Simple Ways To Get Your Home Ready To Sell

Are you looking to take the leap and sell your house? Well, you aren't alone. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average American moves about twelve times in their lifetime. Whether it's your first time moving or you're planning on it being your last, there are some things you should keep in mind. Preparing your home to sell can come with more than just popping that "For Sale" sign up in the yard. You'll want to do some thoughtful prep to make your home more appealing and marketable, especially if you want to snag top dollar.

Creating a home that appeals to the most buyers involves making it fresh, clean, and as attractive as possible. You might need to go the extra mile to make your home stand out from the others on the market. Focus on creating an atmosphere that potential home buyers want to see themselves living in. These simple tips and tricks will make your home market ready and primed to sell for the best price.

Do your research on what buyers want

First things first, take a cue from the pros and do a little market research. Knowing what buyers want in a home will help you make yours as marketable as possible. According to the National Association of Home Builders, there are a few popular things buyers are looking for when it comes to a home. For example, exterior lighting and a dedicated laundry room. Ceiling fans, patios, and walk-in pantries were also high on the list.

Use this information to make a list of doable projects for your own home. Maybe you already have desirable features like a dedicated laundry room or back patio. Find ways to highlight these items to make them more appealing to buyers. Tasks like adding exterior lighting, installing ceiling fans, and upgrading light fixtures to energy-efficient ones can be cost-effective. Create your list and set a firm budget for what you are willing to spend to get your home market-ready. Then prioritize the tasks and get started making a timeline.

Declutter and donate unwanted items

One of the best ways to make your home feel more appealing and spacious is decluttering. Removing unwanted items will make it easier to organize yourself and complete home improvement projects. Consider renting a dumpster if you have a significant amount of clutter with large items. According to Decluttering School, you should start designating a discard pile before your dumpster is even delivered. Then, have the dumpster placed in your driveway or another convenient space. You'll often pay for a specific rental period, so make the most of your time and thoroughly declutter your home before the company retrieves the full dumpster.

If you don't know where to start, there are some simple tricks you can use to start decluttering. Use the 12-12-12 challenge to make getting rid of items more efficient (via Becoming Minimalist). Find a dozen pieces to throw away, donate, and keep. This tip will give you a fun routine to keep your decluttering on the right track.

Consult with a realtor to create a project list

A great realtor can be your best resource when preparing your home to sell. If you don't already have a real estate agent that you use, you can begin by meeting with a few. According to HomeLight, you should meet at least three agents before choosing one to sell your home. Then, you can lead on your new realtor's expertise when prepping your home.

You might think it's obvious what needs completing, but these pros have insight into helpful industry trends, especially in your area. One helpful strategy is having your realtor walk through your home with you. They can review the list of items you want to update and which ones are smart moves. Plus, they can recommend the best staging techniques to sell. You should also consult with your agent before taking on unplanned projects or making significant changes to your decor.

Go neutral to appeal to the most buyers

When prepping your home for sale, neutral colors are your best friend. Buyers don't want to walk into a home and immediately start thinking about walls that need revamping. A soothing, neutral hue throughout the home can provide a blank slate and even help your home sell faster. The paint colors you choose can not only affect the timeline of your home selling but can also impact the amount you can sell your property.

In fact, HomeLight reports that an astounding 98 percent of agents say that neutral color schemes are the preferred choice. Agent Kim Wirtz tells the site, "I had clients who had their houses on the market for a very long time with no offers. But when I took over the listing I saw the rooms were all painted different colors — we repainted everything white and ended up with seven offers over their list price in the first week of getting their house back on the market."

When selecting neutral paint colors, stick with three coordinating hues (via Clever Real Estate). Select a nice off-white or grey for the wall surfaces and a simple flat white to freshen up the ceiling. White semi-gloss paint is ideal for highlighting trim work and creating a clean look.

Remove furniture to create space

When buyers visit an open house or showing, most want to feel an open and airy vibe. If you have too much or poorly placed furniture in your space, the space will likely feel cluttered. It might leave prospective buyers wondering if their own furniture will even be able to fit in the home. Make some edits to your current setup to ensure it's as spacious-feeling and functional as possible.

