Thinking of selling a home? Here is a suggested timeline that might help you have a successful sale.
One month before the open house:
Line up sitters for the kids and pets at least four weeks in advance.
Sagging gutters, threadbare carpets, leaky faucets and sagging gutters will turn off buyers. Get those little maintenance issues taken care of now. “Things that immediately capture a buyer’s attention are important,” said Chad Niegelsen, a Realtor with ReMax First Choice of Onalaska, Wis. “Grand scale projects typically are not. The return on investment doesn’t come back.”
De-clutter. Clean spaces help sell homes.
Don’t hide your junk in closets. Buyers will look there. You may have outgrown your home, but you want it to look spacious.
Schedule a carpet cleaner and home cleaning service to come through a few days before the open house. If you plan on doing it yourself, be sure to leave a couple of days.
Three weeks to go
Buy a new doormat and fluffy white towels for the bathrooms.
If your house is older, ensure the basement steps are clean and have fresh rubber treads. A fresh coat of paint on an unfinished basement floor is helpful.
Two weeks to go
High dusting: Clean the light fixtures, ceiling fans and other ledges. Do the light switches and door knobs, too.
One week to go
Clean inside your refrigerator and oven, and de-clutter kitchen cabinets, drawers and pantry. Overstocked shelves will give the impression there’s not enough storage.
Make sure buyers can get close enough to inspect the furnace, air conditioner and appliances. Be sure they’re clean and the stickers are visible showing when they were installed.
Week of the open house
Buy frozen cookie dough and disposable cookie sheets. You’ll want the house smelling of fresh-baked cookies, but not the work and cleanup of baking.
Buy apples, lemons or other fruit to display in a bowl.
Make sure you have plenty of sales brochures.
Clean the windows.
Mow the lawn a day or two before. Mowing the day of could trigger allergies for shoppers.
One day to go
Have plenty of signs pointing buyers toward your open house. If your agent is too busy, offer to help.
Stow outdoor clutter like hoses, toys, pet bowls.
Put fresh logs in the fireplace.
Day of open house
Secure your checkbooks, jewelry, prescription drugs and other valuables in a safe, your vehicle or a neighbor’s house.
Set the dining room table for dinner. Set the patio table, too.
Check for spider webs on outdoor play equipment.
Store personal items from the bathrooms and hang the new towels.
Stow kitchen appliances and set out a bowl of fruit on the counter or kitchen table.
Bake the cookies and set them out for your guests. Brewing a pot of coffee can also create an inviting aroma.
Pick up throw rugs and bath mats that could cause someone to trip.
Light a fire (if it’s cold out).
During the open house
If you have an agent, get out of the house and let them do the work. If you’re selling your own home, take a tip from the pros and always walk behind the guests, directing them instead of leading them.