Preparing Your Home to Sell

Preparing your home to sell Step-by-Step.
--How to Get top dollar for your home--
So you are selling your home; and you want to get top dollar. A great Realtor® will be able to give you suggestions on how to maximize you home. Below is the proven process I recommend sellers go through to get ready to list their home. The result, homes sold faster and for more than similar homes in the area!

Home Saleability

Getting started - Purchase large clear plastic storage tubs, at least one for each room. Work one room at a time and pack a minimum of 1/3 of items for the move. If you haven’t used it, worn it, read it, or listened to it in the last 30 days pack it for the move. Reducing your items will help your home appear larger. Smoke in the home or pet odors have to be removed prior to listing, these odors will greatly reduce the price your home brings. You may be unaware of the smellappeal of your home because you live there and are use to it. Ask your Realtor®, a friend or neighbor who will be straight with you about the smell of your home. Smell is a critical part of selling a home!

Entry – It should say WELCOME to All
1) Make that door a focal point! Polish the door knob or replace it if it doesn’t look great. If
the door is beyond ever looking new or old and well kept replace it.
2) Place a wreath appropriate to the season on the door
3) As the door is opened it should be inviting and clutter free – no shoes, coats, umbrellas, book bags, pet leashes etc…
4) Only a welcoming space sparsely decorated for the season and style of the home.

Kitchen – If the item is not used daily, it should be out of sight. If not used weekly pack it in your labeled clear storage tubs. Remove all junk drawers, people check construction of drawers by opening them, ALL.
1) Clean frig (including top, behind, coils and under), stove (including under burners and oven), microwave, dishwasher, sink and drains
2) Clean cabinet fronts, oils from cooking and our hands build up on cabinets, doors and light switch plates and need to be cleaned weekly
3) Scrub counter tops, faucets and fronts of appliance until they sparkle. If faucets leak repair or replace them, if replacing add shut off valves if not already installed. Clean out under the sink, check for leaks – repair if needed.
4) Replace curtains if not “new” looking
5) Clean windows inside and out
6) Scrub floors
7) Garbage disposal cleaned and refreshed with ½ lemon and 1 cup of ice ever other day
8) Check lighting, it should be appropriate wattage for the task

Dining Room – Set the stage for a romantic dinner
1) Items not used weekly go in the labeled clear plastic tub
2) Remove all excess
3) Clean walls, floors, baseboards, remove any cobwebs and dust from furniture and from room, remove chair cushions
4) Clean windows inside and out
5) Replace curtains if not “new” looking
6) Set the table for 2 or 4depending on the size of the table. Start with a table runner in a rich color, add cloth napkins, and use crystal if you have it if not use great looking glasses, use glass or china place settings, and shiny silverware. Add candlesticks and flowers or a tray of unique items to the middle of the table to pull it all together.
7) China cabinets or built ins – remove all but a few items, make it look sparse
8) Last, but most important check lighting, chandeliers should sparkle, no dust on lighting and use appropriate wattage on light bulbs.

Living Room – Inviting and comfortable, this room should beckon come in sit down and relax
1) Items not used weekly go into the labeled clear plastic tub
2) Remove all excess, keep a few personal items like pictures they make the home feel lived in
3) Clean floors, walls, ceilings, baseboards and windows inside and out and polish all metal
4) Decide if you need to paint, many holes in the walls, discoloration from pictures, *smoker in the house or pets – patch holes and paint. The color should not be white but should be a color that complements your furniture and is a neutral. *Smokers or pets, walls and ceilings washed down with a good cleaner and painted with a Kilz product to block the smell. Curtains, carpets, and upholstered furniture cleaned by a professional to remove the odor.

Bedrooms – Should say oasis from the troubles and cares of the day, this room should be a soothing calm color
1) See Living Room above and each person in a bedroom receives a clear plastic storage tub with a label
2) Each person should remove a minimum of 1/3 of the items from the closet – it’s a good time to donate to a local charity, they always need toys, shoes, clothes that are in good shape
3) Clean every surface, patch walls and paint, clean light fixtures, replace bulbs if needed and clean windows inside and
4) Toys, football equipment, etc needs to be in it’s place and that place is not on the floor
5) New curtains or blinds if they don’t look new
6) Shampoo carpet and polish door knob

