Start With The Exterior
First impressions count thus the outside ‘Curb Appeal’ is a must for items to be taken care of for preparing to sell a home. If the outside looks rough, they assume the interior is the same. Step out to the street and note the condition of the following items: trim work, shutters, gutters, shingles, mailboxes, windows & window screens, walkways and the driveway. Then clean, paint, repair, or replace as needed to give the fresh look to prospective buyers driving by. Now look at the landscaping be sure and make it look its best by mowing, edging, seeding, fertilizing and weeding the lawn. Next look at the trees and shrubs and trim and/or remove overgrown plants and don’t forget to weed and mulch the plant beds. A nice touch is planting colorful seasonal flowers in the existing plant beds. Then continue to clean, mow and trim while the home is on the market on a regular basis, especially for showings & open houses.
Take A Hard Look At Your Front Door!
The front door to your home should invite buyers to enter. Look at the condition of the door and clean, paint, or replace anything that looks really bad. Make sure everything works properly like the latch that clicks shut without fidgeting with it. Look for details like the screen door, the doorbell, the porch lights, and even the house numbers. For the extra touch, place a new welcome mat and a group of seasonal potted plants and flowers by the entry.
Inside: Remove Clutter & Depersonalize
A buyer cannot envision living in your home without seeing it. A home filled with clutter or even too much furniture distracts buyers from seeing how they can utilize the space your home offers. If you have limited storage space, you may want to consider renting a temporary storage unit to place items you wish to keep. Start by holding a garage sale to prepare for your move getting rid of unnecessary items (see our post on Garage Sales). Then box up and store items like books, magazines, toys, tools, supplies and unused items from counter tops, open shelves, storage closets, the garage and basements. Consider storing out-of-season clothing and shoes out of sight to make bedroom closets seem roomier. Go thru the home and organize bookshelves, closets, cabinets and pantries. Serious buyers will tend to look at everything. Depersonalize by putting away most if not all of your personal photographs, unless they really help showcase the home.
Fix Basic Items In The Home
Focus on the minor repairs that will make your home visually appealing such as ceilings and wall cracks, faucets, banisters, handrails, cabinets, drawers, doors, floors and tile. Look at caulking and grouting in tubs, showers, sinks and tile and clean or replace if needed. Consider painting ceilings, walls, trim, doors and cabinets that are scuffed or have faded or stained areas. Check all the door handles, drawer pulls, light switches and electrical plates and repair or replace as needed. Be sure and lubricate door hinges and locks so there are no creaky scary sounds when they open the doors.
Everyone Looks At The Kitchen
If you are thinking of spending any money on renovations, this is the one area where you will see the greatest return. Even with a modest budget you can focus on a few key areas like replacing cabinet doors and hardware. Or something simple like installing under-cabinet lighting or replacing older style light fixtures. Be sure to clean or replace outdated shelving with pantry and cabinet organizers to maximize space. Consider replacing the sink and/or fixtures if there are water stains that cannot be removed.
Arraigning The Furniture
Furniture placement can enhance the space of your home while giving buyers an idea of how to best utilize the space with their own belongings. Take some time to rethink how different areas in your house could be used. Consider moving couches and chairs away from walls in your sitting and family rooms to create cozy conversational groups. Use a comfy chair with a lamp and table to create a reading corner in the master bedroom. Give empty rooms a purpose with a spare bed & dresser for guests or a desk and bookshelf for an office.
Clean And Keep Clean
The cleanliness of your home also influences a buyer’s perception of its condition. The appearance of the kitchen and bathrooms will play a considerable role in a buyer’s decision process, so pay particular attention to these areas. Be sure and clean all windows, fixtures, hardware, ceiling fans, vent covers and appliances. Don’t forget to clean inside the refrigerator, the stove (especially if included in the sale) and all cabinets. Unless you’ve just installed new flooring be sure to remove all stains from carpets, rugs, and floors. And most importantly be very sure to eliminate any source of bad odors, especially if you have pets as we’ve seen buyers walk in and turn right around if they smell something bad. A nice touch would be using air fresheners or potpourri but you have to be careful as some buyers might think you are hiding something.
Create a sense of openness and cheerfulness in your home through its lighting. Simple items, like opening shades and drapes to let the sunshine warm and brighten rooms are easy (make sure the windows are clean). But consider the next step by installing brighter light bulbs in rooms that tend to be dark or adding additional lamps for ambient lighting. And be sure to turn on all the lights for a showing.
You can easily add color and style to your home by adding fresh touches throughout. Consider placing fresh floral arrangements in the entry and master bedroom and placing bowls of bright-colored fruit in the family room and the kitchen. Fill an empty corner with a (healthy) potted leafy plant or an antique table or rocker.
In the bathrooms always have new hand soap and clean fresh towels near the sinks.
While all this seems like a lot to work on, consider you want to sell your most expensive asset for the highest amount the market will bring. Nice looking correctly staged homes will always sell faster for more money than those that are worn and will need a little work by the buyer to get move in ready. When you are just in the beginning stages of preparing you home be sure and call The Derrick Team at 317.563.1110 as we will gladly come take a look at your home and suggest what items are most important to help sell your home. Roll up your sleeves and get to work!