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You’ve done it! You’ve finally decided to sell your home!

You’ve got a realtor working out the deals, you’ve got listings all over the place, and you and your partner either have your new place picked or are still checking out spots in the new neighborhood. Either way, you’re all excited about the move and ready to go, until something dawns on you:

You really should get this place cleaned up a little before you try to sell it.

We’re not here to judge! We do know, however, that a lot of houses can use a little tidying up before showing them off at an open house, and during all the chaos of a move it can be hard to know where to start decluttering. Scan this checklist below and see what you can do to get a home that anyone would be happy to buy:

 

  1. Front Yards: Any real estate pro will tell you that one of the biggest factors in a successful home sale is curb appeal, and that means you should make sure your home looks great on the outside. At your earliest convenience, make sure your front yard is neatly kept and presentable looking, and people will flock to your door.
  2. Entryways: In a similar vein, the entryway is going to contribute to a potential buyer’s first impression, and making it clean and inviting is going to help a lot. If you have any entryway storage like coat racks or shoe benches, consider leaving them there for the duration of the sale to make your home seem more inviting and show off what can be done with the space—and if the seller seems really interested in them, consider cutting a deal to leave them behind after the sale. (You’ll have plenty of time to get more when you’re done moving!)
  3. Smaller Storage Areas: Especially these days when space is at a premium, a lot of people are going to prefer houses with smaller storage options all over the house to help organize things like coats, clothes, cleaning supplies, etc. If you have any smaller closets (hall closets, space under the stairs, places like that) make sure to clean off any available wall shelves and storage space to make them look as useful as possible.
  4. Living Rooms: This is one of the big ones. A lot of people base their home purchases around one or two rooms, and more often than not the living room is high on that list right alongside bedrooms (which we’ll get to later). Unless you’re already far into the moving process, you should consider leaving your living room furniture like end tables and coffee tables where they are so people can see what they do with the space, but try to remove any excess clutter (magazines, books, empty soda cans) to make your house more presentable. You also might want to move out any unused chairs and throw pillows and cut down on the amount of rugs to avoid making the space look too ‘heavy’ and give the illusion that it’s smaller than it actually is—the key is to show people what they can do with the space, not brag about what you did with it.
  5. Backyards: While the backyard might not make as much of an immediate first impression as the front yard does, you’ll still want to keep it presentable and tidy to show off its size and design potential. Make sure the yard is mowed, try to empty out any available storage sheds, and…well, there’s no polite way to say this, but try to clean up the dog mess.
  6. Kitchens: Kitchens are a big one for many home buyers, and there’s a lot you can do to make yours more appealing. Take whatever kitchen organization you have around (wall shelves, kitchen carts, etc) and purge it of anything that’s too gross, expired, or near-empty to be of use to free up space and make it look like a more professional kitchen. (Or at least as professional as you can get at home.)
  7. Hallways: Most hallways in homes aren’t going to be the roomiest, and likely only exist as a small space between rooms. Maximize this by removing any kind of visual clutter from your halls like wall hooks, pictures, dividers, and the like to help the hallway look less cramped.
  8. Bedrooms: Right up there with kitchens and living rooms, the bedroom is one of the most favored rooms when shopping for a house, and prettying yours up will do wonders. Clean your nightstands free of pictures, extraneous lamps, and excess cables to free up space, try to take down any art you might have hanging up, make sure your dresser drawers are all tucked in, and don’t leave any excess clothes on the floor. (Of course, that’s a pretty good idea in general.)
  9. Home Office: If your home has more bedrooms than you know what to do with, one of them probably wound up being a home office at some point—and the next buyer is probably going to do exactly the same! Try to purge this room of anything but super relevant office supplies (desks, file cabinets, etc) to show how much space it has and maybe plant some ideas in the heads of potential buyers.
  10. Kids’ play areas: Finally, if your home has (or had) a room given over to a kid’s play place, keeping it intact could help nudge any potential buyers with a family of their own into making a purchase. Of course, by now you’re already well-versed in how hard it can be to keep these rooms clean, and now might be a good time to try and make one big sweep of it all. Limit the number of toys on display (to better show off the space potential of the room), clean off any bookshelves you might have in there, and don’t let your kids put any new toys in there until the house is sold. That’ll both keep it clean and make it easier to move in the long run.

 

Have you had any luck selling a house lately and have a tip you want to share? Drop a comment below!

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