Why: Taking the time to prepare your home before putting it on the market can help it fetch a higher price and increase buyer interest, making for a quicker sale. Taking a big-picture look at what to do to get your home ready to sell will help ensure that you make the best decisions and stay under budget.
Things to consider: It makes sense to start with the outside of your home, since that is what potential buyers will notice first. Shoot for nice landscaping, a freshly cleaned exterior, a driveway and walking path in good repair, a well-lit porch and an eye-catching front door.
If you need to get a lot of furniture and accessories out of your home while it’s on the market, think about renting a storage unit. The cost could be worth it if it means your house shows better and sells faster (and hopefully for more money).
- Real estate agent: This is the first pro you will want to hire. Your Realtor should be able to give you an honest assessment of what your house needs to position it well on the market.
- Handyperson: Hiring a handyperson for a single day is often enough to take care of a whole list of small repairs.
- Electrician: Get that broken doorbell and porch light fixed, and update interior lighting.
- Cleaning service: Getting your house sparkling clean is a low-cost way to make your home look its best. A professional house cleaning team can make your house shine in a single day.
- Painter: A fresh coat of paint indoors and out is a surefire way to make your home stand out.
- Stager: A professional home stager can help declutter your home, arrange furniture (sometimes bringing in loaner furniture) and accessories, and make paint and landscaping recommendations to get your home in top shape for a quick and profitable sale.
- Landscape designer or gardener: Landscaping consistently makes the list of things that can influence a home sale. If you do not have a green thumb, it could be worth it to invest in pro services from someone who does.
- Expect to pay $50 to $85 per hour for a handyman and $60 to $100 per hour and up for an electrician.
- Home staging consultations (you implement most of the changes) run $150 to $500, but it can cost $2,000 and (way) up for full-service staging and furniture rentals.
- Should you decide to rent a storage unit, expect to pay about $100 per month for a 10- by 15-foot unit.
- House painting generally costs about $2 to $4 per square foot.
If you can, begin preparations the year before you plan to sell to give landscaping time to fill in, and to give yourself ample time to get work done. For instance, you could plant spring bulbs in the fall, take care of interior house repairs in winter and finish up the rest of your projects in spring to ready your home for its first open house in early summer.
- Interview and choose a real estate agent.
- Assess your property — not just the value but also what could be done to the interior or exterior to appeal to more buyers.
- Decide what work you are going to do yourself and what you would like a pro to do.
- Hire a home stager. Your stager will have important input on what repairs and changes will be most worth your time and money, and which ones to skip.
- Hire additional pros as needed, starting with a landscaper. Remember, the landscape needs time to fill in.
More: 10 Low-Cost Tweaks to Help Your Home Sell