Preparing your Home for the Open Market is a Critical Step

A buyer’s first impression could make or break whether they even get through the front door. Most buyers develop an opinion about your property within the first 15 seconds. That’s why creating a favorable first impression is the key to a successful sale. Here are some suggestions on how to make your home look its swankiest when it’s time to sell!

Curb Appeal - The First 15 Seconds

Three Top Curb Appeal Concerns

Paint: Peeling or cracked paint is a definite detractor. Whenever possible add a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of your home. If that is not an option, consider repainting just the trim, shutters or front of the home.

Roof: A well maintained roof tells buyers that your home is well maintained, while an old roof screams trouble. Seriously consider replacing an old roof or at least, replacing any broken or missing shingles. Also, paint peeling or faded eaves and fascia boards.

Doorway: This is without a doubt the focal point of your home! Doors should be repainted or touched-up and old or worn hardware should be replaced. Add planters or flower boxes to draw buyers into the home and always make sure the entry is clean and well lit.

Other Areas to Address:
 • Keep streets, sidewalks, driveways and walkways swept clean from debris and litter and remove weeds growing between cracks.
 • If you have a fence or gate, repair any broken slats and add a fresh coat of paint.
 • Replace any broken outdoor lamps or light fixtures.
 • Keep your lawn and landscaping neatly trimmed, weeded and looking healthy. Try adding a little sod or reseeding your lawn to spruce up those trouble spots.
 • Replace any broken or cracked glass in windows, keep clean and touch up paint on trim.
 • Clean gutters and downspouts and replace any highly visible ones if they are in need of serious repair.

Impressive Interiors - Simple Cost-Free Steps to a Positive Showing

Clear away the clutter. Getting ready to sell your home is a great time to purge. Get rid of all the stuff you haven’t used, fixed, worn or seen for years. It will make your home easier to show and an added plus - less for you to pack!

Clean Sweep. Dirty dishes and a grimy bathroom can overshadow even the nicest home. Keeping your home clean, picked-up and organized is critical to creating a positive impact on buyers.

Depersonalize. Although I think you can take this too far, it is important for buyers to be able to visualize themselves living there. Simple ways to help them along are by packing up a good portion of your personal photos, taking some of those finger paintings off the fridge and removing any décor that makes a strong political or religious statement.

More Sprucing Up:
• Consider repainting a shabby room, in particular, a dull entry hall.
 • Replace old plastic switch plates with brass or porcelain.
 • Shine up those wood floors with a fresh coat of polyurethane.
 • Add new knobs to kitchen & bathroom cabinets.
 • Hate those mustard colored appliances, but they still work? Have them professional refinished in white or almond.
 • Replace any old or non-working light fixtures.
 • Keep personal items out of sight, beds made and all rooms well-lit.
 • Professionally clean carpets or replace if badly stained or needing repair.
 • Replace old toilet seat covers with sparkling new ones.
 • Refinish old chipped or stained porcelain tubs.
 • Repair or replace damaged counter tops in kitchen and/or bathrooms.

Lights, Camera Action - Those Special Finishing Touches

Now that the basics are done, it’s time to make your home the “stand out.” Adding those special touches that appeal to our senses is the way to win the buyer over heart and soul. Before you know it, that sold sign will be up!

Bring in the light! Keep drapes and shades open and use adequate wattage in light bulbs. Replace any burnt out bulbs, especially in dark spaces like basements and attics.

Mirrors. Use mirrors to increase the feeling of space in small or narrow areas, such as entry ways or hallways, or to bring a great view into a room.

Art. Best way to show off a large room is by adding art to that big blank space above the couch, bed or buffet. There are some galleries around town that will allow you to rent a piece of art of a month. Find it, borrow it, rent it - however you get it. Art is a great addition to a staged home.

Add touches of bright colors with accents. Put clean towels in the bathroom, fresh flowers in the bedroom and small throw rugs in an entryway.

Create some ambiance. Avoid harsh noises such as a running dishwasher or dryer, while showing the home. Instead, create the perfect ambiance by playing some quiet jazz or classical music. Of course, Barbara & Whitney will work as well.

Smells have a definite impact on a buyer. While bad smells like pet odors or grease may send a buyer running, clean fresh scents will keep them lingering. Try using a little orange or lemon oil when cleaning your home or placing fragrant flowers like jasmine or roses around the home. Also, baking cookies or bread before you leave for the day always makes the buyer hang around a bit longer than usual.

Sometimes the hardest part of selling a home is getting prepared. That’s where we come in. We’ll work with you and your family to help prioritize what needs to be done before market time. Plus, we’ll connect you with resources that can help you get the repair work done swiftly and reasonably.

Properly showing your home for sale is one of the best ways to make a favorable impression that will help it sell more quickly and for the best price. We can help you stage your home or refer you to an accredited staging professional. But there are a lot of things you can do yourself, both before and during showings, to improve its appeal.

Before showings:
  • Turn on all interior lights, even during the day, and exterior lights at night.
  • Make the temperature comfortable - approximately 68 degrees.
  • Keep pets in a separate area, and change litter boxes daily.
  • Put money and other valuables away and out of sight.
  • Keep curtains, drapes and shades open.
  • Open all doors inside the home, except closets.
During showings:
  •  A buyer will likely spend more time previewing your home if you’re not there.
  •  If you can’t leave the home, try to stay out of the way, and keep children quiet and out of the way.
  •  Don’t precede or follow potential buyers through your home.
  •  Let the sales associate show and sell your home.

Here’s a checklist to help you identify areas in your home that may need improvements in order to make the best impression on potential buyers.

Entry, Living Room, Dining Room, Family Room
  • Traffic Patterns
  • Furniture Arrangement
  • Window Coverings
  • Fireplace
  • Floors/Carpet
  • Walls & Ceilings
  • Countertops
  • Cabinets - Exterior & Interior
  • Appliances
  • Faucets
  • Sinks
  • Floor
  •  Walls & Ceilings
  • Tub
  • Shower Enclosure
  • Tile & Grout
  •  Sinks & Counters
  • Toilet
  • Faucets
  • Floor
  • Walls & Ceilings
  • Traffic Patterns
  • Furniture Arrangement
  • Window Coverings Closets
  • Floor/Carpet
  • Walls & Ceiling
  • Lawn
  • Hedges & Shrubs
  • Flower Beds
  • Fences & Gates
  • Walks & Driveways
  • Home Exterior
  • Paint
  • Trim Paint
  • Porches, Decks, Railings
  • Brickwork
  • Siding
  • Front Door
  • Roof
  • Stairway
  • Floor
  • Storage Areas
  • Finished Areas
  • Windows & Window Coverings
  • Door
  • Storage 
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Window Frames
  • Lights