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Getting Your Home Ready for Sale And Get Top Dollar in Today's Real Estate Market How to Sell Your House

Updated on December 10, 2018
Brigitte Thompson profile image

Brigitte Thompson has been a realtor in Austin, TX, since 2007 and enjoys cooking and writing blogs about Texas.

Sweep driveways and clean out the garage

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Mow LawnCurb Appeal -notice the leaves in the yard and driveway. This seller needs to have the yard cleaned up.Clean GaragePaint TrimWax Floors
Mow Lawn
Mow Lawn
Curb Appeal -notice the leaves in the yard and driveway. This seller needs to have the yard cleaned up.
Curb Appeal -notice the leaves in the yard and driveway. This seller needs to have the yard cleaned up.
Clean Garage
Clean Garage
Paint Trim
Paint Trim
Wax Floors
Wax Floors

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7 Steps to get top dollar for your home

Research and interview your Realtor - Make sure they know the market, and they belong to a Multiple Listing Service. Have the Realtor produce a CMA (Competitive Market Analysis) to price your home right, based on the sales prices in your surrounding area.

  1. List with a Real Estate Professional to maximize advertising your home. Most Realtors pay of all the advertising and will post on several websites.
  2. Price your home right - based off of what has sold in the last 6 months in your area. Your Realtor will help you with pricing.
  3. Get the Home Ready by organizing and removing clutter. Rent a storage unit, have a yard/garage sale. Have the carpets cleaned, touch up paint high traffic areas of the home.
  4. Consider having your home inspected by a qualified licensed Inspector, address any repairs that a future homeowner will want to be fixed (Buyers are encouraged by their Realtor to have the home inspected for their protection).
  5. Purchase a 1 year Sellers Home Service Contract. This insurance will protect you from major mechanical breakdowns, such as dripping faucets, toilets water heaters, furnace, and air conditioning units. Just to name a few companies, Old Republic American Home Shield, Choice Home Warranty.
  6. Consider hiring a home stager.
  7. Make sure you have a good survey. In most cases, they can be transferred to the new homeowner, provided you have not added an addition to your home or installed a swimming pool. Buyers will need a survey for the lender and for the title company. If you do not have one a new survey could cost you an additional 500.00

Top 5 Impressions Of Your Home - Use This Checklist

Now that your home is listed with a Realtor and all the marketing tools are in place.

There are a few inexpensive ways to make your home stand out. Find ways to make your home warm and inviting, standing out from the crowd.

Take a notepad with you and view your home from the curb. Take before and after photos.

The first impression of a home is ---Curb Appeal.

  • The Lawn is mowed
  • The driveway, curbs, and sidewalks are edged and free of obstacles and debris
  • Prune, trim, and weed the flowerbeds
  • If you like yard art, remove them, keep in mind not all buyers like yard decorations
  • Remove toys, firewood and other loose items from the yard
  • Roll up water hoses and check for leaky faucets
  • Inspect trim, doors, window frames, and garage door for rotting wood. Replace or paint if needed
  • Inspect screens, fix or replace if needed
  • Clean windows (tip: remove screens and store them-sparkling glass catches the eye)
  • Sweep porches and remove old patio furniture, BBQ grills, firewood, toys etc.
  • Remove spider webs, bird’s nests, and bees nests
  • Clean porch light fixtures and replace light bulbs

These few steps will make a difference. Take a before and after photo, so you can see the results.

The second impression of a home is what you see when you walk in the front door.

People subconsciously use their three senses - Sight, Sound and Smell

  • Consider hiring a professional stager as the stager will help in re-arranging furniture to make the most use of space. If your home is going to be vacant find a way to leave on all utilities. Easier to show when you can turn on lights, heating, and air conditioning units, as well as allow the buyer to have the home inspected.
  • Remove all family photos (this is for safety and privacy reasons as well as de-personalizing home).
  • Remove all valuables & mail
  • Have the carpets cleaned
  • Dust A/C Vents, ceiling fans, light fixtures, window treatments and replace light bulbs
  • Paint or Touch up paint baseboards and door trims
  • Clean closets and organize personal items
  • Use plug-in room deodorizers - tip place an open box of Tide in the laundry room - the power will leave a sense of clean fresh laundry.

The third impression of a home is the Kitchen.

  • Remove all small appliances from kitchen counter tops along with personal items such as mail
  • Clean microwave, oven, range, and refrigerator
  • Organize items in the cabinets, drawers, and pantry
  • Clean windows, light fixtures, and vents
  • With wood cabinets wipe down with Old English to restore shine and cover scratches and watermarks
  • Make repairs to appliances if needed
  • Repair leaking faucets if necessary

The fourth Impression is the Bathroom

  • Inspect faucets, toilet and shower heads for leaks and lime build-up replace if necessary
  • Organize drawers and closets
  • Clean windows, vents, and fixtures
  • Keep clean towels on racks and remove personal items from the counters
  • Remove laundry hamper
  • Tilex is a great cleaner that will remove mildew and soap scum. -- Tip: Tilex with bleach can make cleaning the stove top so much easier at it will dissolve greasy residue without scrubbing and is better than most products claiming to clean greasy stove tops and vent-hoods.

The fifth Impression is of the storage area, i.e. garage and sheds

  • Remove clutter from the garage you can have packing boxes, however, they must be organized
  • Remove clutter from storage sheds

**TIP-Consider having a garage sale, this will accomplish several things

1. Easier to prepare for the move in the event your home sells

2. Cleans up the garage, storage shed, and closets

3. This will allow neighbors and the local community to view your home, speak with family, friends, and co-workers that may lead to a potential buyer.

By taking these, few inexpensive steps your home will appear bright and inviting.

"Show and Sell"

Did you find this list to be helpful? Your comments are welcome.


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