Real Estate Resources

Helpful information for buying or selling a home in Sonoma County

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

You’ve decided you are ready to sell your home in Sonoma County, but what does it take to get it buyer ready? Ideally, you and your real estate agent will walk through your home several times to identify what absolutely needs to be updated, what should be updated, and what can wait for the new homeowners to address.  Many small cosmetic updates  can go a long way in making your home attractive to prospective buyers.

Here are a few top “market-smart makeovers” you might consider:

  • Kitchen – New flooring, cabinets, counter tops, appliances and lighting can be costly, but buyers typically look for updated kitchens, and you can recover a large percentage of your expenses on resale. Even a minor facelift – for instance, new paint, floor covering, cabinet doors and hardware – can pay off in a faster sale at a better price.
  • Bathrooms – As with the kitchen, renovating bathrooms can pay off in terms of both value and marketability, especially in an older house. Opt for good lighting, large mirrors, attractive fixtures and materials, plenty of storage and neutral colors.
  • Energy-Efficient Improvements – Energy-saving upgrades and repairs that reduce fuel bills can be a great selling point. For example, sought-after double or triple-pane windows and storm doors that keep indoor temperatures comfortable year round. There are many options, so do some research and talk to a home products professional to identify the improvements that best fit your plans and budget.

When considering renovations before selling, there are two important things to remember: don’t over-renovate, and be careful not to make renovations that please you personally, but might turn off interested buyers. Both scenarios will cost you.

There are few things that put off potential buyers more than viewing a home that screams of being uncared for. If you want to maximize your chances for getting top dollar, you might need to make some minor upgrades, but you’ll definitely need to make all necessary repairs. Leaving aside major structural and functional matters, here are a few relatively minor upgrades and repairs that can go a long way in getting your home ready to sell.

Exterior Updates

  • Fix or replace anything damaged or worn, such as patio and deck, gutters and eaves, windows, shutters, screens, storm doors, light fixtures, porches and steps, walkways and fences.
  • Touch up all exterior paint or if needed, re-paint the house.
  • Fix doorbells, tighten loose doorknobs and oil squeaking hinges.
  • Clean or paint front door, polish front door hardware, replace “Welcome” mat if necessary.
  • Plant extra flowers for color, place potted plants beside the front door. Be sure to include native, drought-resistant landscaping if you are updating your front or back yard.

Interior Updates

  • Fix or replace cracked molding or floor tiles, leaking taps and toilets, loose door knobs, squeaky door hinges, closets or screen doors that are off their tracks, bathroom lighting and hardware, toilet seats, loose caulking or grout.
  • Fix and touch-up walls, ceilings, windows, etc.
  • Brighten interiors with a new coat of paint in light, neutral colors.
  • Shampoo carpets and rugs, replace if necessary.
  • Make sure major appliances are in good working order.
  • Replace switch and outlet plates and register vents with more elegant ones.
  • Add closet organizers or shelving to make closets more functional and spacious looking.
  • Add organizers or shelving for basement and garage.
  • Clean and paint concrete floor and walls.
  • Clean water heater and drain sediment
  • Buy the furniture you planned for the new house to improve the look of this one.

In addition to the minor repairs listed above, there are many easy organization and maintenance tasks that can improve your home’s curb appeal and inside homeyness. Many of these suggestions are simple house-keeping duties that will make getting your home ready to sell that much easier.

Exterior Maintenance 

  • Mow and rake the lawn, trim hedges and shrubs, weed and edge gardens.
  • Clean sidewalks and driveway, remove any litter.
  • Remove unnecessary items from the exterior of the house.
  • Power wash the porch, siding, deck and patio.
  • Clean off your outdoor furniture and remove any in poor repair.
  • Clean your air conditioner.
  • Clear out the garage of everything but cars. If yours has become a two-car attic, throw out all unnecessary items, and then thoroughly organize and clean everything that remains.
  • If you have a pool, make sure it’s clean and functioning well or properly closed in the off-season.

Interior Maintenance 

  • Clean and tidy the entrance, clear stairs and halls.
  • Create space by storing all excess furniture.
  • Remove from closets, cabinets and shelves any clothes and other items you won’t need until after moving. Pre-pack and store if possible.
  • Organize kitchen counter tops, removing some appliances if necessary, to make them look as spacious as possible.
  • Thoroughly clean everything in and out of sight.
  • Remove all odors and add air freshener, dishes of potpourri, etc. for scent.
  • Throw out any unnecessary items in an unfinished basement, and then thoroughly organize and clean everything that remains.