A quick search on Google for Home listing tips generates 360,000,000 hits.  There are a lot of people with a lot of advice out there, and we decided we might as well throw our hat in the ring.  Below you will find some Tips on how to get your Houston home ready to sell.  This should get you started.  However, make sure to contact a professional real estate agent or stager before you start on bigger projects. Every home is unique and what might be a solid idea for one house might not be such a good idea for another.

1.   Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.

From the day you received the keys to your home till now, your home has been your home.  Your place in the world for yourself, your family, and your friends.  The day you decide to sell your home it must cease being your home and it must now become a house, a commodity, a product to be sold to the highest bidder.  Your home is now someone else’s home.  By disassociating yourself from your home and “letting go”, you will allow yourself to make better choices as you prepare your home for sale and better decisions as you negotiate on the sale.

2.   De-Personalize and De-Clutter.

Unless you are a little obsessive compulsive or completely unsentimental when it comes to photography, your home probably looks lived in.  You probably have personalized your home with photographs of family and friends.  You also probably have some business papers piled on your desk, books piled up on a side table, and various kitchen gadgets piled along your kitchen counter.  If you have any of those things, get them out of there.  Remove all of the wedding pictures, vacation pictures, and baby pictures.  You want people to look at your home and imagine themselves in your home. Second, you need to remove all of the unnecessary stuff that you have accumulated over the years that is now cluttering your kitchen counter-tops, desks, tables, floors, and bathrooms.  You need to go minimalist in a big way.  The less stuff you have in your home, the larger the spaces in your home will appear.  You need to convert your home into a showroom.

3.   Make the front door inviting.

According to Remodeling Magazine, replacing an old front door is one of the few remodeling projects that on average delivers a positive return on investment.  Now this is not to suggest that you should immediately run out and spend $2000 to replace your front door.  However, it does show that the quality of the entry way to your home has a big impact on the perceived value of your home. Besides the landscaping, the entry way is one of the first things that your prospective buyers will see.   Like with most relationships in life, it is important to make a good first impression, so make sure your front door and entry way are inviting and well maintained.

4.   Minimalize. 

Less is almost always more when it comes to staging and furniture.  The furniture that we use in our day to day lives might be comfortable and functional, but it doesn’t always show the best. Make sure to remove furniture that block walkways or that accumulates clutter (like standing CD cases and bookcases).  Also, reduce the number of pieces of furniture in a room to the bare necessity to showcase the use of the room.  By reducing the amount of furniture, you will increase the level of open space and there by make the rooms look larger, more open and more inviting.

5.   Get rid of the Good stuff.

Please keep in mind that everything that is attached, such as light fixtures and chandeliers, will be assumed to be apart of the sale.  If you bought an expensive Chandler in Europe that you can’t live without, it is a good idea to remove those items and replace them with a fixture becoming of the home.  If your prospective buyer never sees the items that you care about, they won’t ask for them and it won’t be a barrier in your negotiations.

6.   Make the house sparkle. 

From windows to counter-tops to underneath chairs to the tops of cabinets, your home needs to sparkle and shine.  This thorough wash down needs to extend from the inside/out.  Have the outside of the home power washed to remove cob webs and dirt.  Clean out exterior gutters. Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks. Clean out the cobwebs and the clutter in the garage. Wax the floors. Polish chrome faucets in kitchen and bathrooms.  And most importantly, air out any musty odors in the house.  Your house needs to look and smell great!

7.   Make minor repairs and Scrutinize

You need to really take a long hard look at your home and really scrutinize all of the little imperfections.  You can certainly bet that your buyer prospects will do the same.  Obviously, there are some imperfections that are costly to repair.  However, at a minimum, you need to take are of those items that are easy, most unsightly, and relatively inexpensive to correct.

8.   Check Curb Appeal.

At Norhill, we really have some great professional photographers that we work with to assist us with our listings photos.  They really can work some magic when it comes to hiding imperfections and some unsightly elements in a home.  One thing that is difficult to hide (but frankly not impossible) is the exterior curb appeal of a home (especially dead Houston lawns).  Great landscaping and a well maintained lawn can really come through online.  Furthermore, when prospective buyers first drive up to your home, you want them to be impressed and eager to see more.  Just like with the entry way, first impressions are important so make sure your prospects have a good one.

9.   Remove items from Closets and Kitchen Cabinets. 

Most people have a lot of stuff in their closets and cabinets.  In other words, they use them.  However, when you are showing your home, prospects are looking for storage.  A common positive comment we get as we tour people through homes is, “this home has a lot of storage”. People like having enough room for all their stuff.  By removing clutter and excessive items from your closets and cabinets, you are showing off how much room you have.  You are making those spaces look larger by exposing the extra room.  So as you deliver the excess furniture to the storage unit, take some of the old clothes and pots and pans as well.

10. Neutralize your home through Paint.

New paint always provides a great fresh and clean look to your home, and we do recommend it with some of our clients.  According to HomeGain’s Prepare to Sell 2011 national survey, the average price to paint interior walls is $1012, but that investment increases the home price by an average of $2112.  That being said, it is not necessary for everyone.  If your paint is in good shape and already shows well, sometimes painting over just the boldest colors in your home with more neutral tones is sufficient.  Obviously, we want to make sure your home is attractive to the largest number of prospects.  More demand typically leads to higher prices.DSC_8333.2-1024x615