1. First Impressions Last
Let’s start with the most important one first. It’s important to make your home look it’s best when it comes time to show it, so that the first impression is a good one. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Even if you’re in a market where homes are selling quickly and for full price or greater, it’s still key to spruce up your home and prove that it’s worth every penny you’re asking. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. In fact, a great first impression is sometimes all it takes to see a speedy offer come your way.
2. The Front View Greets the Buyer
Make sure it is inviting. Stay on top of your lawn mowing, edging, trimming and overall maintenance. Tidy up your front landscaping. Put a new colorful welcome mat at the front door. A fresh coat of paint your front door and porch rails will give your entrance a fresh look. Power washing the house, sidewalks, decks and driveways will improve your curb appeal. Make sure wood rot is removed, repaired and corrected and put a fresh coat of paint on your shutters.
3. Dust and Dirt Reduce Appeal
Inspect for cobwebs in the corners, dust ceiling fans, clean dirty baseboards and wainscoting. Vacuum and / or swifter your floors each morning. You may also want to think about getting your carpets cleaned before potential buyers view your house. A small investment in time and cleaning will make your home look its best and give the greatest return on investment.
4. Remove the Clutter
Make rooms look larger than they are. If you have too much furniture, place some of it in storage. Remove excess pictures, posters, knickknacks and family photos. Potential buyers can’t imagine their things in the space if they are surrounded with your possessions. Think less is more. Neat and orderly rooms and closets will make rooms look larger and more appealing to potential buyers.
5. Soft Music and Sweet Aromas are Inviting
Have the intercom, stereo or hidden TV turned to a station with soft background music or smooth jazz. Scented candles and pot potpourri give a home a pleasant aroma.
6. Kitchens and Bathrooms Sell Homes
Make sure kitchen and bathroom countertops are as clear as possible. Check and repair caulking and grouting around tubs, showers, sinks and counter tops. Thoroughly clean all your appliances, including the inside of your oven and microwave. Potential buyers will be opening everything – including appliances. Left over evidence of yesterday’s meatloaf in the microwave never leaves a good impression. Make sure all your faucets are drip-free – inside and outside. Hang fresh towels in the bathrooms. Make these rooms sparkling clean. Think “new model home” OR Hyatt Regency Hotel.
7. Display the Full Value of Your Storage Space
Remove all unnecessary articles from your closets. Now is the time to purge and start packing for your move. Neatly stacked boxes look much better than cluttered shelves and floors.
8. Pay Attention to Details
Repair or replace loose door knobs, knobs on cabinet drawers, weather stripping, dirty air filters, loose wallpaper seams and other minor flaws. If you have windows or doors that stick – get them repaired. Invest in a new front door knob and lock set. Invest in a new set of street numbers for the house. Get the mailbox painted and new numbers too. If you have tolerated a slow drain, or a light switch that doesn’t work…tolerate them no longer. Get them fixed. They will certainly come up in an inspection. Don’t wait for the buyer to request repairs. Get them fixed now. If you still have 1980’s or 1990’s vintage gold door knobs, replace them with the popular Oil Rubbed Bronze or Nickel-plated knobs available now in most home improvement stores. You’ll be surprised how easily this will make your home look up-to-date and new. Remember First Impressions!
9. Let the Sun Shine In
Clean all your windows until they’re sparkling. Replace windows with broken seals. Open all your blinds and curtains. If natural day light leaves some rooms in your house look dark during certain hours during the day, turn on the lights if you know your home will be shown on that day. Make sure all lighting fixtures are clean, in good working condition and free of finger prints, cobb-webs.
10. Pets Underfoot
You will have visitors who love pets and visitors who don’t love pets. You’ll have visitors who have allergies and as soon as they enter the front door they’ll have a reaction. I’ve seen it happen more often than I care to remember. Some buyers are pet sensitive. Keeping pets out of the way, preferably out of the house when it is being shown is the best advice. If they haven’t had a bath for several weeks, get your pet groomed and bathed. At the same time clean their bedding, etc. This should help to reduce odors. But, I can’t stress enough, pay special attention to pet odors. Removing pet beds, towels, bowls and toys will reduce pet odor and buyer rejection.
Remember that everyone has their own style. You’re not trying to impress them with your particular brand of décor. Rather, you’re trying to present a simple, clean, attractive home that exudes potential – an empty, yet enticing palette for your homes next owners.
Whether you’re considering the possibility of selling your home within the next three months or a year or more from now, you might like a copy of my new book entitled Home Improvements that Improve Values. Click the link to receive your FREE copy.