5 ways to prepare your home for selling in the new year

January 13, 2018 — Written by Lauren Bowling

Are you thinking of finding your dream home in 2018? It takes months and thoughtful planning to be ready for a move, and the relative quiet of January is the perfect time to start tackling the to-do list to prep your house to make a favorable impression on potential buyers. Here are five helpful tips to prepare your home for selling in the new year.

1. Organize your paperwork and finances

When selling your home, your documentation will have to be in order, such as tax information, home repairs, and homeowner association fees. Take this time after the holidays to get organized. Examples of paperwork you’ll need as a seller include:

  • Property tax records
  • Appliance manuals
  • Warranty information
  • HOA details (if applicable)
  • Tax records
  • Documentation of any upgrades you’ve made

In most cases, selling a home also means you’ll be buying a new home as well. While you’re preparing your seller’s paperwork, be sure to get your personal financial information organized. This way, when the time comes to buy a new home, you’ll be ready to go.

2. Take inventory of your home repairs

Take advantage of the relative quiet of January to perform a full inventory of your home. Go room by room, and ask yourself: Does anything need to to be repaired, cleaned, or replaced? Also check out our list with the most commons repairs.

Try to imagine what a potential buyer would look for and take notes. You don’t have to give each room a complete makeover. Simply consider what it would take to put your home’s best foot forward. For example, a new coat of paint in the living room could help freshen the space, and after multiple holiday commitments, you may find yourself with several free weekends to dive into painting. And you won’t have to worry about guests as you shift furniture or tape molding.

Once the inventory is complete, create a timeline for making repairs, and plan financing for larger projects if needed.

3. Complete routine home maintenance

Timing annual home maintenance chores to the start of the new year can help you keep track of the schedule, rather than completing them at different intervals throughout the year. For winter home maintenance, home design and repair site, we recommend to:

  • Replace all air filters
  • Check all smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries
  • Have the heating system professionally cleaned
  • Remove window screens
  • Check for drafts around doors and windows

4. Declutter closets and cabinets

A slow, post-holiday weekend is the perfect time to tackle decluttering major areas of the home. Consider tossing anything you haven’t used in a year (or more). In addition to readying for potential sellers, if you do move later in the year, it’s one less chore you’ll have to worry about while packing.

Be sure to organize:

  • Kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • All closets
  • Any catch-all areas in your home such as a hallway, mudroom or garage
  • The pantry
  • The laundry room

Not only is this a great way to start the year fresh, but it’s a must for home selling. When potential buyers visit, it’s important to show that the house has ample storage space for all of their needs. Clean and organized closets and cabinets are more esthetically appealing.

5. Take advantage of January sales

Although your budget may still be recovering from the holidays, stores often offer the largest discounts on home goods early in the year. Those sales can add up if you need to upgrade or stage your home for spring or summer showings. Below are the best items to buy in January, often at the lowest prices of the year.

  • Linens: Stock up on sheets, towels, and fresh bedding. Tattered bath towels don’t sell homes, and neutral colors tend to work best for staging. If beige isn’t typically your top choice, shopping against your preferred taste might sting less with the discounted prices during the January sales.
  • Furniture: MarketWatch reports that furniture retailers reveal new designs in February, making January the best time to secure discounts on large furniture items. When preparing a home for sale, less furniture can help make a room seem larger, but a new piece or two can help upgrade a space.
  • Carpeting and flooring: Most renovations happening during the spring and summer months, which means materials purchased during those seasons come at a premium. If you’re considering a home renovation, even if it’s months away, consider shopping for upgraded flooring in the off-season.
  • Putting thought and planning into the sale of your home — the earlier the better — means less confusion and stress during the actual home selling period.

    Tackling the above items in January also means more free time in the spring to focus on upgrading a home’s exterior, finding an agent, preparing the home for showings and ultimately, shopping for your own new home.

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