…to help sell faster
…and bring the best price
People usually decide within two minutes whether or not they like your house. The first impression is often the lasting impression. And they start forming their opinion before they even walk in the front door.
So it is smart to ask yourself if your house is as presentable as it can be for a faster sale at the best price. The best way to find out is to imagine you’re a prospective buyer.
You’ve probably been looking at other homes, so approach your present home the way you look at other houses. Get into your car and drive up to your home the way a prospective buyer would. How does it look from down the street? From the curb? Is the lawn nicely manicured? Shrubbery trimmed?
Step inside. Is the living room cluttered? Tiles loose or missing in the kitchen or bathroom? Closets and cabinets neat and orderly? Cracks or water damage spots on the walls or ceilings? Are the rooms dark, or well lit? Just remember what your own reactions are when you see such things as you inspect other homes.
If you want to be a seller….think like a buyer!
Your real estate representative will do all of the things necessary to bring in the prospects—advertise, hold open house, attract people through professional signage, qualify seekers, separate the buyers from the curiosity peekers, guide you in setting a good, realistic price, show off your home to the best advantage, and smooth out the rough spots of negotiations. But when it comes down to the nub of it, your house is going to have to help sell itself.
Here are 51 time-tested tips that will make your home more presentable. A good rule to follow is to do cosmetic things which will improve your chances of selling, but avoid making major changes unless they will increase the value of your home more than the cost of the improvements.
Clean up, fix up, paint up!
1. Invest in landscaping where it can be seen at first sight. A well-manicured lawn, neatly clipped shrubbery, cleanly swept walks create a good first impression.
2. An extra shot of fertilizer, in season, will make your grass look lush and green.
3. Cut back over-grown shrubbery that looks scraggly or keeps light out of the house.
4. Paint your house if necessary. This can probably do more for sales appeal than any other factor. If you decide against painting, at least consider painting front shutters and window frames.
5. Walkways and sidewalks should be free of toys, bicycles etc.
6. Inspect the roof and gutters. Any missing shingles to replace? Gutters and down spouts in place? Need paint or repair?
7. Consider putting flowers outside the front door.
8. Repaint the front door.
9. Put a bright coat of paint on your mailbox.
10. Repair broken outdoor steps.
11. The kitchen is the most important room in the house. Make it bright and attractive. If dull, paint cabinets, put up perky new curtains.
12. Clean the ventilating hood in the kitchen.
13. If the kitchen floor is badly worn, put down new flooring. If a single tile is loose, apply heat to the tile with an iron covered with a soft cloth, to soften the adhesive—then replace the tile.
14. Remove any appliances that you keep on your counters, like a toaster, coffee-maker, can opener. Clean counters make the room look larger.
15. Repair dripping faucets in bathroom.
16. Keep fresh towels in the bathroom.
17. Use special cleaning products to remove stains from toilets, bathtubs and sinks.
18. If sink and bathtub drain too slowly, unclog them.
19. Have all plaster in top shape. Cracks (or nail-pops, visible seams in dry walls) are easy to fix.
20. Check ceilings for leak stains. Fix the cause of the damage, repair the ceiling and repaint.
21. In painting and re-decorating, avoid off-beat colors—stick to conventional white outside and easy-to-work-with pastels inside.
22. Faded curtains or bedspread can be dyed bright colors.
23. If you have a fireplace, clean it out and lay some logs in it to make it look inviting.
24. Wash windows.
25. Replace broken glass.
26. Mend torn screens.
27. Check to see that all windows will open and close.
28. Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use brighter light bulbs.
29. Be sure every light switch works.
30. Make the floors shine. Clean and polish them. And nail down any creaking boards or stair treads (drive two long finishing nails at opposing angles through the floor and sub-floor into the joist).
31. Straighten up the closets and get rid of excess. Use room deodorant to eliminate musty odors. Lubricate any sticky or squeaking doors.
32. For doors that stick slightly, rub a block of paraffin or candle wax against the surface that shows signs of wear.
33. For sliding doors that stick in their tracks, rub the tracks with paraffin or candle wax.
34. Clean out attic, basement and garage and dispose of everything you are not going to move. And package everything you are not going to move. And package everything you won’t need until you’re settled in your new home.
35. Make sure there is plenty of light on the stairs to the basement.
36. If you basement is dark and gloomy, paint ceilings and walls a light color.
37. Repair cracks in the basement floor with ready-mixed concrete.
38. Keep room draperies and shades open to let in light, and make rooms appear larger.
39. Have your home well-lighted during showing.
40. At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.
41. Neatness makes a room look bigger. Avoid clutter.
42. If possible, leave your furniture and rugs in the house for showing it.
43. Avoid having dirty dishes in the sink or on counters.
44. Keep any toys in the children’s room. Bikes, wagons and skateboards should not be out in front, but made as inconspicuous as possible.
45. Keep radio, stereo, TV off or turned way down.
46. Take your family away if your broker is holding an open house.
47. Children should be quiet.
48. Refer direct inquiries you receive about seeing your house to your Realtor to take advantage of this professional’s skills in selling your home.
49. Don’t mention furniture or furnishing you wish to dispose of unless asked. Such discussion can kill the sale.
50. Take pets outdoors when your house is being shown.
51. Let the real estate expert show your house, and don’t tag along. Answer questions candidly when asked, but don’t gush answers to unasked question.
Hang on to all evidence of the purchase costs of your home, home improvements, property-improving assessments not claimed as deductions earlier, selling costs, fix-up costs, for possible tax savings.