Complete This Checklist Before Listing Your Home for Sale

Do you live in the Sioux Falls area and you’re thinking about selling your home? Whether you’re a first-time seller or you’ve been through the process before, selling a house can be stressful if you’re unprepared. It’s important to ready your home (and yourself) before you list your house in order to make a great first impression. Fortunately, there’s no need to stress! The experts at Amy Stockberger Real Estate (ASRE) are here to help with a checklist of items to cross off before listing your home for sale in Sioux Falls.

Research the Local Housing Market

The very first step toward preparing your home to list for sale is researching the local housing market. Find houses in the area with comparable age, condition, square footage, and features to determine your potential listing price. And while it’s important to do your homework, enlisting the help of a trusted real estate professional like ASRE will provide you with an accurate, more informed estimate.

Find a Reputable Real Estate Team

"For sale by owner" is a tempting proposition when you’re looking to sell your home. After all, then you get to avoid paying any type of commission to a real estate agent. But this shouldn’t be seen as an expense. Selling your house is a major transaction and using a reputable real estate team like ASRE will save you both time and money. Plus, these specialists have invaluable knowledge of the real estate industry and local market, and will be able to answer questions, provide insight, and ultimately maximize your profit.

Declutter and Clean Your Home

Whether you’re talking about a job interview, first date, or selling a house, first impressions are huge. A messy or unclean home might lead prospective homebuyers to think there could be other things wrong with the house. Moreover, they need to be able to envision a new life in your home and that’s hard to do with clutter, keepsakes, and everyday messes getting in the way. This process is threefold:

  • Declutter: This is a beneficial exercise whether you’re moving or not. Decluttering and reorganizing your home is a great opportunity to get rid of unnecessary/unused items, donate what you don’t need, and downsize before you move. While tables and countertops are the usual suspects, it would be wise to do a clean sweep of every bedroom, closet, and bathroom, as well as the kitchen and living room.
  • Deep Clean: It doesn’t matter which step comes first, the decluttering, cleaning, or de-personalizing, but it must be done. And just when you think your house couldn’t look any more pristine, clean it some more. Reach the back of every closet. Clean behind every appliance. Tackle every cabinet, both inside and out. You never know when a last-minute showing will present itself. If you’re selling a home with pets, be sure to ask a family member or friend to come over after you’ve finished cleaning to see if your home passes the smell test.
  • Get Impersonal: This step could be the most difficult from an emotional standpoint. Sure, you may have spent years making your house a home, but now it’s time to disassociate. Again, buyers need to see this space as their potential, next living space and that’s difficult with family photos, personal artwork, and unique furniture pieces distracting them. If you live in a smaller house, it might be a good idea to rent a storage unit for all of your keepsakes, which will both declutter and de-personalize your home.

Remember, this is about making a memorable first impression, so don’t forget about curb appeal. Your home’s exterior—especially curb appeal during the winter months—is very important. You don’t want potential homebuyers to have any apprehensions about your house before they’ve even stepped foot inside the door.

Fix Any Small Repairs

Just like clutter and messiness, minor flaws like loose handles, leaky faucets, and burnt out lightbulbs might give homebuyers the wrong impression. If they can’t be bothered to replace a lightbulb what else are they failing to maintain? Yes, these are minor issues but they add up quickly and you’d hate to have something as insignificant as a loose door handle cost you the sale.

As you check your house for small repairs, be on the lookout for any major problems with your electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roof, and foundation. Being proactive and catching one of these issues before you list your house will save you from unwanted surprises during the home inspection (and having to lower your asking price). You may need to call a professional to fix the shower or replace a window but it’s worth it in the long run.

Go the Extra Mile

This last suggestion is less of an item to cross off your list and more of a helpful piece of advice: Go the extra mile! It’s all about perception and whether or not homebuyers can see themselves living in your house. Consider some of these recommendations before you decide to list your home for sale:

  • Staging: Professional home staging can update the interior design of your home and reorganize/rearrange objects in a more effective way.
  • Repaint Walls: Painting your walls will not only breathe new life into your home and cover up any imperfections, but fresh paint will also make your rooms appear larger when you use neutral colors like light gray, light beige, or white.
  • Touchups: If you choose not to repaint, the next best thing would be to wipe down the walls, baseboards, and molding, and touch up any scuff marks. This will brighten up your rooms and the attention to detail will show buyers you have taken good care of the house.
  • Lighting: At the very least, ensure that all lightbulbs are working properly on both the interior and exterior of your house. A well-lit home is a welcoming home, so consider adding a stylish lantern to your front porch or sidewalk lighting along the pathway to your doorstep.