If you’re like many sellers, you think your house is perfect and you can’t imagine why it wouldn’t sell exactly like it is right now. This is a common problem. It’s called “You can’t see what’s right in front of your face because you’re enamored with your house-itis.”
This is often the cause of homes that go unsold while others fly off the market. Symptoms include too much clutter and personalization, outdated décor and fixtures, and a general unwillingness to see the things that other people – people like buyers and agents – are seeing.
There is a common cure. It starts with taking a good, honest look at your home and then making some small changes to turn what could be an unsellable house into a sold house. Try our 17 hacks and you’ll be eyeing that sold sign in no time.
1. Look at your home with fresh eyes. The reality is you may not even know what your house really looks like, because you’re not looking at it like someone who’s never seen it before. You overlook the pile of shoes at the front door, the lint on the ceiling fan, and the overflowing pile of mail on the counter.
Go outside, ring your doorbell, allow yourself to be let in, and scan the house, like you would an open house. What do you see? Clutter? Personalized items everywhere? Outdated décor? Dirty walls or floors? Broken appliances? Noticeable cracks in walls and wear and tear on floors? These are all things that will be noticed by buyers and can keep you from getting a good sales price or selling at all.
2. Organize bookshelves neatly, or, better yet if you’re a book hoarder, take half of the books and put them in boxes stacked neatly in the garage. You’ll have to box them up soon anyway, right? Get a head start now and de-clutter at the same time!
3. Apply that same principle to your picture frames and your knick-knacks. Creating some airiness will allow buyers to see the space, not your stuff.
4. And apply that same principle to your closets – and don’t forget the coat closet and linen closet too. Closets that are overfilled will be a turnoff for buyers. You want the house to look like it has ample space for everything, not that there is so little storage you have to cram everything in.
5. Clean your sinks and your toilets and keep them clean. Sound obvious? You’d be surprised.
6. Make sure the insides of your drawers and cabinets are tidy. Yes, people will open them. Wouldn’t you?
7. Have a dog? Clean up the poop in the backyard. Poop on a potential buyer’s shoe is a sure way to kill a sale.
8. Have a cat, bird, leopard, gecko, or any other type of animal? Tidy up their cage, take care of any visible waste, and make sure there are no prevailing odors. Stinky doesn’t sell.
9. And speaking of stinky… selling is about sensory. People will look, touch, and smell. Steal an idea from model home communities and bake chocolate chip cookies right before an open house or a showing if you have time.
10. At the very least, have fresh flowers in the entry to set an inviting tone. Also make sure you have a clean welcome mat out front and there are no advanced weeds, excessive leaves, or a dirty walkway. First impression, you know.
11. Look up, down, side to side. Let yourself see everything. Dirty light fixtures or missing or inoperable light bulbs, and filthy air conditioning registers or baseboards can put a bad taste in a buyer’s mouth, and all are simple fixes. Cleaning and painting baseboards is one of the quickest, easiest, and most impactful changes you can make to a space because it brightens up the space instantly and gives it a fresh look.
12. Check all the windows and doors, doorknobs, locks and any other little things that can be easily fixed by with a DIY moment.
13. Get dirty clothes off the floor. Even in the laundry room. If your laundry basket is overflowing and it’s time for a showing, put all the clothes in a trash bag and stow it in the garage. Just remember to bring the bag back in before trash day!
14. No dirty dishes in the sink. No time to wash them? Stow them in the dishwasher, even if they’re not scrubbed and ready to be loaded. And do it neatly. Buyers may open the dishwasher.
15. Same goes for your oven and your microwave. A quick fix for a dirty microwave: fill a microwavable bowl with water and zap it for two minutes. When it’s done, the steam will have loosened up anything caked or baked on, and you can simply wipe clean
16. Open the blinds or drapes and let the light in – and while you’re at it, clean the windows! Natural light is one of the top features homebuyers are looking for.
17. Make your bed. Seriously. No one wants to see your crumpled sheets or your jammie pants on the floor next to bed, for that matter.
Now, you’re ready to sell!