Preparing your home to sell will not only give your home a competitive edge but most importantly will keep potential buyers focused on your home, its location, floor plan and amenities and not focused on your personal clutter and belongings. In today’s market of short sale and foreclosure properties, a well kept home is a sold home and a welcome deviation from the current norm.
- Remove clutter and clear off counters. Remove stacks of newspapers and magazines. Put away family pictures and small decorative items. If you have excess furniture that makes a room feel small and cramped, put it in storage. Clean and organize all closets. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.
- Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.
- Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers.
- Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Light a candle or bake cookies prior to showing your home.
- Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs. Brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.
- Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
- Curb Appeal. Cut the grass, trim bushes and trees, and add new granite. For added appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.
- Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.
- Set the scene. Turn on lights and open blinds and shutters. Set the table or island with nice dishes and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there.
- Make the bathrooms, especially the Master Bath, feel luxurious. Put away your toothbrush and personal toiletry items. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps.
- Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room. They are a distraction and some buyers may be wary or afraid of animals.
- Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during a showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.