Pack Projects: Pre-Listing Punch List

While the official start of spring is 70 days away; the spring market for real estate is about to bloom, and we want to be ready for it. A big mistake a lot of sellers make is waiting for the “right time” to list their home. When the leaves on the trees have that perfect shade of lime green, when they can pot colorful annuals on their porch; that one week in the year where all the stars align. Truth bomb: That’s too late. Many buyers have been stalking the market all winter waiting for a gem to come on, and chances are, it hasn’t yet. So once fresh listings start hitting their inbox (in mere weeks), a flurry of activity will erupt, and you want in on that action. (So do we). Read on for what we’re doing to get our own home ready for sale.

Bathroom Refresh. When we first bought this home (last July, more on that later), our original goal was to re-do all four bathrooms. After finishing a major kitchen renovation, new floors on the lower level, a new roof and roof deck; then analyzing comps in the neighborhood – we scaled back on the baths. We *love* what we do, and the whole process of making a house a home, but can’t justify over-improving when we won’t be in a home long-term. The return on the kitchen was there, but the bathrooms were not. So instead, we chose to leave main items like shower/ floors, and perform a little nip tuck with new countertops, fixtures, paint and lighting. 3 down, 1 to go. We measure for the master countertops tomorrow and then demo begins!

Deep Clean. This one seems fairly obvious, but I thought it might be helpful to list out the items we go hard on before opening it up to the public. Just today, I took an arsenal of supplies, sat down at the washer and dryer, and scrubbed every centimeter of mildew, vacuumed out every wisp of lint, all traces of dog hairs, and windexed the units until the gleam blinded anyone who dared to look in that direction. I do the same for all appliances, including the microwave (even though that isn’t always included). And speaking of windex, do not skip double-cleaning all mirrors/ art in your home. You want all the light and reflection you can get. This one pays greater dividends than you think!

Fresh Paint. Our current home is the first of seven of our personal homes where we’ve used a white paint on the walls. I cannot recommend white enough if you’re planning to sell. The vanilla hue appeals to the most amount of buyers, brightens even the darkest room, and gives them the illusion of a clean, refined palette they can make their own. That being said, my goodness she’s a hard one to keep clean with a toddler and pups running through. We’re in the process of giving a fresh coat throughout, and I may be odd man out on this one, but how great is that smell?!

Storage Wars. Jon and I did this trick a few houses ago and for a nominal investment you can save yourself so much hassle, and possibly a trip to the marriage counselor. Instead of arguing about tossing your beloved grandmother’s china, or 8,601 Christmas decorations you haven’t used in a few years – bring it to the storage room. You want your home to be clear of clutter. More on that in the next bullet, but I can’t stress enough the need for all potential buyers to see a home with s p a c e . We keep favorite toys that Grey plays with on a daily basis, but the rest get boxed up and placed in storage until the move. (Bonus, it’s very exciting when they get to open the boxes of “old” toys and they feel brand new again!) Same goes for out of season clothes/ coats/ etc for the whole family. Every buyer we show homes to inevitably says, “but I have more ________ than these people do, and their stuff doesn’t even fit”. Do yourself a favor and make space.

The Home Edit. So here’s the final step that 9 out of 10 people skip. To me, this is the difference between a close-to-asking offer and a big slice off the top. Organization. But we’re not just talking about your pantry. We’re talking about every. single. drawer. Every single cupboard. Each and every closet. It isn’t just about the look of an organized home, it’s about the feel and the message it sends. When all pants are folded the same, cupboard dividers show everything in its place, pantry items are decanted and color coded – this tells buyers, and their agents, that you have cared for this home with all of your being. You have changed the water and air filters, you have performed the required maintenance on mechanicals – nothing is amiss. I know, to read it back I feel you on the, this lady is Type A crazy and no one does this. I assure you, this step is crucial!

In the same boat as we are and ready to get started? Check out this checklist, another planner here, and here. There’s nothing greater than getting a message that your home sold in a week for full asking. Thank you for following along, and sharing your big moves with us!

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