Cleaning, organizing, repairing, and upgrading your house not only makes it more attractive. It also sends the message to prospective buyers that you’ve taken care of the house over the years, and that it’s likely in good condition. Every buyer’s worse nightmare is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house and later discovering it’s a lemon with lots of expensive problems.
Check out 10 tips for getting your house ready to sell.
- Curb appeal make over
Neat, healthy landscaping is like a great accessory; it really ties the look together. Mow the lawn, pull weeds, remove downed branches, and trim the bushes. Consider planting colorful flowers near the driveway, walkways, and/or near the front porch. Think about jazzing up the front door with fresh paint and a new door mat. Try to make the front of the house as inviting and welcoming as possible. You know what they say about first impressions.
- Spruce up the exterior
A messy, shoddy looking exterior gives the impression that the house is not well maintained. And it’s simply unattractive. You wouldn’t spend lots of money on a used car with ripped seats, huge scratches, and broken taillights, would you?
Walk around the exterior of the house, looking for anything dirty, broken, or dilapidated. Remember to:
- Clean the gutters
- Pressure wash the driveway, walkways, and roof
- Clear away cob webs from the porch and under eaves
- Clean the windows and frames
- Replace broken paving stones
- Replace burned out lights
- Repair broker fencing
Try to get the house in the best condition possible. You know all those little things you’ve been meaning to get to for years? Now’s the time to fix them all. Replace that door or window with the stained frame or the cracked seal. Peeling paint, broken windows, damaged shingles, and dripping faucets should be fixed before the first open house.
- Depersonalize and Declutter
Remove all the non-essential items like extra chairs, cheap bookcases, exercise equipment, and the old ottoman. Minimalism is best when staging a house for sale. The fewer items in a room or closet, the larger it seems. Also, many buyers need to see if their stuff will fit in the house.
Those things you’ve accumulated over the years to decorate the house in your style and to express your personality must go now. Souvenir snow globes, family portraits, kid’s art work, and bowling trophies should be put in storage.
- Turbo Clean
Every inch of the house needs to be cleaned top to bottom: grease on the kitchen walls, cob webs on the baseboards and ceilings, dust bunnies in corners and under furniture, mildew on bathroom tiles, and dust on shelves. A dirty house is a real turnoff; it’s difficult for buyers to look past.
- Pass the Smell Test?
There may be some odors you’ve lived with so long you don’t notice but may be obvious to strangers. Pets are a particular problem so hide litter boxes, shampoo carpets, and spray air freshener in pet areas. Keep in mind that every time you cook food, the smells disperse throughout the house and linger for hours. Before open houses, deploy fresh flowers, freshly baked cookies, and orange scent for a clean smell.
- Turn Down the Color
Bright colors are fun, but they might turn off or distract prospective buyers. Replace bright pillows, throws, and wall colors with neutrals like off white and tan.
- Lighten Up
A bright room seems bigger while a darkened room can feel small or like you’re trying to hide something. Replace low-watt bulbs, set up nice accent or floor lamps in dark corners, and remember to open all the drapes and blinds before open houses.
- Organize closets and cabinets
Of course buyers will be looking at everything since they’ll be buying everything. Adequate storage is a major concern for all buyers. Eliminate non-essential items and rearrange the remaining things in an orderly, logical fashion: items in cupboards and cabinets should be neatly stacked, lined up, and facing the same way. Pack off-season clothes, shoes, linens, and equipment.
- Smart upgrades
You don’t have to spend a lot of money for a pseudo renovation. A few smart upgrades here and there will bring an older house into the 21st century. New fixtures, drawer handles, faucets, new bath towels and mats, and/or a new coat of paint can correct that outdated look.
These upgrades add more value than just the dollar price you paid at the home improvement store. They have a cumulative, psychological effect on the buyer’s overall impression of the house.
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