Four Days of Sweat Equity: What should be on your list?

woman looking at paint colorsThinking about listing your home for sale soon, but wondering how you will get everything done to the house to actually get it ready to sell? Spring is here, the market is ripe, and it may seem like you are behind everyone else entering the market. You are actually not alone. Between work, baseball practice, dance recitals, and everything else on the typical family schedule, finding time to clear away clutter (aka: your basement looks like your house could be featured on an episode of Hoarders), is can feel like a huge challenge.

So, let’s say you have two weekends free of schedule responsibilities before summer. That means 4 days to devote to preparing your home before the Realtor comes over to evaluate the property (do a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA which helps determine the current market value). What should do with those four days? What matters most?

Here is a guide to what you need to tackle first. You have four days, ready, set, go!

  1. Most important rooms come first, and the kitchen is number one. Perhaps you have older cabinets that are functional, just not very impressive.  Replacing them can cost you a bundle and is probably not a DIY project unless you have some mad carpentry skills. But, you can refinish them, reface them and replace the doors and hardware, or paint them and add new hardware. Though it may seem like a really big project to do yourself, it is one that most homeowners can accomplish with good results. Allow plenty of time, ask for advice on paint, primer and tools at your local home improvement store and choose paint that most buyers will approve of. White is very safe bet, though there are some neutral colors that can add pizazz.

  2. Clear out all clutter. This means every nook and cranny (even the closets!) filled with a plethora of things you have saved and never actually use any more. Create two piles to either donate to Goodwill or another charitable organization, or throw away. If you foresee that your pile is going to be big, rent a dumpster and throw it out easier than bagging it up for the trash collector (they also may not take it all if you have a huge number of bags). What you eliminate from the home includes anything you have not used in the last 2-3 years and does not hold significant sentimental value.

  3. Paint rooms that need it. If the walls look dingy and in need of a fresh coat of paint, this is a project that will refresh an entire room fairly quickly. Choose neutral colors that complement the décor.

  4. Clean until spotless. If you have stains in your tub or toilets this is the time to get them sparkling clean. This is something buyers will notice right away and so will your Realtor. Ask your local home improvement store about products that work wonders on stains. If the stains are too bad to tackle with any success, consider scheduling a professional to refinish the tub or install an insert tub liner with backsplash- that essentially give you a new clean surface to the tub and surrounding walls. It can completely change the look of your bathroom.

  5. Floors and ground. Essentially make every surface you can walk on look well maintained. This means cleaning carpets, tile and grout, polishing wood flooring, and outside the home- getting that lawn and all the pathways looking neat and ready for buyers.

Getting your home ready to sell can feel like a daunting task, but tackle the most important areas first and you will see a big difference in how fresh your home looks and how roomy it can feel; two things that buyers notice most.

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