Preparing Your Home
I have compiled this list of helpful tips to get your house ready for sale. Whether you hire a handy man or do it yourself, these tips can help to sell your house quickly at the highest price available. Take a little time to read over this list and see if your house needs a little work before prospective buyers come to view it. If you would like someone to help you, don't hesitate to me.
First Impressions... The Exterior of Your House
Did you know that a first impression can actually make or break the sale? It is important to make sure that the first impression is a good one. Following are some helpful pointers to give the exterior of your property “curb appeal”.
- Make sure that the sidewalk and front walkway is swept and free of weeds. Repair any broken or cracked areas of the walkway. Remove any debris and make sure that there are no obstacles to your house.
- Cut the grass and trim the shrubs. Flowers can really make your home look cheery. If you don't have flower beds then place a few potted flowers out front. In the fall, rake the yard free of leaves. Hoses should be coiled up and out of the way.
- A freshly painted white fence can really freshen the entire landscape. Don't forget to check the gate. It should easily open and close, and hang properly on its hinges.
- Make sure that your mailbox is in good repair. A quick painting can really improve the look. Street numbers should be added to make your house easy to locate.
- Fresh paint on the house is ideal, but if you don’t want to spend the extra money, make sure that the exterior is clean and free of dirt. You might consider a fresh coat of paint on the trim and shutters.
- If you have a porch, make sure the corners are swept free of cobwebs. Sweep the flooring and clean out any light fixtures.
- Clean the windows to make them shine on the inside and out. Check your screens and make sure that they are clean and in good repair.
- The doorway should be freshly painted or at least cleaned. Make sure that the doorbell works. Clean out the light fixtures and replace any bulbs that may be out.
- Check your gutters and downspouts. You might consider replacing any that are in disrepair, especially those in the front of the house or other highly visible areas.
- The roof can be one of the most important aspects of the exterior. Replace any broken or missing shingles. Remove leaves and branches from top and paint the trim. If the roof is old and needs to be replaced, consider having the work done before showing the property.
- Don't forget about the driveway and garage. Both should be well swept and free of clutter. Hang any items that you can on the wall. Other items should be on shelves. You might want to have a garage sale to clear out excess items.
Inside Your House
Now that you've taken care of the outside of the house, its time to start working on the inside. There are a lot of little things that can be done to improve the inside. Most are relatively inexpensive and can be done on a couple of weekends. Your goal is to create an atmosphere that suggests a clean, bright, spacious home. Eliminating clutter can really show your home at its best. Follow these simple points to success.
Have the carpets professionally cleaned (this applies to the entire house). If you have hardwood floors, you might want to give them a fresh coat of polyurethane. You might consider a fresh coat of paint on the walls; it can improve the look and give the room a smell of newness. Choose colors that are neutral and light. Clean the windows and drapes. Arrange furniture to create clear pathways. If you have a fireplace, make sure that it is well swept. Clean any light fixtures and replace any broken outlet covers. Any plaster cracks should be repaired. Flowers and plants can enhance the appearance room.
The entire kitchen should look clean and fresh. To give your kitchen a "new" look, you might want to give it a fresh paint job. Clean out the cabinets and organize them to show off your space. Check your cabinet doors. If they're painted, you might want to give them a fresh coat of paint or maybe some new knobs. Make sure that all appliances are clean and in working order. Get rid of or pack away small kitchen appliances and items that are not in use to create an uncluttered look. Replace the burner reflectors / drip trays. These cost very little money and really make the oven sparkle. If you have notice of a prospective buyer's visit, you might want to do a quick walk thru and buff any stainless steel fixtures with a dry cloth. This will make you sinks shine.
Make sure that the entire bathroom is sparkling clean and well lit. Missing or cracked tiles should be replaced. Dripping faucets should be fixed. Keep personal items out of sight. Fresh flowers can add a sweet smell to the air.
The bedrooms should be clean and bright. Clean the windows and open the drapes. Remove any excess clutter. Personal items should be out of site. Large closets can be a big plus in a bedroom. Make sure that you organize yours to increase the perception of space. Once again, look at your walls and see if a paint job might improve the appearance.
All carpets in the house should be professionally cleaned. Check your heating and cooling vents for dust and dirt. If you can't get them clean with a light dusting, then remove them and take them outside for a thorough scrub down. Check corners at the ceiling and floorboards for dust. Make sure that there are no signs of pest infestation anywhere in the house. If pests are a problem, call in an exterminator to take care of the problem before showing your house. Replace any broken outlet covers and clean out light fixtures. Get someone you know to come in as a "Buyer" and let them tell you their perceptions. They will be able to notice things that you've missed.
There are a few extras that you can do to make your house appeal to the prospective buyer. Most cost very little and some may even sound a little silly, but they have proven to be effective selling tools.
- Let the Sunshine in... Dark houses can be oppressive and are not inviting. Do everything that you can to ensure a bright sunny environment. Make sure that your house is well lit. Windows should be clean. Curtains and shades should be open to allow for the most sunlight. Replace any light bulbs that are out or at an inadequate wattage. If its cold out and you have a fireplace, a fire can really make your house cozy. Try to keep the colors of your rooms light and neutral.
- The Scents of a Successful Sale. An unpleasant odor can really leave a bad impression. Fill your house with pleasant aromas. It might seem a little silly, but a pan of vanilla or cinnamon and water placed in a warm oven can create the homey illusion of baking cookies. For a smelly garbage disposal, try placing grinding up some lemon peels. In the bathroom, clean thoroughly with bleach or lemon scented products. Potpourri placed about the house to fill the house with light scents. Make sure that nothing is too over-powering. If you smoke, you might consider refraining from smoking indoors and giving the entire house a fresh coat of paint or have it professionally deodorized. If you have a litter box in the house, you may want to take it and the cat outside for the day.
- Fill Your Home With Pleasant Sounds. Light classical or instrumental music at a low volume can create an enjoyable atmosphere and help to drown out any sounds from the street. Avoid any disturbing sounds like dishwashers or lawn mowers. Children and pets are adorable, but remember that they can be a distraction from your house. Don't undervalue the sounds of peace and quiet.
- Let them see the home not you! Prospective buyers do not want to be a bother. Try to be away from the home when the property is shown. If you are home when the salesperson comes to show, please allow the agent to take the potential buyer through your home. Graciously retire to the back yard or to another part of the house. If the prospect feels watched or intrusive, he will hurry through.
If your house is currently vacant, you should make arrangements to have someone mow the lawn and check over the house on a regular basis.