A home that shows well is far easier to market and can certainly command a premium.
A little well placed attention can work wonders for the overall appearance of a property, with the smallest of cosmetic touches making world of difference.
Most buyers will be prepared to overlook any minor issues if the home is at least presentable. It will also give them more of an opportunity to picture its true potential if they are not faced with a ton of clutter and several screaming children!
Keep it clean.
Keep it simple.
Here are some suggestions that have worked for our previous sellers and may assist you.
MENTAL PREPARATION / "Make your home ‘anonymous"
When you visit a model home you will notice that the wonderfully (and sparsely) furnished home could be suitable for anyone – with the emphasis on “anyone”. The reason being, you want any prospect to view your property as their potential home.
Put away family photo’s, trophies, collectibles and souvenirs. Take away your ‘brand’ on the home, and pave the way for new owners.
Keep the property’s “personality”, just not the person.
"YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION"
Improve the curb appeal
Take a walk across the street and take a good look at your home, taking into account other homes nearby. How does it compare? If tired and faded then a coat of paint will work wonders and can add $ to any offers.
Landscaping should be neat and attractive. Your lawn should be evenly cut, freshly edged, well watered, and free of brown spots. If there are problems with your lawn, you should probably take care of them before working on the inside of your home. Certain areas may need to be re-sod and will need a chance to grow so as not to be immediately apparent. Always rake up loose leaves and grass cuttings
The front door should be especially sharp. It is the entryway to the property. Make sure it is clean and free from smudging, with any door fixtures nicely polished. If you have a cute little plaque your family name on it, remove it. Even if it’s just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move. Get a plush new door mat, too. This is something else you can take with you once you move.
Many cars? Arrange them in an orderly fashion, or better still, move them until after the showing. You want to show as much space as possible.
TRY TO MAKE IT A "MODEL HOME"
De-clutter the house!
This is the hardest thing for many. Years of living within the same home breeds inevitable attachment. Clutter collects in a way that may not be evident to the owner(s). It does however affect the way a buyer views a home. In fact, this is probably one of the most important tips of all.
You want as much clear space as practically livable. Try to pretend you are the buyer, or better still employ a friend to help point out any areas that may not be apparent to you. Your agent will also be a perfect choice in this task.
Furniture: Many households have simply too much furniture in certain rooms. Not too much for personal use, but when it comes to showing and giving the illusion of space, the more minimal the better. A great way to get an idea of this is to visit a model home so you can get an idea of exactly what can stay, and more importantly what needs to go.
Kitchen: One of the most important rooms in the house, and certainly one of the most scrutinized. Put small appliances out of sight. Cereal boxes, refrigerator ‘artwork’, calendars or cork boards all need to go. Counter tops should be thoroughly cleaned and sinks/taps bright and sparkly. Also check the condition of the grouting on tiled surfaces. If it can’t be cleaned, then consider re-grouting. The same is to be said for the bathrooms. Again, clean and fresh with any dripping faucets or old fixtures cleaned or replaced.
One trick is to hire a cleaning crew to go through and clean your home on a one-time basis. They seem to be wonderful at making difficult stains disappear.
Ceilings, Walls and Painting: Check all the ceilings for water stains, whether due to plumbing or a faulty roof, find the leak and fix it. Oh and make sure a proper job is done. Nothing will irritate a buyer more than finding out post-sale that the plumbing or roof leaks. They will be on the phone to a lawyer faster than you can say ‘lawsuit’. It is the seller’s responsibility to disclose. If a water stain is left after something you have already repaired, make sure it’s given a coat of paint. You may need to re-paint the entire room to disguise the fresh paint, but this will only be a good thing. Painting makes a home look fresh and new on the inside and never fails to impress. Painting can be without doubt your best investment when selling your home. It is not a very expensive operation and can often be done by yourself. Choose neutral colors as they have universal appeal and can help to create the illusion of space.
Carpet and Flooring: Unless your carpet appears old and worn, or it is definitely an outdated style or color, you probably should do nothing more than hire a good carpet cleaner. If you do choose to replace it, do so with something inexpensive and again, in a fairly neutral color. Repair or replace broken floor tiles, but above all do not spend a lot of money on anything. Remember, you are not fixing up the place for yourself. Your ultimate goal is to make your home as presentable as possible, for the least amount of cost.
Back Yard: The back yard should be tidy. If you have a pool or spa, keep it freshly maintained and cleaned. For those that have dogs, be sure to constantly keep the area clear of “debris.” If you have swing sets or anything elaborate for your kids, it probably makes more sense to remove them than to leave them in place. They take up room, and you want your back yard to appear as spacious as possible, especially in newer homes where the yards are not as large.
As clean and bright as possible
Open any blinds, drapes or shades to let in as much natural light as possible. A bright and airy room again gives the illusion of additional space.
Turn on as many lights as possible, especially in any dark areas such as the hallways and the bathrooms.
Make sure the room temperature is at a comfortable level.
Leave all doors of all interior rooms open.
Everything should be neat, clean and tidy. All beds made, dishes, pots and pans cleared away.
Open windows to air out the house of any unwanted odors if any. Scented candles or potpourri are much more effective after.
TV should be switched off and any other peripheral noise should be kept to a minimum (now is a great time to give a dollar to the children for candy!) Soft, low level music is always a winner in our experience.
Lastly but definitely not least, you, the seller, should consider taking a casual walk or running an errand. Buyers are generally much more comfortable without the presence of the seller and it certainly allows them a chance to get a true ‘feel’ for the property.