit and visit a while. In the kitchen, buyers will check the cupboards and other storage options (including the fridge!).

Organize everything by color and use. Turn all the cup handles the same way. Store all the canned goods like they do in supermarkets — labels forward and like items together. Pots should each have their lid and handles should face the same direction. This staging will be easier since you have already packed away a lot of things that are not used regularly. Do the same in the bathroom with linens and personal items. There should be nothing personal on the counters, the back of the toilet or in the shower. Everything should be stored in drawers and closets according to color, size and use. Purchase small plastic tubs of the same size and color and label them with each family member’s name to store personal items. Potential buyers will open doors but they shouldn’t open the tubs.

Home improvement ads are currently marketing bold paint colors but color is personal. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral tone is more appealing to more people than bold color schemes. Splashes of color can be added through accessories but the main color in a room should be neutral. If the home is brick, paint all trim a crisp white. Sided homes can be any color scheme but try to keep to natural tones. Some people advise removing all pictures and personal items because the potential buyer needs to see themselves living in the home not you. However, having personal items incorporated into the decorating lets the potential buyer visualize how the space could be used. Just remember that less is more and to group by color, size and use.

You are now ready to put your home for sale in the Montana real estate market. Your home doesn’t have to be perfect, potential buyers will always find something to try to negotiate a lower price with. However, a clean, well-organized, inviting home will sell faster and for a higher price than another home with less attention to detail. Thanks to my good friend Robert of  REMAX Edmonton Real Estate up in Alberta for his help in preparing this article Here are some other great resources in Canada for all your property needs. Carmen Paradis Calgary Real Estate