Bathrooms - Inviting, bright and clean, clean, clean
1) Each person who uses this bathroom should have a small overnight bag for personal items (hair products, personal supplies, tub toys). This bag is stored in the person’s closet in their bedroom
2) Remove excess, if not used weekly pack in the labeled clear plastic tub
3) Clean out all drawers and cabinets – some empty space makes the drawers and cabinets seem spacious
4) Check for leaks under the sink and around the commode (spongy feel to floor around the commode means you need to replace the wax seal and maybe some of the wood around the base), commode that runs – now is the time to fix it.
5) Tub, commode, sink/s, shower and shower door, need to be so clean they sparkle. If calk around vanity, sink , tub and shower doesn’t look perfect and new – replace it, a simple job that makes the home appear well cared for and in good condition – no mold
6) Clean mirrors, lights and vent fan
7) Clean walls, switch plates, medicine cabinets, baseboards, and floors.
8) Clean drains with some Clorox about ½ cup then run hot water to rinse
9) Replace shower curtain or shower door if not “new” looking
10) Replace toilet seat and lid if not “new” looking
11) Check lighting, use appropriate wattage, clean vent fan
12) Place an aroma therapy diffuser here, a light clean scent, not a
plug in (plug ins and spray type of deodorizers are petroleum
based products and approximately 30% of the population are

Basement - Unfinished clean as a living room, if unfinished see list below
1) Remove any excess items store in labeled clear plastic tub if not used
2) Clean and remove all cobwebs and dust
3) Check all light bulbs, use a higher wattage to enable the entire basement to be viewed easily
4) Repair any cracks (tuck point) and leaks prior to listing
5) Replace the furnace filter monthly
6) Clean windows inside and out
7) No litter boxes in basement, the furnace will draw the smell through the house
8) Run a dehumidifier 24/7
9) Paint the basement walls a light neutral color, this will make the area seem very clean and larger, it should show as a possible future living area not a dark damp old basement.
10) Air out with fresh air if possible (open basement windows)

Garage – Goal is to make it appear big and roomy
1) Remove excess items and place in labeled clear plastic storage tubs. These tubs and the tubs from the house can be neatly stacked against a wall for the future move
2) Clean everything – sweep floor, remove cobwebs and dust. If there are stains on the floor clean them and power-wash. Repair any cracks or chips in floor.
3) Paint walls if needed, ceilings with water stains are a big red flag to buyers, find source, fit it and paint with Kilz to block stain.
4) Check automatic garage doors, replace batteries in openers, and paint doors if they don’t look great.
5) Check lights for appropriate wattage bulbs

Yard – Should say come and enjoy some outdoor fun
1) Mow grass as needed
2) Edge walks and driveway
3) Spray for weeds and seed bare spots
4) Trim any bushes or trees for a clean look
5) Place a blooming potted plant by each door
6) Remove excess yard ornaments and children’s toys store in a labeled clear plastic tub
7) Keep all large toys in one area
8) Swing set, sandbox area – put out new sand and check swing set for maintenance needs, paint or stain If needed

Deck – Somewhere you would want to spend time with friends and neighbors
1) Repair any rotten, warped or excessively worn boards or steps
2) Check railing if present for strength
3) Spray or trim grass around the deck
4) Power - wash with a deck cleaner
5) If deck is wood and hasn’t been stained/resealed in the last 3 years it’s time

Drive Way – should look like it is new and will last a long time
1) Power wash to clean
2) Repair any cracks or chips
3) Spray to kill any grass or weeds growing on it

Gutters and Downspouts – these will help keep your home and basement dry
1) Clean all leaves, branches and seeds from gutters
2) Fix any leaks or loose areas
3) Extend downspouts at least 3 feet from your foundation
4) Inspect roof and nail down any loose shingles

Porches – Say welcome home
1) Remove excess items, no shoes, coats etc
2) Clean top to bottom
3) Check lighting for appropriate wattage
4) Clean windows inside and out

Appliances – Washers, people open these to see if there is hard water, clean to a sparkle and refrigerators clean them out, place a dish of baking soda close to the fan and do not keep leftovers

Pets – Many people are allergic or have asthma, pets and cigarettes smoke can be a big problem for them. I love animals but they don’t help sell a home
1) Remove all sighs of pets
2) Food and water bowls
3) Beds, carriers, leashes, brushes, etc…
4) Litter boxes
5) Flea shampoo is a red flag
6) You receive a call and your house is going to be shown – crate you pet and take it to a friend or the vet
7) Large dogs frighten most people although we won’t all admit it. Some specific breeds of dogs that should be removed during a showing are: Doberman, Pit bull, German shepherd, Rotweiller, Great Danes and most dogs over 30 lbs. Children accompany many parents on showings and a child bitten by a dog or cat will definitely not result in a good offer.
8) Fish, turtles, hermit crabs? – clean the aquarium and make sure there is no smell apparent
9) Reptiles – not a good idea to have snakes, large lizards, or anything that is poisons
10)Birds – clean entire area and be sure there is no smell, put them to bed (cover the cage) if at all possible

Georgia A. Weaver BS, GRI
Real Estate Professional
106 W. Railroad Street
Storm Lake, IA 50588
712-574-5426 Direct
712-732-7594 Office
E-mail – Georgia@SLRealtyCheck.com

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