First Impression (Curb Appeal):
* The exterior of the house and the lawn will be the first things potential buyers will see. The goal is to look better than the competition.
* Landscaping and shrubs need to be well maintained. If shrubs are overgrown consider removing them and planting smaller shrubs. This gives a younger appearance to the home.
* Make sure driveway is clean of spots.
* Touch up any exterior paint that is necessary.
* Clean all windows.
* Repair any screens or shutters.
* A pot of flowers by the front entry is a warm welcome.
* Front door needs to be spotless and hardware needs to look like new.
* Make sure doorbell works.
* Make sure exterior lights work.
* Clear out garage and make as organized as possible.
* If you hve a one-car garage remove your car before buyers visit. An empty garagae always looks larger. If you have a two-car garage remove one of the the cars so buyers can make their inspection in comfort.
When you walk through the front door what impression do you get? Does the traffic pattern flow? Is there too much furniture to given an impression of more space? Your home should contain just enough of your life to lend a welcome, but not so much that it limits a buyer's imagination.
* Remove any unnecessary furniture to appear more spacious. Move to another room or place in storage until you move. Arrange furniture around a focal point such as a fireplace, etc.
* Depersonalize by removing personal items and family photos. Allow buyers to envision their "own" possessions in the home.
* Remove all clutter, collectibles, knickknacks, papers, books, etc. Rule of thumb for accessorizing is to allow 3 items on occasional tables or fireplace mantle. (Groupings are good for visual appeal)
* Touch up any wall paint. Neutral colors are great but neutral does not always have to be off-white or beige.
* Carpets should be cleaned, if necessary.
Kitchen & Baths:
Immaculately clean is paramount. They need to smell fresh.
* Remove all items from counters except the basic necessities.
* Decorator towels displayed nicely. They don't have to be expensive.
* Remove everything from the front, sides and top of the refrigerator.
* When you open your cabinets it needs to say I have enough storage space to be organized.
* Touch up paint or repaint if necessary.
* Inside of oven needs to be clean.
* Keep sink clean and empty.
* If kitchen or baths need updating consider replacing the drawer pulls for a more updated look. A small investment can go a long way.
Bedrooms need to say rest and relaxation.
* Remove any necessary furniture to appear larger.
* Touch up paint or repaint neutral color if necessary.
* Bed linens need to have an inviting look. An inexpensive duvet cover or bed linen ensemble can add a lot to the appearance here.
* Organize closets. This gives a buyer the impression that the homes has been well maintained and that there is enough closet space.
* Kid's rooms need to be kept clean and organized. Consider getting some baskets to hold toys when they are not in use. Give your children some type of incentive to keep their rooms especially neat and clean during the selling process.
* Repair any damage from water leaks, burns or other mishaps. This can mean hundreds of dollars deducted from a buyer's offer for defects.
* Keep valuables in a safe place during showings and open houses.
* Any pet areas and their feeding areas need to be clean.
* Make sure all light switches and door knobs are working property. Use the highest wattage bulb allowed in all light fixtures to provide the maximum amount of light.
* Cabinet drawers and closet doors should be in good operating order.
* Check all blinds, curtains and drapes to ensure they open with ease.
* Some green plants around the house, real or artificial (no plastic) add a lot to room appeal.