Sell your home in 2020! Start with this New Year's checklist for selling a house.
Happy new year! If you're planning to sell your property before we make our next trip 'round the sun, now's the time to start thinking about what you'll need to do and when.
Make the most of January's fresh-start energy: Grab a calendar and use our home selling checklist to set up a pre-listing schedule. Spend an afternoon plotting which tasks require attention; which ones you can handle yourself, how long they'll take, and what supplies you need; and which ones you'll want professional help with.
And yes, go old school and make that a paper calendar. It's especially useful when multiple family members are pitching in – plus it's a satisfying way for everyone to track their progress.
As you get your house ready for its next owner, find a real estate agent who knows your area. They can offer valuable insight, help you prioritize, and hook you up with useful resources. They'll also set up your marketing plan, which should include professional photography and videography for virtual tours.
If you're somewhere snowy and cold, focus on the indoor tasks; by the time you've wrapped them up, it should be warm enough to get going outside. If you live where that's not an issue, start outdoors while it's still cool enough to get the yard work done comfortably.
Outside: Curb Appeal
Lawn, trees, plantings
☐ healthy and well maintained
☐ pruned, edged, mulched
☐ in good condition
☐ new welcome mat
☐ repaint door
☐ power wash, if needed
☐ clean gutters
☐ clean windows and screens
☐ new mailbox
☐ visible house numbers
Inside: House Beautiful
☐ reduce everything by at least half
☐ pack up books, art, family photos
☐ organize closets, drawers
☐ clear tabletops, counters, shelves
☐ clean out attic, basement, garage
☐ repair screens and windows
☐ repair drippy faucets, old grout
☐ tighten loose doorknobs
☐ refresh hardware and hinges
☐ update lighting fixtures
☐ have furnace/HVAC serviced
☐ repaint with neutrals
☐ cover or remove worn furniture
☐ stage/rearrange (see below)
☐ absolutely everything (see below)
A note about staging
Your real estate agent can help you decide how much value a stager would offer; there are several ways to approach it to help you control the cost:
- Fully staged. Everything that's yours goes into storage and a professional stager refurnishes your space
- Semi-staged. Use what you have, plus a take-no-prisoners approach to decluttering guided by the staging pro
- Staging and supplementing. A happy medium of your best pieces plus some from the stager.
A note about cleaning
It's never too early to start, and it's a daily commitment. Clean under furniture. Clean behind your fridge. Dust every little thing (though if you've decluttered well, there shouldn't be many little things around). Scrub, polish, and vacuum – every surface, soft or hard, from floor and baseboards to ceiling fixtures, should be immaculate.