Here’s the short version of how we sold our house- we moved out of our condo on Monday morning. That night it went on the market. On Tuesday and Wednesday we had 35 showings. By Thursday we had 8 offers. Friday we had a bidding war going on. By the following Monday our condo was under contract for $10k over the asking price.
The longer version of this story is that we weren’t even sure we were going to sell it at all! My husband and I were planning on renting out the condo while we lived in Florida for 5.5 months. But when our renter fell through days before our cross country move, we decided to put it on the market.
The home was 100% ready to be rented furnished which also happens to be the perfect staging for a home. I wanted to share with you how I sold my house fast with these steps.
why stage a house?
Staging a house is your chance to get your home feeling as welcoming, open, and full of light as possible. The main goal is to show of the actual house (not your decor). Think about your home’s charm- for me that’s the millwork, the tile in the bathroom and kitchen, the wood floors, and the updated lighting- all of the things that will stay with the home when its sold. These items are what you want to highlight!
The beauty of staging is that this is a FREE project that you can do in a few hours. The goal with showing off the actual house is to edit and refine the accessories so you can see the beauty of the home. If you are successful at staging the result will be more showings, offers, and hopefully a higher selling price when all is said and done.
Finish diy projects
This step was the most time consuming! There were little DIY projects everywhere that needed completing. The toe kick and crown molding in the kitchen finally got installed. The inside of my closets that had black trim were painted white. Grout was patched, cracks were caulked, pretty much the house was in perfect order.
I do have to say, it’s pretty lame that I waited until I left to get my house in order. I think it’s just human nature to get used to your surroundings even the flaws. It is a pretty stressful way to live- always having a running to do list of repairs to make. I’m going to try to be more through with my projects and complete the last, excruciating details.
Doing the projects that “finish” your home will give you peace of mind that you’ve done everything you can to prepare it for new owners. And you might as well do any house projects now when their completion will absolutely help get the house done.
Make the 1st Impression Count
You have one chance to wow your buyer, and that’s with the front door. To get that area ready, I painted any scuffs, made sure the mat was welcoming, and installed a new (high tech) door knob. A few months previous, I had updated the light from a broken one. Even though the curb appeal at my condo is a little sad, I made sure that every element that I could control looked perfect.
Before our house went on the market, I got rid of ½ of the things I owned. Yes- half! And I suggest that to you too. It might feel empty, but that’s ok. That means that the house really has space to breath. The thing is, you’re selling your home, not your stuff. So your walls and floors should be visible, not covered in junk.
If you have some clutter in your house, it might not bother you. But I can promise you that it will bother potential buyers. Clutter means that they can’t easily imagine themselves in your house. Clutter also looks lazy- a buyer might ask themselves “if they can’t clean up after themselves, did they take care of the house?!”
That’s definitely not a question you want people to ask. Plus, you can see it as an opportunity to simplify your life so that you only have what you absolutely loves. I share my best tips on organizing here and some tips here for how to mentally let go of your stuff here.
An effective place to get started with cleaning clutter is with kitchen and bathroom counter tops. Honestly, you’re going to want to remove almost everything. The mixer, toothbrushes, canisters, and makeup all need to be stashed away during photos and showings. That way, people can see the nice counter tops and imagine their stuff there.
Next, you’ll want to continue your clutter clearing through the rest of the surfaces in your house. Dressers, coffee tables, bookshelfs- anywhere that might benefit from simplifying.
Organize Closets and Drawers
The truth is that the storage in a home is a big part of what sells it. Make sure to take everything out of the cupboards, clean, and then put the bare minimum back. People will peek into closets and cabinets and you want them to see order.
Closets are another great opportunity to declutter. Ask yourself if you’re really using an item or are you holding onto it because you have space for it? I got rid of SO many crafting supplies because I hadn’t touched them in 5+ years. Honestly, this is a win win situation- you will have to move less stuff that you don’t use AND you’ll be creating a home that will sell.
To be real with you, I hate cleaning. But it is definitely a super important step in selling. If you hate cleaning too, you can probably hire a cleaner to do a deep cleaning for less than $300. If you have the time and energy, you can absolutely do it! Make sure everything from the fans to baseboards are spotless. Scrub the tub and the fridge. Pretty much, your home has got to be the cleanest it’s ever been.
After the home is deep cleaned, make sure to dust, vacuum, mop, and spot clean any areas that need it before showings. Your home can’t be too clean! Again, the goal here is that nothing detracts from showing the home’s beauty. Dirt and grime is a great thing to tackle to get your house sold.
This is a pretty obvious one, but make sure your house smells good. Get your carpets cleaned if you have any pet orders. Air out the house and get a fan going if it’s smelling weird at all. The easiest thing to do is to light a candle. I’ve also done a crock pot with water and cinnamon in it- it makes the whole house smell divine!
should I make my house color neutral?
A lot of people will tell you to make your house as neutral as possible. I didn’t do that. Pink is one of the main colors in my home and I didn’t remove any of it. The two top bidders for my condo happened to be single ladies who were nurses. Somehow I found my perfect buyer! And she LOVED the pink!
I did make sure my realtor communicated that the wallpaper was removable and that it could come down in less than 5 minutes. Personally, I believe that if your home is decorated with purpose, you’ll probably find someone who has similar tastes. And if you don’t, you’ll get that feedback and can easily make things more neutral.
should I remove family photos?
Another thing I didn’t do that people always suggest is to remove family photos. I did remove any framed photos that weren’t hanging, but the three wall hangings with my Instagram photos stayed up. I didn’t have a replacement for them and honestly ran out of time to get them down. Maybe I should have made the time to remove them, but I think a little hint of who loved the house is ok.
Since we left the house furnished, we put the word out through our realtor that if the buyer wanted to buy anything, we were open to selling certain items. The buyer was interested, so we made a simple document listing the items and the price. We ended up selling the art in the stair way, the bedroom furniture, and my desk.
I haven’t really talked about selling my condo. It was honestly so fast, that I barely had time to process it myself! And by the time we reached Florida, I was ready to talk about that house. As we’ve been looking at houses for where we’re going to be living next (!!!), we’ve been house hunting so I thought I’d write down what I learned by selling our condo. I sure these tips are helpful if you’re about to put your house on the market too!
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