In preparing your house to sell, ask yourself over and over if your house looks like someone else’s dream house. Houses in move-in condition tend to be inviting to buyers; houses that are like new typically sell the fastest and procure the best price.
With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when getting ready to
Remember the 60-second rule: that’s all the time you have to create a good
first impression! Mow the lawn, rake leaves, trim trees and shrubs that keep
light out of the house and remove dead plants. Pick up tools, garbage cans,
hoses, toys, and building materials and store them neatly in a storage area.
Replace broken or missing roof shingles and straighten and clean the gutters
and downspouts. Clean all windows and mend torn screens. Painting your house
helps improve curb appeal more than any other fix-up! If you decide against
painting the entire house, consider painting the front door, window frames and
shutters. Seal or resurface the driveway and repair broken steps and walkways.
Paint or replace your mailbox and post. Dress up the front yard with some
Clean, Clean, Clean
Step back for a moment and look at your home as if you were seeing it for the
first time. Every room should be spotlessly clean, dusted and uncluttered.
Steam clean the carpets and wax the floors. Wash the walls, windows and light
fixtures. Tighten loose stair railings and clean all woodwork. In the event
that you feel a project of this magnitude is better left to a professional, ask
your real estate agent to recommend a cleaning service.
Use bright light bulbs in the foyer and throughout the house. Fill the house
with a pleasant aroma, such as berries in the summer or cinnamon in the winter.
Replace the carpet if it’s worn. It costs money, but you may find that you will
more than recoup that cost when the home sells. Patch cracks and nail holes in
the walls, and repaint walls in neutral colors, such as white or ivory. Nail
down creaking boards and stair treads. Lubricate any sticking or squeaking
doors. Open all curtains, and replace them if they are getting old. Add lamps
and lighting if the house is dark. Set out fresh flowers.
Rearrange or remove furniture to make your rooms look more spacious. Too much
furniture and too many knick-knacks make rooms look cluttered and small. One or
two decorative items per surface are plenty, so pack the rest away.
Kitchen and Baths
These rooms should sparkle! Clear off counters, and clean all appliances and
fixtures. Scrub the floors and walls. Re-caulk tubs and showers. Clean these
rooms thoroughly, and be sure they smell fresh.
Take those things to Goodwill that you’ll have to discard anyway when you move.
Organize shelves and straighten shoes. Be sure that sliding doors operate
smoothly and knobs on drawers are secure.
Dust and wash the washer, dryer and water heater.
Light and Bright
Do everything you can to brighten the interior. Replace wallpaper with white or
off-white paint, and repaint shabby or dark walls. Open the blinds, and replace
broken windows and window seals. Always maintain a comfortable temperature
inside the house, even if you are away for an extended period of time.