13 super easy tricks for how to get your house ready to sell! These tips will help make sure your home looks ready to sell and get you an offer faster! Save time by prepping ahead of time rather than waiting around for home buyers.
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Earlier last month, the four of us packed up our Michigan home and flew out west. We are officially living in Arizona! [Read all the move details here]
And whew-– the whole process was pretty overwhelming. Until we move into our new home in about a week, we are living in a furnished apartment in North Scottsdale. While the relocation process has been pretty organized, it’s been a little stressful living only with what we brought on the airplane 8 weeks ago.
But one thing that wasn’t stressful when we moved?
Having our house already sold, after only 8 days on the market.
We didn’t have to worry about showings, negotiating from across the country, or wondering who was inside our home while we were 2,000+ miles away.
Leaving our home was hard, but knowing it was going to another family who would love it just as much as we would, made the transition a little easier.
If you aren’t already familiar with our story, we sold our new home-build in Alabama and then built another new home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Again, we were under contract in just a week.
After selling two homes in two weeks combined, I wanted to share what worked for us.
How to Sell Your House Fast
If you’re in a similar situation, I wanted to share my favorite strategies for how to get your house ready to sell fast!
After all who wants to keep their home showing ready every day for weeks… or months? None of us need that stress!
[Also, these photos are primarily from my phone as we were moving, I apologize that they aren’t shot with a better camera!]
I know that I probably sound like a broken record, but declutter, declutter, declutter!
Think like a buyer. [We’ll think about this often when selling our home!]
If they can’t see past the papers and knick-knacks, how can they picture living in the house? If they can’t see how big your countertops are, how can their realtor point that out as something they were looking for in a new home?
Decluttering your home will instantly make it seem larger in appearance, well kept, and look wonderful in your listing photos.
Bonus for you: Once you declutter, that’s less stuff for you to pack up and unpack in your new home.
Now that you’ve decluttered all the extras out of your space, it’s time to walk through your home as a prospective buyer. This is the time to take a notebook and write down any small things that may need updating, touch-ups, or staging.
Areas To Look At:
Baseboards & Door Frames (The Magic Eraser does wonders for cleaning up dirty areas)
Interior Door Condition (We use an old t-shirt and pledge to wipe them all down and remove greasy fingerprints)
Small Kitchen Updates
Outdoor space or drainage concerns
Stage a Playroom into an office
Look for chipped paint, scratches that amplify wear & tear
Mechanical areas of the house
Touch Up Paint
Like anyone living inside a home, you inevitably have wall bang-ups, kids who may try to draw on the walls, or just lots of fingerprints or elbow smears on staircases.
Take an hour one morning & a pencil to walk around and circle area that needs to be painted.
Another Idea: Touch up your home once or twice a year to stay ahead. We did this last August which really helped us get our home prepped for selling in just a few days.
Spot Clean Your Carpet
When we built our home in 2013, we purposefully chose the cheapest carpet option. We had a baby, knew another was likely coming soon and understood we would be pretty rough on the carpet.
We had every intention of replacing the carpet when the kids outgrew their messiest stages. And it was likely going to be this year or next. Now that we were moving quickly, we didn’t want to spend $10,000-12,000 on the carpet.
Instead, we used an inexpensive carpet cleaner and it did amazing things! I am a bit upset that I didn’t know about it sooner. But I’m prepared for the next spill!
Now, when buyers walked into our home, they didn’t see life with kids spills, they were able to see move-in ready.
It made a big difference for just a little bit of time.
Paint Over Any Bright & Colorful Walls
Let’s talk about color! Do you know who doesn’t love color? Those who can’t see past the color of your walls. And there are LOTS of people who simply see a room that’s not their taste and won’t even give the whole house a chance.
And paint is super easy to cover when you enjoy doing that sort of thing. But for those who may be physically unable to paint or don’t enjoy the ‘hassle’ of painting, it can be a hard stop.
