Preparing Your Home For Sale
The first step in preparing a home for sale is to remove all the clutter.
Regardless of how neat you think you are, it's almost a certainty
that you have an accumulation of items that will detract from your
home's appearance. Make a room-by-room inspection and take notes.
Remove most personal items, photos, plaques, awards, trophies, and
such that you have accumulated. Prospective buyers are not interested
that you won the state bowling championship, and they're not interested
in your vacation or wedding photos. You want them to picture living
in your home; they won't if it's packed with lots of personal articles.
The idea is to give the impression of spaciousness and light. Buyers
are turned off by dark, dismal looking homes. Remove excess furniture.
You want prospects to visualize where they would place their stuff.
If you have so much furniture that it's difficult to easily walk through
a room, you have too much.
Accentuate the positive. Try to draw attention to your home's best
points, and make sure the rooms feel open and spacious. If the best
feature happens to be outdoors, then, make certain it's visible from
every vantage point possible. Keep blinds, curtains, and shutters
open, and remove any obstacles to the view.
Make every room spotlessly clean. If that means having a professional
come in and do the carpet, drapes, and furniture, then do it. The
price you'll pay is small if it helps your home to sell more quickly,
and sparkling clean homes will always appeal to the greatest number
of buyers. Your house also has unique odors, sometimes objectionable,
that only strangers detect. Ask an unbiased friend to give an opinion,
and be sure to confirm this with real estate agents once you begin
the interview process. Pets need to go, if at all possible, regardless
of how well-behaved they may be. With allergies, phobias, odors, etc.,
you'll turn off some buyers if pets are left in the house. If animals
must stay, farm them out when the house is to be shown, and better,
until it's sold. Clean the windows, inside and out. Dirty windows
can make an otherwise great house appear old and tired. Remember you're
going for maximum emotional appeal.
Check out the kitchen. Is the counter obscured by a microwave, coffee
maker, blender, food processor, toaster, and the like? Get rid of
most, if not all, of them. Put them out only when they are in use,
and then put them away. Once again cleanliness is king. Polish sinks,
counters, and appliances. Scrub or polish the floor.
Touch-up or repaint walls and update colors if necessary. Repaint
any room that doesn't appear bright and fresh. The kid's bedroom walls
that once looked cute covered with their drawings will not appeal
to buyers, regardless of how attached you are to your offspring's
While some exterior work can be expensive, it is imperative that the
exterior of the home be appealing. Drive down the street and make
a mental note of how your home compares to those of your neighbors.
When you return, pause in front of your house. Does it look inviting?
Is the lawn nice and green (in season, of course) and neatly trimmed
or is it sparse and weedy? Have shrubs and trees grown so much they
obscure the house/cover windows? Are the gutters and roof in good
condition and free of debris? It may be helpful to ask a friend or
neighbor for their "honest" opinion. Sometimes it's difficult
for us to be objective and to see what a fresh pair of eyes may see.
Is the drive or walkway stained, flaking, or have serious cracks?
While replacing a drive is an expensive and messy ordeal, in a few
cases it might be necessary. However, most of the time a good cleaning
with TSP and a power washer is all that is necessary to restore old
concrete and make it look as good as new. If your concrete has numerous
small cracks they can be filled with special filler available at home
Finally, consider hiring a home inspector to do a pre-inspection.
You want to correct as much as possible prior to a buyer's inspection.
Those owners who deal with the minor issues prior to listing, add
appeal to their homes, and if major repairs are needed, it's best
to know it early. Click on the section, Must
Do Repairs Prior to Sale, for further help.