Helpful Tips For Preparing Your Home For a Quick Sale
If two houses look nearly identical, the cleaner house with better curb
appeal will sell faster and for more money. This may seem like a no-brainer,
but sometimes it is hard to look objectively at your own house.
Let's Talk about Curb Appeal
From the eyes of a prospective buyer, curb appeal is the first thing
they notice about your house. Is the lawn mowed? Children's toys scattered
about? Paint chipping off the house? Can you even see your house behind
overgrown trees and shrubs?
Stand outside of your house and try to look at it as though you've never
seen it. What do you see?
- Pick up any litter, toys, fallen leaves or lawn debris. Put away hoses
and move garbage cans to the rear of the house or behind fencing so
it is not one of the first things a prospective buyer will see.
- Keep the lawn mowed and the garden areas weeded and watered. Cheery
blooming flowers or shrubs create a welcoming first impression.
- Clean the front entry, driveway and walkways.
- Repaint if paint is peeling off of the house or the trim. Select neutral
tones that work with the house and the neighborhood.
- Check your doorbell and porch lights to make sure both are working.
Sometimes opportunities ring.
- Cut back overgrown trees and shrubbery. Try a nice balance of well
pruned, healthy trees and shrubs that compliment your house, and not
- If you are concerned about your roof have a professional come out
and take a look at it. These are very costly to repair, and if there
is damage it will likely come out in the inspection.
Get Rid of Your Clutter
While it is true you are still living in your house until it sells, it
is very difficult for prospective buyers to visualize their stuff in your
home if all they see are pictures of your family, your collections and
knicknacks, and furniture that might not be in their style. Since you
are planning to move, why not pack some of it up and save yourself some
time down the road? Be sure to use sturdy boxes and containers. Pack carefully
so you don't damage fragile items, and label the boxes with a permanent
marker stating which room the box will go to, what is inside, and if it
Where do I start?
Kitchens are a good place to start. Eliminate the counter top clutter.
It gives the room a cleaner, fresher look and opens the space up. Make
sure the garabge is hauled out regularly and pleasant smells like tea,
spices, citrus or fresh baked cookies create a welcoming atmosphere.
Move on to the Garage next. Most garages become the holding area for
stuff and eventually get to a point where you can't drive a car into it.
Go through the boxes, throw away or donate anything you aren't using anymore,
restack the boxes in a neat fashion, and organize tools either in tool
boxes, or an organizational setup.
Now that you have the hang of it, go through your Home Office, Living
Room and Bedrooms. Recycle any old newspapers or magazines, box up extra
linens, and keep these rooms dusted, vacuumed and clean.
Dirt, Grime and Odors ARE Your Enemies
Windows should be washed inside and out, Carpets cleaned, vinyl, ceramic
tile or hardwoods should be cleaned and waxed/polished.
should be kept clean and smelling fresh. The fixtures should
be shiny, and the wastebaskets emptied regularly.
countertops, range top and other surfaces should be free of clutter
and wiped clean. The oven, refrigerator and freezer should be cleaned
thoroughly and not give off smelly odors when opened.
What are some bad smells that I should be aware of and clean up?
Pet odors, urine, dirty diapers, dirty socks/gym locker, cigarettes
or cigars, spoiled food, moldy or musty odors, or car exhaust.
Ok, so what are some good aromas that I should keep in my house?
Citrus, baking aromas (fresh cookies anyone?), scented soaps and candles,
fresh air, fresh flowers and greenery, and fresh linen aromas. Potpourri
is cautioned here. While it can be nice, often times it is overpowering
and can make people feel queasy, lightheaded, or sneezy.
Good news! Someone wants to see your house! Bad news, you only
have 15 minutes to get ready.
- Turn on all the lights and open the curtains. This makes the inside
seem bright and inviting.
- Pick up any shoes, newspapers, or toys
- Wipe counter tops in the kitchen, and load the dishwasher.
- Make sure all toilets are flushed, tidy up the vanity, hang the towels
neatly and empty the wastebasket.
- Make sure the beds are all made. Encourage the entire family to help
with this task every day.
- IF there is time, vacuum/sweep/mop any areas that need it.
- Turn on some background music, soothing and low volume.
- Take children and pets for a walk or drive while the agent is showing
the house. Most buyers are uncomfortable with the sellers being in the
house and do not feel as open to discussing the property or potential
interest in it if the seller is sitting right there.