The 30 Day Guide To Prepare Your Home For Sale
Prepare your home for sale in 30 days.
We found the inspiration for this guide from Toronto real estate gurus, The Brel Team, but it is different to prepare your home for sale in Glendale Ca.
This is a comprehensive guide with a lot of resources and tips. Click any section to jump ahead. The first section is “Let’s Start Off Easy”. Start here to feel like you are winning right away. Next is “It’s Time To Tidy” section. There’s a reason Marie Kondo is so popular!! Then we move on to “First Impressions” and it is not just about enhancing your curb appeal. “Details Matter” is all about the non-obvious ways to prepare your home for sale. The last section is “Get Ready for Showtime” and helps you prepare for people visiting your home.
Let’s Start Off Easy
Day One – Inspect your light bulbs and light fixtures. One of the fastest and least expensive ways to prepare your home for sale is to update your home is to change out old light fixtures. Replace those 80’s dressing room lights in the bath or install a modern drum shade fixture in the eating area. IKEA and Lamps Plus are amazing resources for low cost/high style choices. Replace any bulbs that are burnt out or one that cast a yellow light with LED bulbs.
Day Two – Gather all your paperwork. Selling a home in Glendale CA means you must disclose, disclose, disclose. Start digging through your records for information on any past renovations, repairs or inspections on the home.
Day Three- Get boxes and packing materials. You know you’ve got way too much stuff. Packing your junk into a motley collection of boxes you found behind the supermarket is fine… but proper packing materials will reduce your stress now and make everything easier down the line. BoxCity is a DIGGS favorite for great boxes. Better yet, consider reusable packing crates. For those of you with massive amounts of stuff, a moving container might be the best solution.
Day Four – Make an extra set of keys. Prospective buyers and their agents will need access to your home, so you’ll need at least one extra set of keys.
Day Five – Hire a Realtor. A great Realtor is a great way to prepare your home for sale!! A good listing agent will help you decide what fixes and improvements will return the most profit. A great listing agent will have connections to the best tradespeople and can even assist with your process of getting ready to sell so you don’t have to do it alone. Check out our post about How To Hire a Good Realtor To Sell Your Home.
It’s Time To Tidy
Day Six – Tackle the bathrooms. When you prepare your home for sale it is useful to remember – no one needs to see your deeply personal toiletries, put them away. Invest in a pile of fluffy white towels (that you will never use) and visit HomeGoods for affordable accessories like soap dispensers or tissue box covers. Take an honest look at your floor mats, shower curtain or toilet seat. If they are gross, replace them. Replace the towel bars and toilet paper holders if they are dated – antique brass is so seventies and the mixed gold/silver look is tragically eighties.
Day Seven – Spruce up the kitchen. This might be your most important room in the whole house. This is not the place to skip or skimp when you prepare your home for sale! We want to show off your counter space, so disappear anything that isn’t vital to your daily life. This means the coffee maker stays, but the George Forman Grill and the Rooster Cookie jar is outta there. Take a good look inside every drawer and cabinet- if Marie Kondo would clap her hands and say, “I just love mess” you know you’ve got some work ahead. Empty the fridge of all the weird leftovers and get rid of every magnet and bit of paper on the door and sides. All of them.
Day Eight – Deal with the bedrooms. The kitchen is a practical room. The bedrooms are emotional. They should be inviting and calming, not chaotic. Invest in a neutral duvet cover and fancy throw pillows (HomeGoods and IKEA are a great source for pillow), remove about half the books on your bookshelves and arrange the remaining items artfully. Remove knickknacks, mementos, personal photos, and personal grooming products. Clean out the closets (remember, “does it spark joy?”) and consider adding an area rug if you have hardwood or tile floors. If you jammed in an armoire or dresser consider storing that offsite. If you’ve converted two of your three bedrooms to offices consider converting at least one of them back.