Ballard Designs recommends a 30 to 36-inch walkway between seating pieces in living spaces and a 14 to 18-inch gap between the couch and coffee table. For the dining area, the table should be about 36 inches from other pieces of furniture, and each dining chair should have about 24 inches of dedicated space. Make sure bedrooms feel roomy by leaving 24 inches between the bed and the wall or dresser.

If your current furniture is too bulky or you have too many pieces to accommodate a setup that flows, consider removing some. If you want to downsize with your next home, sell or donate pieces that likely won't fit there. If you are looking for a larger property or hope to keep all of your furniture, look into short-term storage options. Prevent damage by moving your pieces to a storage unit with climate control. Or, you can order a curbside container, load them up, and have them delivered when you move into your next home.

Create organized storage spaces

While it might make you uncomfortable, prospective buyers will likely peek into closets and pantries to check out your storage space. After all, they want to ensure the home can be a functional place for them to live. Making sure these areas are decluttered and super organized is the best way to showcase their roominess and functionality.

A survey from Canadian Home Builders' Association found that closet space was a must-have item for potential buyers. Overhaul your bedroom closets and ensure they are as clean and organized as possible by storing special occasion or seasonal clothing items in vacuum-sealed bags to save space. Create zones with dividers to make closets look and feel orderly (via PODS). Divide clothes by the type of garment, arrange the items by length, and put them in order according to color. These tips will give your closets a polished and organized look that appeals to buyers.

Kitchen storage is another feature that's a priority to buyers. Make sure your pantry is in impeccable shape to show how functional your kitchen can be. Discard any unwanted or expired food and place items in neat rows. Arrange containers in rows with the tallest at the back of the shelf. Bins and baskets are an ideal way to store single-serve snacks and condiments.

Make doable kitchen upgrades

To many, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Buyers are looking for the perfect blend of form and function when purchasing a house. Some doable upgrades can make your home's kitchen stand out from the competition. According to Remodeling Magazine, the average return on investment for minor kitchen upgrades is over 72 percent. You'll likely make your house more marketable and recoup most of your costs at closing.

Look at competitive properties, especially those recently sold, for hints as to what buyers in your area want from a kitchen. Work with your realtor and within your budget to decide on what ideas will have the best result. Minor changes include swapping out an old, mismatched appliance for a new energy-efficient one that matches the others. You can also add small touches like sleek and neutral cabinet pulls to give the kitchen an upgraded look. Bright lighting, a fresh coat of paint, and the addition of a backsplash can all have a significant impact that makes your kitchen more appealing to buyers.

Design a luxurious primary suite and neutral bedrooms

The design and decor of your home reflect your family's unique tastes and preferences. Small changes can help it appeal more universally. In the primary bedroom, aim to create a retreat that any homeowner would love coming home to. DreamCloud suggests choosing a cohesive theme for your primary suite and using it to create an immersive vibe. Then, declutter unneeded items and use small touches to add luxury. Add a chandelier, artsy hardware, and a pile of quality throw pillows to create a sophisticated and stylish look.

As far as the other bedrooms go, you'll want to consider neutralizing them to appeal to children of all ages and genders. Get rid of interest-specific themed items like ballet bed linens or football wall decor and use neutral decor instead (via Zillow). Simplify the spaces, put toys away, and use only the necessary furniture like a bed and dresser. Add some neutral bedding and generic decor and lighting to show buyers that the bedrooms can be perfect for their family's unique needs.

Add bright accents for a welcoming vibe

When decorating your home to sell, your goal should be to bridge the gap from a house to a home. Of course, you want to create a neutral vibe that appeals to as many buyers as possible, but you don't want your house to come off as sterile. Adding some universally appealing items can give your home a welcoming character. House plants are a perfect way to bring greenery into your space. Jessica Welling Interiors recommends using a variety of plant types to add visual interest. Place them at various heights in the room and hang them from the ceiling. If caring for plants seems daunting throughout the sales process, look for realistic faux alternatives that can still provide the same impact.

Another sweet way to create a warm and welcoming vibe is by adding pops of color. Be thoughtful about the colors you use in each space to create a specific mood (via Business 2 Community). Blues and greens are relaxing and easy on the eyes. So toss a few sage throw pillows on a bed or place a stack of navy towels on the bathroom shelf. Yellow is a notoriously cheery shade, and a vase of sunny tulips on the kitchen counter can be a welcoming sight.

