Ch.5 Preparing Your Home For Sale

Preparing Your Home For Sale

A great first impression is critical to selling your home. Prospective buyers want to see your home in “showplace” condition. Most buyers select their home based on emotion and then justify the decision with facts, so it’s important to make the house look great. Remember, you have just a few seconds to create a winning first impression. Here are some tips to prepare your home for sale and to help boost your bottom line and sell your home quickly.

Prospective buyers want to see your home in “showplace” condition.

Outside Your Home

The first impression people have of your home is what it looks like from the outside. Some buyers make a decision to keep on driving to the next property just by looking at the outside of the house. Here are some tips to make them want to come inside:

Spruce up the lawn by cutting, trimming, weeding and removing all yard clutter. A great looking lawn makes a great first impression.
An extra shot of fertilizer in season will make your grass look green and lush.
Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds.
Trim your trees and bushes.
Apply fresh paint where needed. This can do more for sales appeal than any other factor.
In winter, walks should be free of snow and ice.
Ensure that all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.
Paint or replace the front door if needed.
Buy a new welcome mat.
Place potted flowers near the front door.
Clean windows inside and out – make them sparkle.
Repair any loose or broken steps.
Make sure your house numbers are easy to see. Consider getting new ones if it would improve the look from the street.

Inside Your Home

The way you live in a home and the way you sell a home are two different things. Once your home is on the market it’s in competition with other properties – it needs to always look it’s best. The entryway sets the stage:

Replace the entrance light bulbs to brighten up the entry, and make sure the light is on if people are coming at dusk or after dark.
Make sure the doorbell works.
Make sure the door is in good working order. No squeaking, jamming or sticking locks. Make it effortless to get in the house.
Once inside, make sure the entryway is free of clutter: shoes, coats, umbrellas and anything that takes up space.

Living Areas

Go through your home room by room and pack up any unnecessary or seasonal items. You want it as clutter free as possible.
Evaluate the furniture in each room and remove anything that interrupts “the flow” or makes the room appear smaller. Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.
Have all plaster or drywall in top shape. Repair all cracks, nail pops or visible seams.
Clean or paint walls and ceilings. Use neutral colors, pastels or earth tones.
If carpeting is in good condition and neutral in color, have it cleaned. If not, replace it. Off-white carpet is best; this makes the rooms look larger and cleaner.
Pack everything from all closets that you don’t need. You want to create the perception of roominess.
Make sure blinds, shades and window coverings hang level.
Remove out-of-season clothes from clothes closets.
Replace burned out light bulbs. Brighter light bulbs make your home appear larger and more inviting.
Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans.
Minimize any family photos and personal items that you have displayed. Too much of your personality in evidence does not allow for the potential buyer to “mentally” move in.
Check to see that all windows open and close properly.
Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room look larger.
If you have pets, get rid of pet odors.
If you have a fireplace, clean it out and lay some logs in it to make it look more inviting.


New bedspreads or quilts make a bedroom look inviting. Make sure that the bedspread or quilt fits the bed properly and hangs low enough to cover the view under the bed. Utilize this area to store non essential items there.
Remember that buyers love to snoop and are likely to look in your closets. Make sure the closets are as spacious looking as they can be. Remove all the clothes, shoes, and items that you won’t be using right away.
Put away all items that are hanging off the backs of doors. Cluttered and clanking doors often make the room feel smaller – especially if they don’t allow the door to open all the way.
Candles and fresh flowers are excellent accessories on bedroom furniture.
In kids’ bedrooms, be sure to put the toys in boxes or bins, and slide them under the bed.
Minimize the number of posters, photos, drawings, awards and personal items in the kid’s rooms. You want the buyers to imagine the rooms as their own.

Kitchens & Baths

The Kitchen is the most important room in the house. Make it bright and attractive.
Remove any unnecessary items and appliances from the counter-tops. Clean counter-tops make the room look larger.
Make sure the inside of your cabinets are organized and clean. Store non-essential items elsewhere to make the cabinets look more spacious.
If your cabinets show wear and tear, you might want to paint them. Update the look of your cabinet doors by replacing your current knobs with new ones.
Your eat-in kitchen should have a table and chairs in it to showcase the rooms’ purpose.
Set the dinner table or counter bar to help buyers envision the room.
Clean the ventilation hood in the kitchen.
Remove notes, pictures and coupons from the refrigerator door.
If the flooring is worn or outdated, put down new flooring.
Keep garbage and recycling bins out of sight.
Get rid of kitchen odors by pouring hot salt water down the drain twice a week. Also, grind some lemon rind in the disposal.
Keep your shower and tub spotless. Buyers will often look behind the curtain. Keep shampoos and soaps to a minimum.
Hang matching new towels; go for the best-looking towels you can. Like shower curtains, they add a nice impact.
New silicone beading can do wonders for your shower, tub and sink area…especially if the caulking is stained or cracking.
A new shower curtain is a great investment – very little money for a big impact.
Check the faucets for leaks, drips or disrepair. Repair or buy new faucets if they are leaky or worn out.
Place personal items (such as hairdryers, makeup kits, and hairbrushes) in cupboards or drawers.
Scrub tiles and bleach – or replace – the grout so it all sparkles.

Basement, Attic & Garage

Clean out the basement, attic and garage, and dispose of everything you are not going to move. Package everything you won’t need until you are settled in your new home.
If you have too much “stuff,” rent a storage unit and store it there.
Make sure that there is plenty of light on the stairs to the basement.
If your basement is dark and gloomy, paint ceilings and walls a light color.

When Your Home Is Being Shown

Open the drapes and blinds to let light in. This also makes rooms appear larger.
Have your home well lighted during showings.
At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.
Take pets outdoors when your house is being shown.
Keep radio, stereo, TV, off or turned way down.
Don’t mention furniture or furnishings you wish to dispose of unless asked.
Answer questions candidly when asked, but don’t offer answers to unasked questions.

Contact Jeff Moglia for a no obligation consultation to discuss all of your real estate needs.

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