1. The Outside Matters.
Take a critical eye to the outside of your house. Landscaping is great, but not everyone can afford to do it, so, at a minimum, lawns should be neatly mowed, leaves raked and the snow shoveled (depending on the season). You should also consider sprucing up the entry with a hanging flower basket or potted plant. Make sure that the porch, deck and walk ways are free of dirt and debris; sweep them often to keep them looking nice. If you can’t afford to repaint, at least wash the front door, steps railings and porch. It will make a big difference.
2. Clutter Kills!
Closets and rooms that are stuffed to the brim with clutter make a house seem small and that storage is limited or an issue. Go through one closet or room at a time, to make the task seem less unmanageable. Be critical when going through your stuff and ask yourself if you REALLY need it and why you are keeping it. Don’t save anything for that garage sale that you never end up having. Why not give the stuff to your favorite charity, to people that might really need it? You may have to repeat this process on the same closets or rooms a couple of times until you have edited down to the essentials. If they still look cluttered or cramped, rent a storage unit to hold the excess stuff until you move. You may think your house looks bare or empty, just remember, you’re trying to sell your house, not the stuff that’s in it.
3. Think about selling your excess stuff.
Do you have a year’s supply of toilet paper? Or three years worth of light bulbs? Enough canned goods for the next ten years? Consider returning those items to the store where you bought them. You probably won’t get cash (unless you have a receipt), but you will have a store credit to repurchase those items once you move. You do this and you will have less clutter, less to pack, move and unpack.
4. What do you see first?
It’s the little things that can make a home seem in worse condition than it actually is. Walk into each room, along each hallway and see where your eye is drawn. Is it the chipped white paint on the molding, use ‘white out’ or some extra paint and touch it up. If there are nail holes in the walls, fill them in. Repair or cover peeling wall paper. The goal is to have the eye attracted to something more pleasant to look at then the gouge in the door.
5. Hire a handyman.
Just because you don’t mind the squeaky doors, dripping faucets or broken window latch doesn’t mean that your buyer won’t mind. Go around the house and determine which small honey-do’s (that never got done) are going to be noticeable and distracting to a prospective buyer and get them fixed.
6. Cleanliness is next to……
Most of us have neither the time, nor the inclination, to live in a consistently spotless house. A really clean house, however, is worth the effort, especially if you want to sell your home for top dollar. It will also put buyers at ease because it gives the impression that the house is well cared for. Attention to detail is really the key. Hire a professional cleaning service to do an initial thorough cleaning and then spend 15-30 minutes daily maintaining it.
Here is a list of the items that you want to look out for:
7. Ventilation is key.
A house that has an odor is an immediate turn off to a potential buyer. Don’t use sprays, candles or air fresheners that have a strong scent, as a buyer will wonder what you are trying to cover up. Instead, open the windows (weather permitting) and allow some fresh air into the house. Just because you love Buddy the Golden Retriever doesn’t mean your house needs to smell like him!
8. Lighter is better.
Light creates space (even the illusion of it) so make sure that every room in the house feels and looks as light and bright as possible. Consider floor lamps to create more light in a room that is particularly dark. If you’ve painted a room with a really dark color, you should consider repainting. You may like the dark, moody feeling you’ve created, but many potential buyers may be turned off by it.
9. Who doesn’t like flowers?
Flowers don’t have to be a huge, expensive bouquet to have an impact. A small bud vase with a single flower can brighten up a bathroom vanity. Find out which flowers last about a week so you can get the most out of your purchase. Also consider a flowering plant that is in season. They make a great center piece on an empty dining room or entry table. Avoid using fake or plastic plants, especially in an expensive home. They get dusty and look cheap!!
10. Background music is important.
Setting a mood (or drowning out the road noise) with music is great way to create a soothing environment. Think about the buyer that you are trying to sell the home to and chose a station or cd accordingly. Make sure the volume is fairly low; the music should just be background and not the focus.