Have a pre-inspection done by a Home Inspector or General Contractor
You will discover everything that a potential buyer would dig up during the inspection contingency and then be able to address the minor issues so that there are no surprises. Go ahead and make all of those small nuisance repairs that you have been putting off. Things should function properly so as not to give the impression that you have gotten behind on maintenance. Anything that you don’t wish to correct should be disclosed in your listing so that you will receive educated offers (those for whom the issue would not be a deal breaker).
Depersonalize the space
Any funky colors that might deter potential buyers should be properly covered with something more universally appealing. Sometimes it is just a matter of touching up around scratches and marks to make the rooms feel polished and clean.
Get a storage unit
It is only temporary and the cost will be offset by the speed at which your home sells (and you are not carrying the operating costs). This will allow you to remove clutter, personal memorabilia, family photos, and religious iconography. It is a good idea to remove about half of the items in your closet to give the feeling that there is more than enough storage. The garage should be clear to allow potential buyers to envision parking potential.
Get it professionally cleaned
They are pros. You deserve a break. Enough said.
Getting top dollar
Before you take on any updates (new carpeting, remodeling bathrooms etc.) talk to your Realtor. Many times new buyers come in and rip out that brand new carpeting. I can’t tell you how many times I walked into a house and wished I could have gone back in time. Prospective buyers will have their own vision and it is wise to price your outdated home accordingly to allow the new owner to invest their own time and money making the space perfect.
If you have your heart set on a higher price tag, discuss this with your Realtor and Contractor together. They will help you determine which specific investments would be required to pull in the best return.
Know your dates
Consider putting together a house binder for potential buyers that includes the age of the roof, how old the mechanicals are (AC, heat, water heater, well pump, pool pump). It is also a good idea to include the make and age of major appliances like the fridge, dishwasher, washer and dryer. Any repair work that has been completed or maintenance schedules for pest treatment and such would also be helpful.
Get ready, set and GO
Do all this prep work prior to placing your home on the MLS. It will be worth it. The early days on the market are the most important because that is when you will maximize visibility and have peak interest. Bring all pets with you when you LEAVE for showings. It is essential that prospective buyers have the privacy to imagine themselves actually living in your home. Your Realtor (and buyer’s agents) will ensure the safety and security of your home and belongings. There is no reason for you to be there and it will hurt the sale. Go have some fun!