To avoid anyone who couldn’t see past color, we painted over Aubrey’s super pretty in the sunshine dark purple walls. It was one of the first rooms we painted 5 years ago when we first moved into the home. I wanted Aubrey to feel like she had her own space and to me, having a pretty, girly room was that.
And while it was cute for a little girl, but I knew it wouldn’t be for everyone. So Jordan & I spent $30 on a gallon of paint, using the mudroom color, and painted the walls the night before our professional photos were taken. We started around 7:00 PM after the kids went to bed and finished up around 10:30 PM. It was exhausting, wasn’t perfect, but it was done.
And perfectly neutral for anyone to picture themselves living in the room! We joked that the next family would probably paint it purple again, but that’s okay, whatever sells the house!
De-personalize Your Space!
If you would’ve walked through our home a few months ago, you would’ve been overwhelmed with the number of family photos on every single surface. We love to take photos– and print them off!
And let’s not even mention the refrigerator! It was covered in brewery magnets, destination magnets, and little snippets of paper that seemed pretty important at the time.
But let’s be real here, no future home buyer wants to see photos of the Wise Family when they are picturing themselves living in our space. Knowing this, I sadly started taking down 90% of our photos.
But what about the empty space?
I was wary of that, too. I didn’t want the house to look sterile. Here’s what I did— I used this de-personalization exercise as an excuse to buy some new artwork from Smallwood Home Signs.
I bought a few big pieces using a great discount code and within a week or so, I started hanging up really cute signs that I will absolutely use again in our new home. To avoid making new nail holes that we’d need to fill, I used 3M photo hanging strips to hold up the signs.
Plus, who doesn’t love “Let’s Stay Home” and “This is our happy place” when they walk into a home for them?
You just never know what may push your next buyer’s over the edge!
Professional Photos Are A Must Have These Days
When your future home buyer is looking through Zillow, or Realtor.com, you want them to be wowed by your home immediately. So much that they text their realtor and say how soon can we see this house?
And capturing their interest is all about having awesome professional photos.
Some realtors will automatically include professional photos, others may not. It’s important that you ask right away when you’re interviewing prospective agents.
Remember, if you can’t get them hooked to make a showing appointment, they’ll never have a chance to make an offer.
Make a Home Tour Video
While your professional photographer is in your home, make sure you also book them for a video. A video helps a buyer walk through your space and understand your layout.
Great photos do wonders, but until you actually see the floorplan in action, you may be losing out on confused perspective buyers.
List Price Your Home Very Fairly
There is a fine line for pricing your home. Thankfully, a realtor can help guide you. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years… it’s one thing to think to what your home is worth, it’s another thing to understand what the market thinks your home is worth.
And it’s tough if you need a certain dollar value out of your home.
Knowing that we wanted our Michigan home sold as quickly as possible, we purposefully priced it low enough to attract attention and not annoy our neighbors with a low comp price.
The relocation company had two realtors come in and suggest a selling price. One was lower and the other was like 8% higher. The higher realtor said we could list high and settle low after some time.
The lower suggested listing price realtor said, “let me list it at this and sell it in a few days.“
Ultimately, the lower selling price suggestion was actually higher than the high-guy-who-wanted-to-settle-low. Make sense? 🙂
Knowing our goal was to sell, move, and not worry about the house, we moved forward with a lower listing price that we knew would turn heads and SELL.
And it did just that!
We didn’t need to make extra mortgage payments on an empty home just for the sake of negotiating later. There is a huge time value of money and who wants to extend showings over weeks?
Ultimately with great photos, a video, and pricing, you can optimize the most amount of people who are coming through your door. Now it’s just time to sell your house!
Create an Answer to Your Home’s Biggest Problem
Now that you’ve done a complete walkthrough of your home, outdoor space, decluttered and tidied up everything you can, it’s time to think about potential problems.
What would make someone really not put in a full price offer on your home?
This is not easy.
For us, it was the highway behind our home. We didn’t mind it at all, but we knew that it could be a problem for someone else who wasn’t accustomed to living near a busy road.
