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How to prepare a house for sale: 5 key steps to take

prepare a house for sale

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This guide outlines the key steps you need to take to prepare a house for sale properly and help ensure success.

Selling your home can be an emotionally-charged process, especially if you have already lived there for some time. It can be easy to forget that potential buyers are also likely to be in a similar situation, leaving behind a beloved home for pastures new.

If the prospect seems overwhelming, it’s important to remember two key things: firstly, a house (or apartment) is essentially a shell, and it’s really the people who make it a home.

Secondly, thinking of your property as part of a business transaction. Shifting the way you think about the sale can help to alleviate some of the angst surrounding the sale and put you in a more positive and proactive frame of mind.

5 steps to prepare a house for sale

1. Start With a Blank Slate

Part of this involves depersonalizing your home. You’re essentially creating a showhome, so your main goal is to display your home as a blank canvas for buyers to imagine as their own.

Begin by removing items such as children’s toys, memorabilia and pictures. If you haven’t moved into your new property just yet, consider renting a storage unit to temporarily house items until they’re ready to be transferred to your new place.

2. Make Room

Decluttering can be beneficial in a number of ways, helping you to break emotional ties with your old home while taking care of an often-neglected task.

It also signifies a fresh start (rather than bringing lots of unwanted items to your new home). In the process, you can even give back to charity by donating some items, or even make a little money on the side selling some of your things.

Buyers will also be attracted to homes that are tidy and well-organized, so make sure everything is neatly put away in it’s own correct home. Consider how you can make room in other ways, such as furniture placement. This can help to make your home appear more spacious and appealing to the buyer.

3. Make Repairs

Cracked paving slabs, peeling paint and unsightly breakages can all impact the sale of a property, so before taking care of any cosmetic aspects, you’ll need to take care of these. Minor fixes (such as filling cracked walls and paint touch-ups) can be done alone, but for more complex tasks such as fixing electricals, it’s best to call in a professional.

4. Make It Spotless

Clean your home from top-to-bottom, paying special attention to areas such as the bathroom and the kitchen. Taking a step back throughout the cleaning process to try and see your home “through the eyes” of your prospective buyer can help, as there may be little details you never noticed before.

4. Make It Look Pretty

When redecorating, unusually-coloured walls or wallpaper can be distracting or even off-putting to potential buyers. In kitchens, epoxy coating can be a great way to add a fresh look to countertops, while peel-and-stick tiles are also a cheap and effective way to make kitchen and bathroom walls appear like new. 

If you have the budget, consider replacing old, grubby appliances. There’s no need to splash out with this: discounted appliances can be found at used-kitchen stores, while other items such as lampshades can easily be thrifted or bought for a low price at stores such as Ikea.

Don’t forget your property’s “curb appeal”, either. If necessary, repaint the front door, replace any wilted potted plants on the front porch and get your garden and pathways looking spick and span. Some of these tasks can be done alone, but more labor-intensive work may require help from a contractor.

Saying goodbye when you prepare a house for sale

For many, their old house or apartment is more than just glass, concrete and stone – and some even feel a sense of grief over the separation process. Creating your own little “goodbye house” ritual can help, such as:

  • Making a scrapbook with photographs of the rooms
  • Having a final “goodbye house” gathering with family and friends
  • Taking a plant from the garden with you to repot in your new home (be sure prospective buyers won’t expect this to come with the property when they purchase)
  • Leave your mark (as unobtrusively as possible), this can be done by writing a message underneath the fresh wallpaper, or perhaps burying a time capsule in the back yard

While these suggestions might seem strange, everyone feels differently about saying goodbye to their old home. Some of these tips can help bring about a sense of closure so that you can look forward to moving into your new place.

Get professional help if you need to

When selling your property, the main goal is to make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers. Investing a little time and money in remodeling and redecorating your home can help to maximize profit, while switching up its appearance can also help you to say goodbye to the old place, and “hello” to your new one.

If you’re really stuck and not sure where to start, hiring a professional home stager can help with the process. When it comes to making that sale, you could do it yourself, although with all the stress already involved, why not hire a professional to take care of the job?

Seasoned professionals such as Four 19 Properties have been helping Texan residents sell their homes since 2017, helping people to sell their old properties, so they can look forward to making new memories in their future house or apartment.