Getting your home ready for market can be a very busy time depending on a few factors:
The condition of the home
Whether you are living there or not
Whether you live in a museum or more ”real” life with dogs, cats, and/or children
Whether your busy lifestyle means that every item isn’t exactly where it needs to be at every moment
For everything that has been on your “I’ll get to that eventually” list…now is the time. The good news is that you know your home better than anyone else. It’s best to fix these things while you can, either by yourself or with a handyman. If not, and an inspector finds it later, the buyer is almost certainly going to request that a licensed professional handle all repairs, which can cost a lot more.
Here is an overview of the steps in the “getting ready for market” process:
1. Deferred maintenance
These are all the things you said you would get to someday. They aren’t a big deal, but they can signal to a buyer that the a house has – or hasn’t – been well taken care of.
Every loose door knob, broken screen, and backwards light switch need to be addressed before you put the house on the market.
It’s not necessary to do a complete remodel right before selling unless there’s a special circumstance, but I do sometimes recommend upgrades like changing out the appliances for stainless steel, changing out an old thermostat for a programmable model, repainting, getting new carpet, etc.
3. Landscaping and outdoors
Spruce up the outside as much as possible. Pull any weeds, plant a few flowers, and put down some new mulch, and power wash siding, driveways, and decks as needed. Paint your front door, and buy a new welcome mat.
4. Declutter and depersonalize
The buyers need to be able to picture themselves in the home. Remove pictures of you and your family, remove your memorabilia, and get rid of the clutter. The space needs to feel as open as possible, so more often than not, less is more.