December 9, 2019

How to Prepare Your Home to Sell in the New Year

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Ready or not, 2020 is practically upon us. Some people enter the new year with small resolutions while others have big plans. One of those big plans you may be considering? Selling your home.

Perhaps you are looking to sell soon after New Year’s Day, or perhaps you are waiting for warmer weather. Either way, preparing your home for selling requires a fair amount of advance planning. Whether you are selling sooner or later, that planning needs to start now. Below are six tips for preparing your home for selling in 2020.


A common tip to prepare your home for selling is to declutter it for showings. Fewer items occupying space will make it easier for potential buyers to envision their things in the house while allowing your home to look more spacious. In the winter, decluttering can be a bit more challenging because more warm-weather needs are taking up space in hallways and on coat racks; you can’t exactly host a garage sale in January. After the holidays, you may end up with more stuff (especially if you have kids). You may need to be creative with your decluttering, or even consider renting storage space to temporarily hold things until after you sell.

Keep it Clean

Winter wreaks havoc on your house. Preparing a home for selling entails keeping it clean. Make the extra effort to keep your house sparkling. Prospective buyers are likely dealing with the same winter blahs as you are; a warm, clean, inviting home will brighten their moods and better enable them to see everything it has to offer.

Take Down the Holiday Lights After New Year’s Day

People joke about holiday lights still visibly decorating a house on Valentine’s Day (or later), but to a prospective buyer, it could also indicate a  homeowner’s lack of attentiveness to the needs of the home. Put away your lights, don’t let them linger more than a week after the New Year; even without turning them on, lights will be obvious to potential buyers. However, if you are showing in December, go ahead and decorate your exterior with welcoming lights, don’t go overboard, but don’t stick out as the only house on the block without any holiday illumination.

Take Care of Minor Repairs

Homeowners preparing to sell often face a long list of minor tasks and repairs—non-urgent things they have been meaning to address over the years, such as that missing ceiling tile in the basement, a leaky faucet, or that room that needs painting. This list can become overwhelming once you decide to put your home on the market. Find some time to tackle a few of these projects before getting serious about selling. Unless you are a skier, it’s likely you won’t be too enthused about being outside on miserable winter weekends, so take advantage of this time to focus on home repair.

Roof, Doors, and Windows

Your home’s roof, doors, and windows are the three areas where buyers really pay attention to. Once replaced, these three provide some of the best returns on investment of any home improvement project. By contrast, missing shingles, drafty doors, or ancient windows needing replacement tend to be noticed as you are trying to sell; these items could negatively affect your asking price. If you are serious about selling in 2020, consider an upgrade—or at least repairing any problems —for your roof, doors, and windows.

Winter may seem an odd time for such a job, but depending on the repair materials and weather conditions, a quality contractor (who may be more available because of the season) can deliver with minimal disruption to your family. This is a big project to begin the new year, but to prepare your home for selling, thinking big will yield great benefits in the long run.

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