The following are inexpensive tips for preparing your home to be sold, but probably some of the most important.
There are things about our homes we have learned to live with- squeaky doors, chipped paint and the like. A buyer, however, sees these things as the possibility that no one cared enough to fix them. Since this is the largest purchase they will ever make, it is best to eliminate as much doubt and worry as you can. By doing the following, you will do just that.
Is your front door clean and inviting? Now is the time to wash its window and repair the screen you've neglected.
Is the lawn well manicured and free of leaves, toys and the like? It gives your home more 'curb appeal' to drivers by if it is. This would be the time to trim back the tree and prune the bushes, if needed.
Is your back yard picked up? Is the mower put away? The shovels? Cleaning up after the dog is a good idea, too. If you have a wooden fence, check it to make sure boards are tight. Oil the gate if it squeaks.
Inside, is your home as clean as it can be? Cleanliness is the most important thing. Especially baths and the kitchen. If you can't do a thorough job, hire someone for a one time cleaning who can. Do curtains, blinds, floors, carpets. This way, you eliminate many household odors we get used to and make everything spell fresh. Keep the dishes and laundry caught up, too. Keep pet areas fresh.
De-clutter everything. Especially important in kitchen and closets. Now is the time to get everything off the counter that doesn't need to be there. Clothes you aren't wearing should be boxed and stored--even off site, if necessary. Your closets need to reflect enough storage for the new owner. Make rows of shoes neat. Put toys in a toy chest. Organize the basement as neatly as you can by getting rid of old paint cans, bits and pieces of lumber, etc. Do the same for your garage. Now would be a good time to pack away an unusual collection--a buyer can be very distracted by viewing family photos everywhere, or collections of items. It is also a good time to have a garage sale if you find many unused items. Why move them with you?
No one likes to hear this, but a fresh coat of a paint on all painted surfaces, in a neutral color, can work wonders. Paint is the most inexpensive item you can revitalize a home with. If a home looks clean and bright, it is more appealing. It will more than repay you for the investment. It is a good time to fill in the holes from pictures that are no longer hanging, or repair wallpaper that has torn away at the seam, too.
Make sure all light fixtures have good bulbs in them. Lighting improves the look of any room. It makes it safer for everyone, too, especially down in basements or in attics.
If your roof leaked 3 years ago, and you never got around to sealing and repainting the ceiling--now is a good time to get it done. It may look like a fresh leak to the untrained eye. Any damages that have been properly repaired but have left 'scars' should be addressed. Don't try to hide anything, however. The inspections are thorough and the laws are very clear.
Repair leaky faucets now, too. It's always good to conserve water, too.
These are all very basic tips, but you wouldn't believe the difference they make to a prospective purchaser. We all look at our homes differently because we are comfortable there. Sometimes, maybe too comfortable. Please do these types of things before investing in any major remodeling, etc. Little things do mean a lot in this case--they show pride of ownership.
I am a licensed REALTOR, currently in escrow (not actively selling real estate).
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