The real estate market isn’t the only factor that influences your home’s selling price. A “well-polished” house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price.. When preparing your home for sale, remember the importance of first impressions. Buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is maintained, what they can’t see has probably also been maintained. In readying your house for sale, consider:
How Much Should You Spend
When you are preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren’t likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive “polishes” and “touch-ups” to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen.
Curb and Exterior Appeal
Make a good first impression. Before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary (and as little money as possible) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal. Tips to enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal:
• Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly.
• Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly.
• Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling.
• Paint or least scrub the front door.
• Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint.
• Clean and align gutters.
• Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
• Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
• During spring and summer months add a few showy annual flowers, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance.
• Clean oil spots from the driveway.
• Store RVs or old and beat up cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.
Maximizing Interior Appeal
• Clean up the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning, as well as removing all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter.
• Remove the infrequently used, even daily used items from kitchen counters, closets, and bedrooms. This will make these areas much more inviting. Since you’re anticipating a move anyhow, holding a garage sale at this point is a great idea.
• Make your house “anonymous”. Remove photograph’s of relatives and Aun’t Mary’s framed needlepoint. Buyer’s don’t want to see your personal items, they want to imagine their belongings in the house.
• Consider hiring a professional cleaning service, once every few weeks while the house is on the market. This may be a good investment for owners who are busy.
• If necessary, repainting soiled or strongly colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. Flooring can benefit from the same neutral color scheme if necessary.
• Check for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement.
• Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
• Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork.
• Repair any dripping faucets and showerheads. Put out showy new towels for the bathroom when prospective buyers are on the way.
• Spruce up the kitchen by installing new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or by putting on a coat of neutral paint.
• Organize closets.
Other Useful Tips
• Think Safety. Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps: roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as non-perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.
• Watch Your Pets. Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you’re showing your home. Keep the cat and dog safely locked away.
• Make sure you can see. Replace burned out light bulbs and open up blinds and drapes.