Updated: Sep 10, 2021
By: Sandy Wilson, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Sales and Leasing for our Brown Harris Stevens' Riverdale and Harlem offices.
Once you have made the important decision to sell your home, there are many steps to take to ensure your sale happens quickly and successfully, garnering the highest possible price. After you hire an experienced real estate agent—who can provide a wealth of information and resources not available to the public—and you’re ready to put your home on the market, it’s time to prepare the property for potential buyers.
Here are some steps you should take to attract buyers:
1. De-clutter! Throw out the items that are no longer useful to you, and which make the space look cluttered. If a potential buyer comes in and notices clutter and closets brimming over, they will assume that their furniture and other items will not fit, and will therefore not make an offer.
2. De-personalize the property. Family pictures are important to you, but not so much to a buyer. They also distract from the house and may prevent buyers from picturing themselves living there.
3. A fresh coat of paint is always beneficial. Try to use neutral colors that enhance the space.
4. Wash windows and have the home deep cleaned. If needed, bring in a professional cleaning service that specializes in preparing properties for sale. In the kitchen, deep clean the refrigerator, stove, microwave, and other appliances.
5. Clear the kitchen countertops as much as you can. It will make the counter space appear larger.
6. Buy new bedding, towels, shower curtains, and accent pillows or throws that will enhance the look of the home.
7. Remove and/or replace curtains, blinds, and window coverings that do not let the light in.
8. Make the repairs that you have been thinking of making and that are necessary to show the home in its best light. You know what they are!
9. For a single-family or multi-family home, trim all bushes and overhanging branches, and invest in a gardener that will improve the curb appeal. Also, make certain that the exterior paint is not chipped or peeling, and that the entrance is welcoming and attractive.
10. If you have one, de-clutter your basement. Make sure to fix leaks and remove any musty odors.
11. Invest in the services of a stager. Homes that are staged sell significantly faster than those that are not. According a 2020 report from the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), 75 percent of sellers who invested one percent of their home's value in staging saw an average return of between five and fifteen percent. Using a stager is well worth the cost!
12. When the open houses or showings are taking place, add fresh flowers for a special touch.
13. Be prepared to have the home “camera-ready“ at all times! You never know when a potential buyer will want to see the property.