SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
The goal is for your home to sell quickly and at the price you want, so before you put your house on the market, review this checklist to get prepared. Some of these tips are surprisingly easy, while others might require a bit more effort – but they will all pay off.
First Impression. Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. Paint or give the door a good cleaning, clear debris and clutter from the walkway, mow the lawn and prune hedges. A pot full of colorful annuals can provide good street-appeal. Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof tiles, shingles and outdoor lighting, and replace your doormat. All of these little touches will make a good first impression on buyers.
Start packing and declutter. Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Pack up things you don't use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering your house also gives you a head start on your move.
- Front Entry: The entrance to your home is one of the first areas to make an impression. Sort through coats, accessories and shoes that are usually kept here and let go of any you no longer need or want. Consider keeping seasonal coats in vacuum pack bags and seasonal shoes in storage boxes under beds.
- Living Room/Family Room: The living space needs to look welcoming – prospective buyers need to imagine themselves unwinding there – but it needs to feel spacious, too. If there is any excess furniture, get rid of it. Pack away extra toys and plan for where you can quickly tuck away dog leads, toys, and beds - they make any room look cluttered and untidy and , of course, they carry their own scent.
- Kitchen: The kitchen is the biggest influencer on prospective buyers, so working hard to declutter yours is important, particularly if you keep a lot of kitchen gadgets and appliances on your countertops. Buyers will want to know there is good storage space so sort through pots, pans and utensils and get rid of duplicates. In the event someone opens your refrigerator, make sure it appears clean and orderly. Remove fridge magnets, photos, or anything else you have on your fridge. Declutter windowsills if you have a lot of plants or ornaments - this will make a huge difference to the feel of this space.
- Bedrooms: You can bet that buyers are going to open closets to see how much space there is inside so declutter and tidy to make a good impression. If shelves and hangers are bursting, it will give the idea there is not enough space. Pack or store anything that is out of season or not immediately needed.
- Bathrooms: You want to present the image that your bathroom is effortlessly easy to keep clean; a counter or bath/shower lined with half-used bottles and containers isn’t creating that image.
- Home Office: Whether yours is a dedicated room or a desk in the corner of a living space, keeping it neat is a must during viewings. If you have piles of paperwork and feel stressed by them, then that is how a prospective buyer is going to feel seeing them as well.
- The Yard/Garden: It often gets forgotten but is equally important. Remove dead leaves and branches, broken garden furniture and/or toys.
- Garage: And yes, buyers definitely look in the garage. A messy garage stuffed with all your unwanted things can make it look smaller than it is. You will have to clear out the garage at some point before moving out, so do it before viewings commence – it will pay off.
Make Minor Repairs. Patch any holes in the walls, fix leaky faucets or doors that don’t close properly, and replace burned-out light bulbs. Consider painting walls a neutral color, especially if they're currently an unconventional color.
Make it sparkle. Cleanliness implies a home has been well taken care of, so deep cleaning can win points with buyers. Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors.
The Final Step. Stand in the doorway of each room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer. Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. The night before a showing, avoid cooking particularly odorous foods such as fish, garlic or cabbage. These smells can linger the day after. Also, if you have pets, monitor litter boxes or any other areas affected by pets.