In a competitive market your house really needs to be pristine BEFORE listing it. Getting your home in good order before offering it for sale will ultimately get your home sold more quickly and will most importantly bring in the best offers! After 24 years as a licensed Real Estate Broker, I know firsthand that a little money spent in advance will be money well spent in the long run. Let me also note here that while I want to help you present your house for sale in the best light possible, it is never a good idea (nor ethical) to try to hide your homes flaws - instead let's get them fixed for a hassle free sale!
1. Pre-listing Inspection. Okay what does this mean? An indepent certified home inspector will come to your home and evaluate all of its major components (roof, HVAC, septic system, etc.). Remember, a Buyer will eventually request a home inspection and it is better to be aware of any concerns with your home clearing inspection BEFORE a deal is in the works. This is also a good time to have your heating system serviced and looking its best. If major home improvements are needed, but perhaps not able to be financed before the house is listed, a HOME WARRANTY could solve the problem. Home Warranties are relatively inexpensive compared to major improvements, yet they can give a prospective Buyer the peace of mind to seal the deal.
2. Curb Appeal - We all know the old saying, that you only get one chance to make a first impression, so here's your chance! Personally, I think there is nothing more important than a freshly painted, glossy and inviting front door. The front door is like the smile on a persons face and it needs to be warm and welcoming - sparkling in fact! So fresh paint is a must and polishing door hardware wont hurt either.
Depending on the season, urns with flowers or plants can make a home feel welcoming and make it stand out in the potential buyers minds!
Finally, keep lawns and landscaping well trimmed and groomed.
3. Its What's on the Inside That Counts, Right? YES! After your home is looking its best outside, turn your focus to its interior. Curb appeal gets your listing noticed. - an immaculate interior gets it SOLD. The first step is to DE-CLUTTER! Personal photos and your collections are wonderful but an excessive amount of these items makes it hard for a potential Buyers to envision themselves living in your home. Next clean all areas that will be shown - and that basically means your entire house. CARPETS AND FLOORS NEED TO BE CLEANED to look brand new.
Dust window frames and ceiling fan blades - all the places you normally would clean just once or twice a year. Kitchens and bathrooms must be spotless - again they buyer needs to picture themselves there and a refrigerator covered with artwork and photos can turn off a Buyer.
Clear off counters so the kitchen looks newer and roomier. Coffee makers, toasters and the like need to find a home out of sight! For the kicker, wash windows inside and out - the more natural light you can get into your home the better. Paint rooms neutral colors - walls should be painted with flat finish and trim can be glossy.
4. Hire A Handy Man - Anything that is not in working order should be fixed. Fixing leaky faucets, re-glazing a dreary tub, repairing broken tiles or even replacing a dated or scratched counter top will give you that READY TO MOVE INTO LOOK.
5. BAD SMELL = NO SELL - Even a house in perfect order that LOOKS beautiful will not sell if it smells badly. Pet odors, food smells and cigarette smells have to be remedied. As fabrics can hold these smells remember to clean carpets as well as upholstered furniture and draperies. Opening windows for just ten minutes a day can really work wonders in getting rid of bad smells. Your house should smell clean, not scented so use "air fresheners" with caution.
Remember, in theory, your house needs to be "sold" THREE TIMES - once to the BUYER, next to the HOME INSPECTOR, and finally the BANK! By following my tips you can make your home EASY TO SELL and more importantly EASY FOR THE BUYER TO ENVISION AS THEIRS!