Boost your curb appeal

Your home's exterior is the first impression potential buyers will receive of the property, so take the opportunity to make it a great one! Boost your curb appeal with simple tricks to make your home more welcoming. Life Storage Blog points out that planting a tree and upgrading your mailbox are easy projects that cost less than a hundred dollars. Clean your landscaping beds and ensure your trees and shrubs are neatly trimmed. Adding solar-powered exterior lighting is a low-fuss way to add safe and appealing outdoor illumination.

When it comes to your entryway, you want it to welcome home buyers inside. Replace your address numbers with sleek, updated options. Consider replacing any door hardware, locks, or knobs that need upgraded. When painting, add a fresh coat for a flawless front door and consider sleek neutrals. One analysis found that charcoal or jet black front door fetched an average $6,271 increase in the sales price (via Zillow). Add a wreath and containers of flowers to give your entryway a cheery, welcoming vibe.

Embrace a welcoming backyard

Many buyers are looking for both great indoor and outdoor living spaces. If you have a backyard space, show off its functionality to appeal to buyers. Mike McGrew, chairman and CEO of McGrew Real Estate, told Kiplinger, "When most buyers see a house with a really nice backyard, they start to envision themselves sitting outdoors with friends having drinks."

Make sure your backyard turf is well fed and healthy. Keep it neatly mowed, trimmed, and adequately watered. Tidy landscaping beds and neatly trimmed trees and shrubs create a polished look. You can also plant a few low-maintenance flowers for a pop of color.

If you have an outdoor living area, consider it an extension of your home. Set it up to show buyers that it's the perfect setting for them to enjoy. Powerwash your patio or deck in the proper method for the material. You can also ensure your patio furniture is clean and add textiles like an outdoor rug or throw pillows to create a perfect atmosphere for hosting or relaxing.

Appeal to all of the homebuyer's senses

When prepping your home to sell, strive to appeal to all the senses. Potential home buyers will gather their first impressions within minutes of being in your space. Scent is a powerful sense, so be sure you are using it smartly to enhance the atmosphere. Add essential oil diffusers to inject welcoming scents into the space. According to Loving Essential Oils Blog, ginger, lemon, and orange oils combine to make a welcoming and homey scent. Combine lavender, tangerine, and eucalyptus oils to cleanse the air and refresh your space.

Sound is another great way to create a vibe. Use a home speaker system or connect smart speakers to play music in every part of the home. Pop and rock are the most commonly used genres for showings and open houses (via Realtor Magazine). Songs like Jack Johnson's "Better Together" and Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" are ideal options to add to your playlist for their mood-boosting beats and lyrics.

Have a last-minute showing game plan

One of the most overwhelming parts of selling your home is prepping for last-minute appointment requests from potential buyers. Set yourself up for success and get your home showing-ready with a strategic plan. First, stock each bathroom and area of the home with a cleaning caddy. Clean Mama suggests including microfiber cloths, paper towels, castile soap, and all-purpose spray. These items will allow you to wipe down surfaces and eliminate dust quickly and effectively.

Then, it's all hands on deck. Have specific jobs for adults and old children to complete in the event of a last-minute showing. You can designate tasks or put a family member in charge of each area. It's a good idea to have a preset idea of where you will spend your time during showings. This part can be complicated if you have pets or the weather is less than ideal. Enlist a neighbor or nearby family member for a spot to hang out. Or, look for pet and family-friendly indoor alternatives like Lowe's or Home Depot, where you can browse while your home's being shown (via The Dog People by Rover).

Keep your home neat, clean, and current

According to Zillow, the average time to sell a house is between 55 and 70 days. During this period, multiple prospective buyers will need to tour your home, sometimes several times. You'll also likely have visits from everyone to appraisers and inspectors. Depending on the market and your specific property, your sales process could be lengthy. Keep in mind that you'll need to be patient along the way.

The most important thing you can do throughout this timeline is to keep your home in tip-top shape. Make sure you stick to a seasonal lawn care schedule as the weather changes. Have a plan in place for routine leaf clean-up and snow removal. You'll also want to keep your home up to date with relevant decor. Small items like a holiday wreath or sign can be welcoming touches as the seasons change. They might just be the character your home needs to find its next buyer.