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Considering selling your home?

Here are our tips on how to prepare to sell — and how to ensure the right buyer can see themselves in your space:

First impressions matter.

When selling your home, you want your home to look warm and welcoming. Consider making some small, cosmetic changes that will brighten up your space and give off a positive first impression, such as:

  • Touch up your landscaping with shrubs and flowers.
  • Make your entryway inviting by adding small touches such as simple décor or fresh flowers.
  • Consider adding a bench or shelf to help organize and remove clutter (more on this later!).

Keep your home ready to show.

You don’t know when the right person will want to walk through your house and make an offer, so it’s important that your house is always prepared throughout the selling process.

Consider hiring outside help to give the house a deep clean before listing — and even throughout the selling process, if you can. Make sure you keep up with dusting, sweeping, and decluttering so the house remains in its best shape. While it might seem like a pain, it’ll pay off.

Investopedia recommends having a friend or real estate agent walk through your house and tell you what areas they think need work. You might not notice how cluttered the living room looks or that the spare bedroom looks dusty, but someone who isn’t in your home every day might.

The selling process requires flexibility, so keep your home ready for any potential showings.

Consider the time of year.

The warmer months are the easiest months to sell a house (and typically, the easiest time to move!). When preparing to sell your home, consider listing in spring or summer!

Trust the professionals.

Find the right agent.

Do your research on real estate agents. Some may have more experience than others selling — especially selling in your area! Your agent should know the going price for comparable houses in your area and the best ways to attract potential buyers.

A knowledgeable agent will use their network and programs to your advantage, getting your house seen by any and all potential buyers — preferably, as many as possible. While you may be tempted to save the money and list on your own, a real estate agent can save you a lot of hassle and guesswork to simplify the process, and ultimately, they have the resources to get your home in front of a wider range of potential buyers. Especially if this is your first time selling, we recommend working with a real estate agent.

Hire a quality photographer.

Great photos will get potential buyers in the door. A professional can capture the space in a flattering, bright way to attract potential buyers to set up a showing of your house. Ask your agent if they have any preferred or recommended real estate photographers.

Make small tweaks where possible rather than major upgrades.

Making major overhauls would increase the property’s value — however, it’ll likely cost you more than you’ll make in the deal. Think about the quick upgrades you can do to your house. Quick fixes before selling always pay off! Colossal makeovers and projects? Not so much.

Make your space beautiful without breaking the bank with new paint, new curtains, upgraded cabinets, or other inexpensive, easy upgrades. Always make sure your house is neat, clean, and in good working order throughout the selling process. If your faucet is leaky, fix it. It’s worth noting, too, that if you don’t fix the smaller things, potential buyers will wonder what bigger things might be wrong with the house, too.

One quick fix that makes a big difference? Repaint your walls — especially those with darker hues or fun, kid-friendly colors — in neutral colors to make your space appear bigger, cleaner, and cover minor imperfections.

Ask the right price.

Experts (like the pros at HGTV!) suggest finding out your home’s value, and then reduce it by 15-20%. You’ll see more interest in your home from multiple bidders, meaning you’ll end up getting the house’s actual value, or maybe even more!

Clear out clutter.

This point ties back to point #2 – keep your house clutter-free and ready for potential buyers. Remember that not only will clutter make your space look smaller, but potential buyers will be opening everything; they’ll look in closets and cupboards to see how their lives and belongings could hypothetically fit into your space.

Try maximizing your storage by donating what you no longer need, renting a storage center, or relocating some of your items in storage to another location in the home with more space, such as a garage or shed.

Keep it bright and light.

Enhance your lighting wherever possible. Light – especially natural light – will make your home more welcoming and cheerful. Remove dark draperies, clean the windows, and trim back bushes to allow as much natural light as you can.

Did you know there are health benefits to increased natural light in your home, too? It can affect your focus, your blood pressure, stress levels, mood, immune system, and more. Homes with more natural light are more attractive to most potential buyers.

Make your home just a house.

Your home is undoubtedly full of memories, no matter how long you’ve been there. Remember that the people looking at your house are trying to envision their lives in this space, too. Consider removing personal touches from your home such as family photos and personal keepsakes.

Plus, the more you can remove from the home the better – it’ll make the space look bigger!

Focus on the kitchen.

While you shouldn’t undertake hefty, expensive projects before selling that might not pay off, there is a key area of the house you’ll want to give a little extra TLC to highlight: the kitchen.

Real estate site designates the kitchen as a hot spot, stating that, if “you’re a seller with a tight timeline (and budget),” this is the room you should concentrate your efforts on.

For more on the importance of the kitchen and the other most important room, according to Trulia, read their blog: These Are The 2 Rooms That Really Sell Homes – Trulia’s Blog – Real Estate 101

Remove your pets.

While your pet is a valued member of your family, remember that a potential buyer might have allergies or not have the same love for animals. Consider bringing your pet to a kennel, pet hotel, or a friend’s house while showing your home — and remove pet toys and supplies.

Take the time to clean and deodorize the house to help your potential buyer — potentially not an animal lover — envision the house as their own.


Learn about Merchants’ homeowners insurance here or find an agent near you.

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Katherine Trautwein

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.