So, you want to sell your house in Austin!
You’ve come to the right place. Whether you use me as your Realtor (Smart!) or another Realtor (why would you do that to me?), or you want to go at yourself (I believe in you, but don’t do it!) this checklist will help you get top dollar.
As of the writing of this article you can pretty much name your price in Austin, BUT if you follow this checklist (or hire my wife and I) you will have buyers begging to give you their money!
Be Objective, Not Subjective About Your House
It’s very important to be subjective about every square inch of your house.
Homebuyers are going to be much more critical of your home than they are of their own. Most people don’t dust their house from top to bottom weekly, but they will notice if yours isn’t. When your home is on the market, it needs to stay in show condition, similar to what you would find in a new model home.
Open up the floor space by removing excess furniture, de-personalizing, and de-cluttering.
This step will invite prospective home buyers to imagine themselves in your home. You want them to feel welcomed and relaxed. They’ll start imagining where they might put their things and become emotionally attached.
Take your time navigating through the home seller’s checklist below. While you’re preparing your house for the market, think through the essential items you’ll want your real estate agent to put in your listing description. Be strategic about the ways that you direct your Realtor to market your home.
The fastest way to get your home sell-ready is to de-clutter. Clutter is a huge turn off for potential buyers, even in a seller’s market. Why not take a few minutes to
- Reduce the amount of furniture in all rooms.
- Rearrange furniture to maximize visual floor space.
- Pack up all knick-knacks and figurines.
- Prune all house plants.
- Get rid of OR add house plants to a reasonable number
- Remove all but a few books from bookshelves.
- Pack away personal family photos.
- Reduce the amount of wall art to one or two items per room.
- Add lamps to any dark spaces to brighten the room.
- Avoid using scented candles, sprays, and plug-in air fresheners.
- Use an essential oil diffuser to keep things fresh and natural inside.
Clean and/or Replace
Replacing inexpensive items around your house is oddly satisfying and makes a huge impact on the overall aesthetic of your home.
- Light and outlet Switch Covers
- Light Bulbs
- Front door
- Doors and Door Knobs
- Interior & Exterior Paint
- AC/Heater vents
Replacing an outlet cover is pretty simple, but be careful not to stick your screwdriver into the socket!
Dust Everything (Then Dust Again)
- A/C Intake Vents
- Ceiling Fans
Living and Family Rooms
- Keep coffee tables clear.
- Remove any ashtrays.
- Keep furniture at a minimum.
- Toys should be stored out of sight.
- Use pillows and throws to soften the space.
- The bottom of the Chandelier should be 60” from the floor minimum.
- Keep the dining table clear except for one centerpiece.
- Remove extra chairs from the table and dining room.
- Remove extra leaves from the table.
- Clear all items from kitchen countertops.
- Clean tile grout; bleach if needed.
- Clean the stove, oven, and microwave.
- Clear the refrigerator of magnets, pictures, and messages.
- Clean and organize the inside of refrigerator
- Replace burner pans on the stove if worn. and freezer.
- Keep all mops, brooms, vacuums, etc., put away.
- Empty the garbage before each showing.
- Remove any pet food and water dishes before showings.
- Organize the pantry to look nice and neat.
- Box up any dishes & cooking supplies you can live without.
- Scrub/polish the sink to make it look new again.
- Add new caulk kitchen sink and countertop edges
- Make beds daily.
- Invest in new bedspreads if necessary (consult stager first).
- Clear off bedside tables, dressers, etc.
- Store daily necessities in drawers or closets.
- Organize closets to be nice and neat.
- Keep closet doors closed.
- Keep all the floors clear and vacuum regularly.
- Remove all wall decor, other than an elegant piece of art.
- Repair any holes or damage to walls.
- Wipe down baseboards.
- Add new caulk to baseboards.
- Put soap and supplies in cupboards.
- Keep all surfaces and sink clean and empty.
- Use high watt bulbs to make it look brighter.
- Remove any clothing, dirty or clean.
- Keep floors cleared of clutter and mop regularly.
- Remove dryer lint and wipe down dryer.
- Clean inside and outside of washer.
If you’re reading this and you still a few months to a year before you’re ready to sell, consider remodeling one or all of your bathrooms. My wife designs our bathrooms on our flips and current home, so if you don’t remodel your bathroom before selling you can always do a few things to freshen it up:
- Clear and clean ALL surfaces.
- Display a bottle of hand soap or a clean bar of soap.
- Purchase new towels if necessary (consult stager first).
- Coordinate all linens in one or two colors.
- Fold towels in thirds on the towel rack.
- Remove all unnecessary items out of shower stalls and tubs.
- Clean or replace all shower curtains.
- Clean any moldy areas in the showers and baths.
- Replace caulking to make it look new again.
- Take off all cloth toilet lids and keep lids closed.
- Hide garbage cans and cleaning supplies.
- Organize cabinets to be nice and neat.
Look at your house objectively from your all angles. I always like to walk around a listing with a pen and paper and write down major things that catch my attention.
These are usually related to siding, gutters, tree limbs, window caulking, and general dirty/neglected areas.
- Clean or repaint the front door if needed.
- Repaint the exterior and trim if needed.
- Replace any rotten wood or siding on the exterior.
- Sweep all walkways, patios, porches, and decks.
- Pressure wash any dirty/stained concrete.
- Re-stain the deck wood as needed.
- Wash windows, inside and out.
- Use outdoor furniture to show the use of space.
- Outdoor drapes, pillows, and throws create an inviting retreat.
Many people think the garage is not important, but remember usually there is a MAN involved in a real estate decision and men love their garages. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.
Here are a few simple and inexpensive things you can do to upgrade your garage:
- Clean and sweep out the garage.
- Keep storage nice and neat.
- Repaint dirty areas.
- Pack anything you can live without.
- Add shelves or peg board to organize loose items.
- Pressure wash garage floor.
- Paint garage floor with epoxy paint.
Yard and Landscape
Landscape is one of the easiest ways to improve curb appeal. Potential buyers make judgments right away as they drive up to your home. It doesn’t take much to improve that initial interaction with your home.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to improve your yard and landscape:
- Prune bushes and plants to look healthy.
- Do not allow shrubs or plants to block windows.
- Weed all planting areas.
- Put down fresh mulch to restore color contrast.
- Keep the lawn freshly mowed, edged, and fertilized.
- Remove any dead or dying plants.
- Add a few flowers for color.
- Trim trees to form a canopy.
What Do Successful Austin Home Sellers Know That You Don’t?
Nothing anymore! You are armed with everything you need to know to sell your home in Austin.
This home seller checklist may seem overwhelming at first, with 96 items to cover. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the items on the list dwindle as you work through them. Once you get into a groove and start working down the checklist, it goes fast. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Don’t make the costly mistake of listing your home before you have had time to complete your role process.
Your goal is to make home buyers question whether anyone lives in the home when they’re viewing it. Your home should stand out above the rest because you have gone above what the average home seller would do. Rest Assured, all your hard work will pay off at the closing table.