You probably have an idea of how much money you want (or need) to take away from the sale of your home. Ensuring you get what you want will likely require quite a bit of preparation of the property. Your agent will make specific recommendations regarding your specific home, but I have outlined the main prep check list items that most home sellers will need to address.
Cleaning and Organization
People know they are viewing a used home, but they don't want the home to look used. Imagine shopping for a used car. Before you ever even get to peek at it, it will have been detailed until it is spotless. It will smell just like a new car, and you will not see a single crumb, finger print, or smudge. Your house will need to be like that. It is worth spending the time doing a whole house detailing, or spending the money to hire a professional cleaning company to do it.
If you're selling the house, it means you're planning to move. Start packing. Figure out what you need to live comfortably and what items help "stage" the house. Try to pack up anything that doesn't fall into either of those categories. Clutter, knick-knacks, personal collections, clothing, photos and any extra "stuff" can get boxed up and stored either in storage areas of the home or into a storage facility, depending upon your budget. Home buyers are trying to picture themselves living in the home. That is not easy to do when you see the seller's personal belongings on every surface and every wall.
Painting and Upgrades
A fresh coat of paint can make absolutely anything look brand new. It is one of the most affordable upgrades you can make, with the highest return on the investment of time and money. Many buyers will expect to come in and paint based on their personal style, but they want to see a blank canvas. If your personal style is smeared all over every wall in every room, it can be a total distraction and turn off to prospective buyers. Select neutral colors that look clean and potentially easy to cover. The buyer will be able to imagine what the home will look like with their belongings and visualize their color choices, and even consider leaving it the way it is. Don't forget the trim!
Upgrades should make sense. Don't go dropping big money on massive improvements expecting to get double your money back on the sale of the home. Outdated fixtures should be replaced, and make any repairs that you know of, but talk to your agent about what upgrades make sense. Some upgrades attract more offers, but not necessarily more money.
Once you have prepped the home for sale, you're ready to list and start showings. Read more about how to set the sale price in the Seller Series #3- Determine Value.