Get it Spic n' Span Clean and Fix Everything You Can, Even If It Seems Insignificant
Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair squeaks, the light switch that doesn't work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these can be deal-killers and you'll never know what turns buyers off. Remember, you're not just competing with other resale homes, but brand-new ones as well.
Make the Most of that First Impression
- Keep the lawn trimmed and edged. Weed and cultivate flower gardens. Trim shrubs and eliminate dead trees or branches. Pick up any debris, toys and lawn equipment.
- Repair any fences and gates. Give them a fresh coat of paint, if necessary.
- Is the exterior wall painted, the roof in good repair, as well as gutters and downspouts?
- Wash down driveways and sidewalks.
- Replace any cracked windows and torn screens.
- The entrance should be clean and in good repair. The doorbell must be in working condition. Wash down the mailbox and sweep the porch.
Make Your Home Sparkle and Shine
- Walls should be clean and free of smudges, fingerprints and dents. Consider a fresh coat of paint if a good washing doesn't do the trick. Inspect woodwork and wallpaper for problem areas.
- Arrange furniture to make each room appear more spacious and attractive. If a piece of furniture is badly worn, store it temporarily in the attic or at your neighbor's house.
- Wash windows and sills until sparkling clean. Curtains and drapes should be freshly laundered.
- Shampoo rugs and carpets. Floors should be waxed.
- Repair loose doorknobs, sticking doors and windows, and warped drawers.
- Fix leaky faucets and eliminate water discoloration in sinks.
- Tighten loose stair banisters and be sure steps are free of objects.
- Light fixtures should be in good repair. Replace discolored or cracked switch plates.
- Clean out closets to display their roominess. Be sure clothes are hung neatly and shoes and other objects tidily arranged.
- Bathrooms should be sparkling clean. Repair the caulking in tubs and showers. If necessary, replace shower curtain and set out your best towels.
- Bedrooms should appear neat with attractive spreads and curtains.
- Clean and organize the basement, attic and garage.
- Kitchen should be clean and dishes put away. Make sure the garbage is taken out.
- Clear the fireplace of ashes.
Allow Prospective Buyers to Visualize Themselves in Your Home
The last thing you want prospective buyers to feel when viewing your home is that they may be intruding into someone's life. Avoid clutter such as too many knick-knacks, etc. Decorate in neutral colors, like white or beige and place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. You can enhance the attractiveness of your home with a well-placed vase of flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home -decor magazines are great for tips.
Before each showing...
Pick Up Every Room
Check counters, floors, halls and stairs. Straighten up or remove newspapers, magazines, mail, toys, clothing, recreation gear, glasses and dishes.
Turn On All Lights
Even those in closets and storage rooms. Electric lights have an amazing capability for creating an illusion of lightness, airiness and largeness.
Open All Drapes, Shades and Blinds
Do all that you can to create a bright and light ambiance.
Make up the beds, neatly and attractively, early in the morning. This is a job you don't want to have to do when you learn that the buyers will be there within the hour.
Keep air fresheners in closets, bathrooms and kitchen. Be especially careful to keep kitchen odors fresh. Coffee brewing or a cinnamon coffee cake baking in the oven can have a lasting, inviting effect.
Television and Radio Off
The television and radio should be turned off. Let the agent and the buyer talk, free of disturbances.
During the right time of year, a cozy fire may be just the right touch that does the trick.
If the weather is warm and sultry, have your air conditioning operating.
It is the first and last impression that your buyers will have of your home. Make it a good one. Check it regularly for sharpness.
Deal Killer Odors - Must Go!
You may not realize but odd smells like traces of food, pets and smoking odors can kill deals quickly. If prospective buyers know you have a dog, or that you smoke, they'll start being aware of odors and seeing stains that may not even exist. Don't leave any clues.
Invite the Honest Opinions of Others
The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don't be shy about seeking the honest opinions of others. You need to be objective about your home's good points as well as bad. Fortunately, your Realtor ® will be unabashed about discussing what should be done to make your home more marketable.
Be a Smart Seller - Disclose Everything
Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent law suits later on.