In preparing your house to sell, ask yourself over
and over if your house looks like someone else's dream house.
Houses in move-in condition tend to be inviting to buyers;
houses that are in like-new condition typically sell fastest and
procures the best price because it outshine the competition.
Often sellers have organized their homes to express themselves -
their travels, collections, interests, favorite colors and
unique tastes. However, when selling a home, the goal is just
the opposite. It is to create a clean, simple background that
many different buyers would like to move into. Warm, clean,
simple, spacious, well lighted, neutral - and uncluttered - this
is the look you want to achieve. With that in mind, here are a
few things to consider as you look over your house when getting
ready to sell:
Remember the sixty-second rule: that's all the time you have to
create a good first impression! Mow the lawn, rake leaves, trim
trees and shrubs that keep light out of the house, and remove
dead plants. It will probably be easier to sell your house if
the buyer can see it, outside and in. Pick up tools, garbage
cans, hoses, toys, and building materials and store them neatly
in a storage area. Replace broken or missing roof shingles, and
straighten and clean the gutters and downspouts. Clean all
windows and mend torn screens. Dress up the front yard with some
simple landscaping. An evenly cut yard is pleasing to the eye.
Fertilize the grass a month or two ahead. Do not allow shrubs to
cover windows. They block light on the interior, and give an
appearance of crowding on the exterior. Coil hoses and place any
tools inside the garage. Too many flowerpots are distracting -
use a few large pots with healthy plants.
Clean, & Cleaner
Step back for a moment and look at your home as if you were
seeing it for the first time. Every room should be neat,
spotlessly clean, dusted, and uncluttered. Wash the walls,
windows, and light fixtures. Clean smudges around doorknobs and
on light switches. Tighten loose stair railings and clean all
woodwork. In the event that you feel a project of this magnitude
is better left to a professional, ask your real estate agent to
recommend a professional cleaning service. Having all carpets
professionally cleaned can work wonders for the interior.
- Your interior's first impression
Use bright light bulbs in the foyer and throughout the house.
Fill the house with a pleasant aroma, such as berries in the
summer or cinnamon in the winter, or some other fresh scent.
Invest in a brand new welcome mat. Stains, scratches and dirty
spots create distractions to the eye, and are a form of clutter.
Clean, paint, and eliminate as many of these as possible. .Pay
close attention to your front door. Is it dirty, darkened by
mildew, or in need of re-finishing? The foyer should be clear of
shoes, coats, or excess items on the walls.
Replace the carpet if it's old or worn. It costs money, but you
may find that you will more than recoup that cost when the home
sells. Patch cracks and nail holes in the walls, and repaint
walls in neutral colors, such as white or ivory. Nail down
creaking boards and stair treads. Lubricate any sticking or
squeaking doors. Open all curtains, and replace them if they are
getting old. Add lamps and lighting if the house is dark. Set
out fresh flowers. Too many personal collections and photographs
are distracting for buyers. Buyers must be able to imagine their
own family in the home. Large plants often take up too much
space. Allow only a few healthy plants in the house. Place books
so that the backs are even. Lay some books horizontally, and
leave open space for art objects. Leave on a few lamps for
Bedrooms should appear restful and serene. Sparsely
furnished is best. Use your best covers, or invest in new ones
if yours are worn. Clear off bedside tables, and add back just a
few books or nice items. Bedside lamps add a warm ambience for
showings. Remove excess paintings or photos from the walls.
In some cases, old curtains do more harm than good. Take
them down and clean the windows for a fresh look. Children's
bedrooms usually need to be simplified. Take down posters and
box up toys. Avoid an overcrowded look.
- Less is more
Rearrange or move furniture to make your rooms look more
spacious. Discard worn furniture and move extra furniture to a
storage unit. Remember, too much furniture and too many
knick-knacks make rooms look cluttered and small. One or two
decorative items per surface is plenty, so pack the rest away.
Visit model homes for decorating ideas.
These rooms should sparkle! Clear off counters, and clean all
appliances and fixtures. Scrub the floors and walls. Re-caulk
tubs and showers. Clean these rooms thoroughly, and be sure they
smell fresh! The kitchen is the heart of the home and plays an
important part in attracting the heart of a buyer. This is an
active area that usually needs special attention. Do not have
notes or photos on the refrigerator. Never leave trash
containers out in the kitchen or bathroom. Put items that you
use daily - toothbrushes, soaps, razors - in a container, and
place the container inside in a cabinet.
Take those things to Goodwill that you'll have to discard anyway
when you move. Organize shelves and straighten shoes. Be sure
that sliding doors operate smoothly on their tracks and knobs on
drawers are secure. Organize your pantry with everything facing
forward. Remove excess food and containers. Relieve your closets
if they are stuffed. Pack items that are not needed.
Dust and wash off lint from the washer and dryer. Dust and wash
off the water heater. The laundry room often functions as a
spill over room with junk on the shelves. Clear everything out,
and have just a few soap boxes visible.
10. Make the
home "Light and Bright"
Do everything you can to brighten the interior. Replace
wallpaper with white or off-white paint, and repaint shabby or
dark walls. Open the blinds, and replace broken windows and
window seals. Always maintain a comfortable temperature inside
the house, even if you are away for an extended period of time.