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Home Seller Checklist: 5 Things to do Before Listing your Spokane Home

Posted by Holly McDowell on May 12, 2021

Even in today’s hot seller market, it is still important to take the time and prepare your home prior to listing. Why? Great question. A home that is properly prepared and marketed will attract more buyers which results in an increased number of high-quality offers. The following Home Seller Checklist will get you off on the right foot. Unsure of where to start? Your Realtor should provide you with a punch list and preferred vendors to take the pressure off and set you up for a smooth sale.

Identify Repairs and Make a Plan

When you have lived in your home for a while, it is easy to overlook minor repairs and quirks from a squeaky door to windows that stick. Buyers may see these as problems that lower the value of your home. If you have too many noticeable repairs, then these same buyers wonder what else in the home hasn’t been properly maintained – and their offer will reflect this perception.

It’s time to walk through your house, room by room, and look at it with a critical buyer’s eye. Make sure to bring a notepad and pen with you. I’d suggest creating a list on your phone and using voice-to-text – but Siri and I don’t always agree on what is being said! Start at the front door – does it unlock, open and close easily? Look for holes and dents in the walls. Are all the appliances in working order? Examine kitchen and bathroom cabinets to be sure they open and close properly. Look for signs of water damage and fix any leaky plumbing. This is also a great time to call your local HVAC company and have the system evaluated and repaired, if necessary.

Often overlooked items:

  • replace burnt out lightbulbs
  • replace broken light switches and outlet covers
  • unclog any slow drains in the kitchen and bathroom
  • fix the toilet that won’t stop running
  • patch holes and dents in the drywall
  • install CO2 detectors

Paint Where it is Needed Most

Don’t be overwhelmed by painting! This is probably the most popular DIY item on the list. If it isn’t in your wheelhouse, then reasonably priced professionals abound to take those rooms from blah to wow. The goal is to take rooms that have a strong personal style reflected in the paint choice and make them more neutral. Think gray and beige, or greige as I recently read, a mix of gray and beige that can go either way depending on the room decor. Should you repaint the lime green room that is a nod to your superfan status for the Seattle Seahawks? Yes, most definitely, yes. Check out HGTV’s color trends for 2021 if you need inspiration. Also, focus on touch-up painting to cover any scuff marks.

Declutter – and Start Packing

This is a great opportunity to get ahead of the packing game! Kitchens, bathrooms, and storage tend to be big selling points so it pays to make those rooms feel as spacious as possible. The spaces that benefit the most from decluttering: closets, kitchen cupboards/pantry, and bathrooms. A general rule of thumb is to pack up 50% of everything in those areas. Don’t just shove things into the attic or basement. Use storage bins that fit under beds, or can be stacked neatly in the basement. Invest in some cute baskets to hold smaller items inside cabinets. Consider renting a storage unit and start packing infrequently used items

If packing up 50% of your home seems overwhelming, then consider the following tips.

  • Box up out of season clothes and shoes
  • Donate non-perishable food items to the local food bank
  • Pack up kitchen items you haven’t used in the last three months
  • Don’t overlook large furniture items that aren’t essential

Depersonalize and Clean

Depersonalizing is the process of removing the personal taste of the seller from the home, as well as personal items like photographs. Buyers should be focused on seeing themselves in the home, and not feeling like they are intruding into your personal space. Don’t overdo it! It is important to maintain a feeling of warmth and love in the home – it is okay if the house has personality. It is okay to leave a few family pictures along with some memorabilia.

It’s time to clean! You have done the hard work of decluttering, boxing up infrequently used items, and making the home feel more welcoming to potential buyers. This is a great time to hire a professional and take the afternoon off. Not only will your home sparkle, but you will get the benefit of enjoying a fresh and clean home as well. Bonus? The final clean upon move out will be that much easier.

Set the Stage

The way we live in our home is completely different than how we should present our home to potential buyers. According to Realtor.com, on average, staged homes sell faster and for 6-10% more than their counterparts? Staging makes the most impact in vacant homes. Not every room in a home needs to be staged and buyers are unlikely to be turned off by a messy basement storage room. Focus your efforts on the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and dining room. Even occupied homes can benefit from staging to create a positive first impression online, in print, and in person. A consultation with a staging professional is one of the many services offered to every listing client.

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