To help avoid this reason being why we couldn’t get a full price offer, we asked our realtor to offer a $5,000 fence allowance. If the new buyer’s wanted to build a white vinyl fence, they could easily do so. Admittedly $5,000 wouldn’t get them too much of an HOA approved fence, but it was able to get them thinking about how they could in-fact not see the road and start their project.
and it worked!
Thinking objectively about your home isn’t easy. But if you start considering what may hold other’s back, think of an out of the box way to keep their interest. Even something as silly as a small fence allowance, you may never know what will work!
Say Yes to All Showing Requests
Have you ever experienced a 7:30-8:30 PM showing on a Friday night?With toddlers who go to bed at 7 PM?
This was one of our showing requests. And as painful as it was to say ‘YES’ on the showing app, we accepted it. We thought, “What if this is THE family for our home? What if they just work later and this is the earliest they could make it?”
With this attitude, we tried to find something that we could do to keep the kids entertained and still keep our sanity almost 2 hours past bedtime. So we went to the movies!
The next time you receive a really inconvenient showing request, try to bear through it and pray that it’s the right buyer for your home.
Keep Everything Super Tidy
Ohhhhhh this one is such a struggle. Who really enjoys keeping their home in showing ready condition 24/7? We certainly didn’t.
Here are a few tricks I used to help keep our home tidy during showings and a few ideas from fellow OHME readers!
Bake all dinners on Sunday so that throughout the week you don’t dirty dishes
Give yourself permission to use paper plates and plastic silverware for a while
Keep a plastic tote in each bedroom/ family space. Each morning, toss all the clutter from life inside the tote! Slide the tote in a corner or closet.
If you are meal planning, keep the week flexible depending on last-minute showing requests. You don’t want to have a slow cooker out all day of a powerful aroma that is off-putting.
Do a load of laundry every night rather than letting it build up. Place all your towels in the wash right away rather than back on the towel racks.
Clear off the bathroom counter as you use items each morning.
Before bed, each night or before you run out the door in the mornings, do a quick glance through for any clutter. Toss it in the back of your car if you need to!
Do a quick vacuum over any carpeted spaces in main living areas and if you have the time, the bedrooms. I felt like even if the house wasn’t 100%, vacuuming the floors made everything look just a little bit better.
For the week of showings, we ate out a lot, ate super quick dinners that required almost no prep and just left it that. We knew it would be difficult to change it up, but saving time and cleaning the kitchen was totally worth it.
Front Porch Curb Appeal Ideas
This seems like a total common sense move, but I have to tell you. After seeing so many neighbors homes go up for sale in the neighborhood, the curb appeal is essential. If you feel like you cannot commit to planting new flowers right now, consider taking on a few small curb appeal boosting projects.
And remember, while you may rarely through your front door, all existing buyers will walk up from your driveway. Just something to consider when you’re prioritizing projects.
Paint the front door (if needed). For us, we never used the front door. When I was looking at earlier this Spring I was thinking ohmigosh, this has gotten really beaten up by the weather over the past 5 years.
Add a new welcome mat if the old one is well worn
Buy a planter that comes in a cute container from a big box store the next time you’re driving by.
If you have a chair or seating already, look for a clearance throw pillow that brightens up the porch
If you have a little extra muscle, buy a few bags of mulch and thrown them across your existing flowerbeds. For about $3 a bag, you can make a big impact with a little sweat equity!
Now that we are getting close to closing on our new home in the desert, I cannot wait to share photos with you! In the meantime, I completely understand what it’s like to feel overwhelmed when it comes to prepping your current home for sale. I hope that you found a few new tricks for making selling your own home as quick & painless as possible!
I’m a busy mom of two little ones who is constantly looking for the yummiest meals that are quick to make for school nights. I am a big fangirl of chalk paint projects because they make my DIY skills look amazing– even though I’m not a pro. I believe in creating routines to keep our days in check– even if they change each season! I completely understand what it’s like to be a Type A personality who tries to plan all the things, but still, wonder where to simply start.I’m a huge fan of not being Pinterest perfect. I prefer done over perfect any day.