Day Nine – Take on the living room. Preparing your home for sale means doing all the stuff you’ve been putting off to “later”. Clean the sofa, chairs and any area rugs. Take a step back and really look at your art and knickknacks – is it time to thin the herd a bit? Toss the old magazines and hide the power cords to the television and stereo.
Day Ten – Get the dining room in shape for dining. You can’t eat paper, so get it out of there! Preparing your home for sale means removing the kid’s homework, the piles of bills and mail from the table. Clean out the hutch, do you really need the wedding favor from your cousin’s kid’s wedding? Invest in a nice table cloth to hide an old table.
Day Eleven – The Garage!! The typical Glendale Ca homebuyer dreams of parking in their own garage, so you’ve got a lot of work to do today. Invest in storage racks and get everything out from the middle of the garage onto those racks or into offsite storage. A clean and organized garage sends a subtle signal to the home buyer that everything else is shipshape.
Day Twelve – Declutter closets and storage spaces. Lots of storage space is near the top of every homebuyer’s shopping list. This means you do not get to shove all the stuff you took out of your rooms into the closets! Home buyers are going to open every closet and cabinet, pull down the attic storage stairs, and peer into your California Basement. Empty those spaces as much as you can and neatly organize everything that is left.
Day Thirteen – Donate, Sale or Toss. It is expensive to store stuff in Glendale CA. Fortunately, there are a lot of options on how to get rid of things that no longer “spark joy”. The Salvation Army is our top pick for charitable donations. If you have a lot of stuff consider a professional estate sale.
Day Fourteen – The entrance is the first impression. A buyer will make an emotional decision about your home in 15 seconds, so what they experience the moment they get to your home is CRITICAL. Make sure all of the dust and cobwebs are swept away. Consider giving the front door a fresh coat of paint and fill planters with colorful flowers and foliage. Buy a new doormat and consider replacing the mailbox and door bell. If you have a front porch create an inviting place to sit and dress it with a drink tray, soft throw and a book.
Day Fifteen – Get rid of “You”. This is going to be hard. In order to prepare your home for sale, you need to remove the stuff that makes this home your own. It’s all gotta go. Your wall of family photos, the collection of bowling trophies, your mementos from that trip to Comic-Con… pack it, toss it, store it. The buyer needs to be able to see themselves in this home in order to make that offer. They can’t do that if all they see is you.
Day Sixteen – Paint touch-ups and re-painting. Fresh paint is one the cheapest way to increase the sales price of your home. Neutralize any bold colors, even if your friends tell you they love it. Your friends are not imagining living with that color every day! (TIP: lighter colors make small rooms appear bigger). Examine your baseboards, door jambs and window sills – do they need touching up? How about the walls, especially hallways and other high traffic areas?
Day Seventeen – Make the front yard sparkle. Your front yard is a major part of the first 15-second impression. Stand in front and take a good look at what your ideal homebuyer will see. Remove anything that is dead and crispy. Trim back the bushes and thin out trees or shrubs that block the view of your home. Apply fresh mulch to your planting beds. Plant colorful flowers along the fronts of those beds and along walkways. Consider adding pots of colorful flowers or interesting plants near your front door. Make sure all of your outdoor lighting is functional – replace dead bulbs and adjust timers. Your home might be shown in the evening- consider adding solar-powered lights to walkways and dark corners of your yard.
Day Eighteen – Up the fun factor in your backyard. Glendale Ca homebuyers are all about their private outdoor space, even if it’s just a comfy place to sit or a bit of a place to BBQ. Pay attention to your deck, replace damaged wood and paint or powerwash. Dust off your patio furniture, replace faded cushions and add colorful throw pillows. Take off the pool cover and treat the water so it is sparkling clean. Apply our front yard tips to your back yard, paying special attention to the farthest corners. Orange and yellow flowers and plants draw the eye toward the back and highlight the size of your yard.
