Sometimes it's difficult to step back and look at your home as a prospective buyer would see it. The checklist below is a tool to help you do just that so that you can concentrate on those items that will bring you the highest reward as a seller.
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The first thing a prospective buyer sees is your home from the curb. The impression it makes at that moment is called "curb appeal." To increase your home's curb appeal, be sure to do the following:
- Remove any junk or clutter from the yard.
- Have a clean, crisp lawn, a bit of fertilizer makes for a greener lawn
- Trim shrubbery and hedges.
- Wash decks and porches make sure they are stained or painted.
- Clean and paint or stain your front door.
- All exterior lights should be operational.
- Exterior windows should be clean and operational.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts.
- Walkways should be swept and free of snow or ice during winter.
- Make sure the garage door is closed.
Walking Inside Your Home
Make sure you present the interior of your home at its very best. It is not necessary to do anything expensive, such as remodeling, but there are some minor activities which may have some major returns. These include:
- Paint - painting often will give you the best return in sale value for your money spent.
- Flooring - all carpeting needs to be steam cleaned. Any worn, stained or odor-causing carpet should be replaced. Any flooring that is cracked or damaged, should be replaced, if at all possible.
- Clutter - get rid of clutter. If something is not needed for your day-to-day life, store it or discard it.
- Closets - all closets should be neat, clean, and organized.
- Cleaning - the cleaner your house is, the better. Dusting, washing, waxing, polishing everything will always contribute to a good impression.
- Lights - clean the fixtures and make sure the bulbs work.
- Windows - replace any cracked windows.
One Room At a Time
- Entry way:
- Clean and polish everything.
- Make sure it's well lit.
- Make it clutter free.
- Arrange the furniture for the flow of traffic.
- Make sure its clutter free.
- Living Room/Family Room/Den:
- Arrange the furniture for the flow of traffic, give the illusion of space.
- Remove ashes from fireplaces and woodstoves.
- Make sure all light switches work.
- Clean the drapes
- Polish, mop the floors
- Basement, Garage, Attic:
- Remove all junk and clutter (do you detect a theme?)
- If the basement is damp or musty, try a dehumidifier.
- Make sure these areas are well lit.
- Clean the exterior of all appliances, including the stove hood filter.
- Clean counter tops and cabinet faces, the shiner, the better.
- Clutter free
- Remove magnets and messages from the front of the refrigerator.
- Clean floor, consider new if it is badly worn.
- If you have ceramic tile, make sure the grout is clean, there are whitening products.
- If faucets drip, repair or replace them.
- Remove stains from all fixtures.
- Make sure all lights have the highest wattage safe for each fixture.
- Put out fresh, clean towels.
- Check ceramic tile, make sure the grout is clean.
- Remove any evidence of mildew.
- Make sure drains are clog free.
- Shower doors should sparkle.
The Final Touches
Often you will have a few hours notice before showing your home. Before the showing there are a few extra things that can be done. These include:
- Keep It Light - whether day or night, a lit house gives a "welcome home" impression. So turn on all the lights, indoor and outdoor. Open all curtains and drapes to let in maximum light. Your home looks more cheerful and it also prevents harsh shadows.
- Stay Out of Sight - prospective buyers may feel like intruders if you are home during a showing. Allow the Realtor the opportunity to speak freely with buyers and emphasis your home's best features. If possible, take a walk, visit the library, go shopping or take the kids to the park. If you cannot leave, try to remain out of sight do not and accompany the buyers from room to room.
- Keep the Scent Pleasant - but don't use scented sprays; they're too obvious and some people find them offensive. For a pleasing fragrance, consider adding a few drops of vanilla extract on a stove burner, or boil water and add some cinnamon. Refrigerator cookies are also quick and easy to bake. All of these items will make your home more attractive to a viewer.
- The Trash - empty the trash in the kitchen and any other waste baskets before a showing. Garbage does not send a positive message, even small amounts.
- A Comfortable Temperature - set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature.
- Mood Music -- Turn off the television and turn soft background-type music.
- Take Fido or Puss with you - it's best to try and take your pets with you while your home is being shown. If that's not possible, keep them outside. Animals under foot do not help a showing.
Everybody hates moving - doesn't matter if you've done it once or several times, it is never an easy task. Here's some tips you may find helpful...
- Notify the post office of your new forwarding address.
- Cancel subscriptions that would not or cannot be forwarded.
- Change addresses on your bank profile and checks.
- Arrange for utilities and telephone at your new location.
- Plan for needs of children and pets during the move.
- Plan for sufficient cash during the move.
- If you're packing and moving yourself ? make arrangements with local moving supply dealers and truck rental agencies. If not, make sure you have a quotation all set up in advance.
- Start the "weeding out" process for what to keep and what to dump.
- Pack one room at a time.
- Keep the weight of your boxes reasonable.
- Start packing and marking every box according to contents and room it will go in.
- If bubble wrap is not available, use towels and blankets to wrap fragile items.
- If possible, pack audio-video and computer equipment in their original boxes.
- Do not pack valuables, carry them with you.