Get Your Home Ready To Sell
What's the best investment you can make when putting your house on the market? Paint! You will not believe the value a neutral, freshly painted house brings to your property. Today's buyers are looking for a house that is move in ready. Other items that are a plus include a new roof, new HVAC and new carpets or refinished wood floors. Don't make the mistake of remodeling to sell. You will not see a full return on the investment. Instead take the time to invest in small, cosmetic and readily seen features. The time to remodel is when you plan to stay in the house, not when you’re going to sell.
Don't get overwhelmed and throw up your hands in despair. Just take it one step at a time and you will get through it.
First things first – Clean out the clutter! Arrange to have a garage sale or post your items on a safe, online site. Whatever doesn’t sell needs to be set out for a charity like the Disabled American Veterans, Goodwill or another local charity. Make arrangements ahead of time for the pick up. Once the clutter is cleared away, it will be easier to see what needs to be done.
This is your first impression, so make it GREAT!
l Edge, mow and fertilize the lawn regularly. Make sure it’s well watered and reseed any sparse areas.
l Make sure your mailbox and house number is visible.
l Trim hedges, weed flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly. Cut back overgrown shrubbery that looks scraggly or keeps light out of the house. In the winter make sure the walk ways, sidewalk and driveway are shoveled in the snow.
l Buy a new welcome mat.
l Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling, and reseal if possible.
l If you have siding or brick, power-wash it. If you have a painted exterior, consider repainting in a neutral shade. This is especially important if there is any peeling.
l Make sure the porch light works.
l Clean and align gutters and downspouts.
l Inspect and clean the chimney. A few towns require a chimney certification so make sure you check with the township for their resale requirements.
l If the doorbell doesn’t work, repair or replace it.
l Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
l Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
l Remove oil stains from driveway and garage.
l Spring for some brightly colored potted outdoor flower arrangements for the front yard near the entrance in the springtime.
l Keep your garage door closed.
l Wash the windows inside and out.
l Store RVs, boats and extra vehicles (anything that can’t be parked in the garage) elsewhere while the house is on the market.
l Paint the front door.
If prospective buyers walk into your house greeted by the smell of cat litter, cigarette smoke, mildew or pet accidents, there is little chance that even a reduced sales price will persuade them to buy. So the first thing to do:
l Clean, clean, clean. This includes walls, floors, inside closets, cabinets, doorknobs, light switches, refrigerators, ovens, banisters, moulding – everything. If you must, hire a cleaning service to come in and do the job.
l Get rid of clutter. Put away appliances you normally leave on countertops. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Clean out your closets, garage, basement and attic. Make sure the shelves are neat. You want to make sure the buyers know there is ample room for their belongings.
l Paint the walls and ceilings a neutral color – off white, light gray or beige.
l Repair cracks, holes and damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
l Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
l Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
l Buy new cabinet knobs and curtains for the kitchen.
l Shampoo all carpets, scrub and wax linoleum, wash and wax wood floors.
l Unclog slowly draining sinks and tubs.
l Clean out the fireplace and lay some logs in it. Or if it is a gas fireplace make sure it can be turned on.
l Mend torn screens. Clean out all window tracks.
l Check to see that all windows will open and close.
l Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use the new "daylight" LED bulbs.
l Make sure every light switch works.
l Nail down any creaking boards or stair treads (drive two long finishing nails at opposing angles through the floor and sub-floor into the joist).
l Lubricate any squeaking doors
l Remove excess, worn or unattractive furniture.
l Replace old toilet seats and shower curtains.
l Clear all cobwebs from corners and doorways.
On Showing Days
l Keep draperies and shades open to let in the light.
l Place fresh flowers or plants throughout the house. Don't put candles or fresheners around the house. Some buyers are highly sensitive or even allergic to fragrances.
l Have your home well-lit during showing.
l At night, turn on the front porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.
l Set out colorful, luxurious towels in the bathroom.
l Avoid having dirty dishes in the sink or on counters.
l Keep any toys in the children’s rooms, bikes, wagons and skateboards in the garage.
l Play pleasant music at low volume.
l Spend the day of an open house away from home.
l Take your pets with you or leave them with a friend.
l Let the agent show your house, and don’t tag along.