5 Steps to Take Before Putting Your House on the Market

If you are a homeowner who has been considering selling your house, now is the time to act. The Long Island real estate market is currently in a boom. Home prices are up and mortgage rates are still down. Demand is high and inventory is low, creating competition among buyers and short turnaround times for sales.

Simply put, there’s never been a better time to sell a home.

Yet before you post a “For Sale” sign in your yard, you should make sure that your house is in the right shape to get the most from the market.  Putting a little time and effort into getting your home ready for listing increases your odds of a quick and profitable sale.

Get Out the Toolbox

A cracked window. A broken cabinet handle. A leaky faucet. Minor issues like these don’t influence the value of your house, but they can influence a prospective buyer’s perception of its value.

Go through your house and make note of everything that is broken, missing or does not work correctly. Then fix those things or hire a handyman to do the honors. While you are at it, consider installing new drawer and cabinet handles.  Replace your shower head to optimize water pressure. Re-caulk bathtubs.  Change worn-out toilet seats.  Lubricate squeaky hinges.  Make sure all circuit breakers are functional.

Don’t assume that potential buyers won’t notice, or won’t mind, small maintenance issues.  They almost certainly will, and it could lead them to suspect that the house is hiding larger problems.

Create a Blank Canvas

When looking at a house, buyers don’t want to see it as your home, they want to envision it as their home.  Décor that reveals your tastes can keep people from seeing its potential to reflect their tastes.  Your best bet is to declutter and depersonalize.  Aim for a neutral atmosphere with only a few items that offer a personal touch.

Rent a storage unit and pack up knick-knacks. Reduce contents of closets, cabinets, and drawers to give the impression of abundant storage. Keep only what you need for daily life.

Walls, doors and trim should be repainted in neutral colors. If your furniture is bold, consider borrowing or renting more subtle pieces. The goal is to make your house a blank canvas that will invite buyers to envision the space as their own.

Accentuate the Positive

Make a list of the most-desirable features of your house and think of the best ways to showcase them.

If you have gorgeous hardwood floors, remove unnecessary throw rugs.  If you have a fabulous deck, highlight it with great outdoor furniture and a tasteful selection of potted plants and flowers.  Draw attention to spacious walk-in closets and pantries with added lighting and a careful arrangement of their contents.

Give special attention to lighting overall, in both interior and exterior spaces. Make sure that all fixtures are functional and equipped with working bulbs. Consider adding new battery-operated fixtures to typically dim spaces, such as closets, basements and patios.

Turn your front door into an inviting accent piece by painting it a bold color; shades from dark blue to black are currently popular with home buyers.  Replace house numbers and invest in a new door mat, welcoming house shoppers into their potential new home.

Make it Spotless

Once repairs have been made and you’ve achieved a neutral look that highlights your home’s best features, it’s time to pull out the cleaning supplies. Or better yet, hire a professional company to get your house immaculately clean from top to bottom.

Carpets should be steam-cleaned. The kitchen and bathrooms should be sparkling and tidy. Don’t overlook baseboards, ceiling corners and closets.  Every inch of your home should be as clean as it possibly can be.

If you have pets or smoke inside, be sure to address the matter of possible unpleasant smells.  Buyers can often detect odor-masking techniques, which can create a negative impression. Your house can’t just look clean, it must also genuinely smell clean.

Set the Stage

Many real estate specialists advise “staging” to boost interest from buyers. Following the above suggestions may be enough to stage your house for prospective buyers. Yet if you want to take extra measures to ensure that your home shows in the most effective way, you may want to consider implementing a staging strategy.