In my last post, I shared ideas about getting your house ready to sell by DEcluttering, DEdecorating, and DEpersonalizing. Today, it's all about DEep Cleaning and REpainting – maybe even REcarpeting?
Cleaning is Key
This is the time to go through each room, cleaning all surfaces. It might be good to remove shelf paper – either leaving it off or, if you are more coordinated than I, putting fresh new shelf paper down in a quiet color like beige or off-white. (In my case, the shelves generally look much better if I do NOT add shelf paper. I use it for me, wrinkly though it is, but would remove it before putting it up for sale 🙂 ).
I love those Mr. Clean cleaning erasers. When you are getting your house ready to sell, you will really appreciate them as well. They really do help get persistent stains off most of the time. Lysol wipes are great too and have the added advantage of making the house smell extra good while helping you clean quickly and easily.
If you have pets, make sure you clean extra thoroughly in any of their areas. I love my sweet granddogs, but when it's time to sell a home, they do add to the challenge because so many home buyers have allergy issues. One of the best ways to combat the challenge is to have their items in as few places as possible where buyers might look when going through your home.
You'd be amazed at what people will look at when shopping for a new home – inside the refrigerator, the shower, maybe even the toilet! So when you are getting your house ready to sell, be sure to clean each and every surface. And don't forget to clean the garage and yards well too – including picking up any pet toys and other items.
If you'd like a complete checklist, Flylady is another excellent resource for decluttering, organizing, and maintaining your home. Click here for an extremely detailed checklist for cleaning a home in general. She also has some great tips for moving.
Painting is a Priority
Once the house is pretty much clean, it's time to paint. When I sold a new home that was only about four years old, I was able to save some money and just have the walls and window sills painted to match the ceiling which I did not paint. It still looked great. When I sold my vintage “fab 40s” home, we repainted every wall ourselves. Even my sweet dad flew in to help me. And when I sold an in-between house that had bright/dark green and cranberry wall color, we had the whole house painted and the rooms with the darker paint had to have three coats to cover the darker color paint. When you are getting your house ready to sell, the wall painting is a vital step so you might even have a friend or two come in with “second eyes” to make sure it looks really good.
In all the homes I had painted, we used Navaho White and a complementary off-white for the window sills and bathroom and kitchen. Why? The colors are really pretty and fun. But they might not match the furniture of a prospective buyer. And THAT might lead them to look at other homes that don't need to be repainted when they move their furniture into the home.
If your house has been recently painted, including with darker colors, and really truly doesn't need any painting, you can try selling it with the existing colors. But personally, I think that if you are serious about getting your house ready to sell and you are in a true hurry, I'd buy some of that paint that is supposed to cover anything in one coat and have a painting party with family and friends. I suspect the results could be well worth it.
If you do have to paint, I would DEFINITELY encourage the light generic shades. Navajo white has been around for decades making it easy for the buyers to match later if they need to.
When you are getting your house ready to sell, don't forget to check the outside walls to see if they need touching up or a complete paint job. And if so, pick a shade that blends well with the neighborhood. For those of you with Home Owners Associations MAKE SURE you get your house color approved before painting. You can't even assume the original color will be acceptable as they may have made a change. It would be so frustrating, not to mention costly in time and money, to paint the house and then have to repaint it because the HOA requires it!
Floors Are Now that your home is clean and freshly painted, it's time to think about carpeting or other types of flooring throughout your home. When a friend of mine helped coordinate the relocation of several families working for a large organization, she did a ton of research and learned that new carpeting will pay for itself many times over in a speedy sale as opposed to offering a credit for the new buyers to put in their own choice of carpeting. Our budget was tight and I knew I would prefer to pick my own carpet color, so when we put our own house on the market a couple of months later, we tried to sell it with our lovely brown short-shag carpet and a generous credit to buy a new carpet of their choice. Nothing happened for 3-4 months. When we finally put in an ultra cheap, off-white carpeting, we sold the house within 2-3 weeks!
The vast majority of people who are looking for a new home to buy really do want to be able to buy it and move in to it and not have to do a single thing – even if they are given the money to make changes. Thus the pool of buyers for your home will be much larger which will hopefully enable you to sell faster and for a great price
Getting your house ready to sell, selling it, and moving to a new-to-you home is definitely NOT a “piece of cake.” But taking the important steps of cleaning thoroughly and making sure your house is looking super by painting and re-carpeting will usually be well worth it in the end. And hopefully you will see your house sell faster and for a good and fair price!
P.S. Want more ideas and tips to help you sell your home? Click here for Part 1.