Day Nineteen – Pre-Sale Inspection of your home. You do not want to get “nickel and dimed” during the escrow, right? When preparing your home for sale consider getting your home inspected today. It is better to control the conversation about any issues rather than react to a buyer’s fears. Read our post, “Pre-Sale Home Inspections”.
Day Twenty – Knock out the Honey-Do list. Time to dig out that list of maintenance projects you’ve been keeping. Today is the day you should fix the leaky faucet, tighten the toilet paper holder and patch those picture holes in the wall. Bring a handyman, if needed. (we know some good ones- we can help!)
Day Twenty-One – Clean your carpets. As long as your carpets are a light-ish, neutral color you can just get them cleaned instead of replacing them. Be sure to clean your area rugs as well.
Day Twenty-Two – Touch up your floors. You’ll need more than a Swiffer to get to all the corners and crannies. If you have a stone or tile floor you might benefit from a professional floor cleaner, especially if you have travertine floors. (type in “carpet” into our trusted trades list. We love Janssen’s for tile and stone floor cleaning and restoration) The professionals can improve the way the grout looks and fill the gaps and holes. There are also marvelous products to touch up scratches on your hardwood floors.
Day Twenty-Three – Walls and doors. If you didn’t paint them on Day Seventeen it is time to give your windows and doors a little love. Magic Erasers are your best friend, today. (Did you know generic Magic Erasers work just as well?) Get busy erasing scuff marks and fingerprints. While you’re at it, examine the area around all the light switches.
Day Twenty-Four – Make those windows sparkle! This is probably my favorite overlooked tip. We live in the land of fabled sunshine – but is astonishing how much dust and grime block the glorious light. Invest in hiring a professional window cleaner (type in “window” in our Trusted Trades list)
Get Ready For Showtime
Day Twenty-Five – Bring on the photographer. Great photography is CRITICAL to the outcome of your home sale because your ideal home buyer will see it on the internet, first. Make sure your photographer knows how to shoot rooms, not people! The angles, lighting, and ability to capture the views outside your windows are all professional level skills. This step is so critical we don’t even “give away” the secrets to our own photographer.
Day Twenty-Six – The final clean. You are probably exhausted, but you didn’t start to prepare your home for sale to do only part of the job! While you are waiting for the photos to come back it’s time to do that final clean of your home. Hopefully, you have a house cleaner who can polish the mirrors, vacuum the floors and scrub the toilets, tubs, and showers.
Day Twenty-Seven – Make plans for the dog/cat/ferret/pot-bellied pig. Your ideal homebuyer might love your dog or they might be scared to death of dogs in general. And, let’s face it- cats can be downright intimidating. Make a plan for your multi-legged friends while your home is being shown. Doggy Daycare? Grandma’s house? Multiple walks?
Day Twenty-Eight – Make plans for the kids and kids stuff. Your toddler doesn’t care about keeping the home “show ready”, right? But no homebuyer wants to see the kids toys, clothes, and art projects strewn all over the place. We also think it is important to get out of the house when a buyer wants to see a home. Craft a plan ahead of time – perhaps your kids can camp with Grandma for the first week?
Day Twenty-Nine – Make your home smell good. You don’t smell your dog (or cat) anymore, but your ideal homebuyer will. Wash your pet’s bedding and put the litterbox out of sight. (and clean it twice a day). Fabreeze the heck out of EVERYTHING and consider lighting scented candles (but avoid strong air fresheners). One last thing- while you are on the market, watch what you cook for dinner. Avoid deep frying anything, dishes with lots of garlic or cumin or fish. Pretty much all fish is forbidden right now!
Day Thirty – The final once over. Whew! You’ve worked hard and you are probably pretty proud of all you’ve accomplished to prepare your home for sale. Take a final walk through each of your rooms and adjust anything that might be distracting or a deterrent to your ideal homebuyer.
Now…. Back away. Don’t. Touch. Anything.
Don’t be. We’ve helped clients accomplish everything on this list in just a few days. If you are in the market to sell, hire a REALTOR as soon as possible.