Make sure your lawn is mowed and edged. The first impression a buyer will get of your home is from the outside. Curb appeal is very important. If you don’t have the time to keep the lawn mowed and edged, now is the time when hiring a service would benefit you. This way you don’t have to worry about making sure it always is done in time for a buyer to see it or an open house.
- Trim all the trees and shrubs on your property. If you can’t reach some of your trees or have the equipment to trim the trees and shrubs, we suggest you hire a landscape company to get it in shape for you. You can also rent the equipment from a rental company if you would prefer to do it yourself.
- Plant some flowers or display large flower pots. This is the best way to brighten up your yard and enhance that curb appeal. You can pick up inexpensive pots at a pottery place, K-Mart, Target, Home Depot, or even at a Garage Sale. These same places carry all types of flowers and shrubs too at good prices.
- Sweep and clean all sidewalks and pathways. If you are in a climate that has snow and ice, make sure you clean the sidewalks and pathways and also the decks and put down salt so it clears and no one falls. Make sure no toys, papers, or outside tools are left in the walkways.
- Repair and clean all windows. Replace any cracked or broken windows and make sure they are clean for a well-maintained look.
- Clean all eaves and drain spouts. Blocked eaves and drain spouts can lead to damage that will cost more than keeping them clean. A ladder and either your hand or a small broom can clean them out or you can hire a handyman to do it for you.
- Paint exterior areas that need painting. Peeling or chipped paint should be taken care of for a fresh well-cared look to your home.
- Clean or replace door knobs. The entrance to the home should be perfect from the finish on the door to the doorknob and locks. If they are dated and can’t be cleaned, then they should be replaced.
- Keep the garage door closed. First impressions are important and even though the garage is an important space, it should not have the door left open at any time. You also don’t want people to think they should enter through the garage because it is open.
- Remove all family photos, trophies, personal crafts, etc. Personal items such as pictures, trophies with names, homemade crafts, etc. often keep people from being able to visualize the home for themselves and distract them from other features of the home.
- Remove all “clutter” (ie: newspapers, boxes, etc.,) it will make your home feel bigger. Make sure the counters in the bathrooms and the kitchen are clutter-free and papers are either put away or in the trash. Dishes should always be done and put away, not left in the sink.
- Clean all your carpets. If the carpet needs to be replaced, do so and make sure it is a neutral color. If it does not need replacing, have it cleaned or do it yourself by renting a carpet cleaning machine.
- Repair or paint any chipped or dirty walls. Remember to choose neutral colors when painting your walls, not everyone likes bold colors or blue or red tones. If all that is needed is to wash the walls, do the entire wall, not just the spots.
- Make doors and windows open correctly and easily. Just use a little A-1 oil where needed so that everything opens and closes easily.
- Repair and minor damages. (ie: plaster, wallpaper, creaking floorboards, etc.) If you have wallpaper and the seams are opening up, a small tube of wallpaper paste can be purchased at K-Mart or a wallpaper store. Creaking floor boards need to be repaired. You may need to hire a flooring person to lift up the flooring to repair the boards if you don’t want to attempt it yourself. Plaster repairs also may need the attention of an expert.
- Add some indoor plants. Plants add a warm feeling to a home. Green and flowering plants both work well.
Additional Tips if you are going to have an “OPEN HOUSE”
- If possible, keep all pets out of the house. Pets need to either be out of the home or in a crate when the home is shown or an Open House is planned. Even the best Pet can have an off day and bite someone, and many buyers may be afraid of certain pets.
- Add some fresh flowers to a vase. Colorful fresh flowers add warmth to a room.
- Make all the rooms in your house smell good. If you don’t like to bake fresh cookies, just add a cinnamon stick to water and put it in the oven on low for a nice smell or a scented candle always adds a nice aroma.
- Clean and clear all table tops, desks, shelves, etc. Clutter takes away from the features of the home.
- Create as much light as possible. Open all blinds and curtains. The brighter the home the better. Windows need to be cleaned, blinds and curtains open, and lights on when needed.
- Add fresh towels to the bathrooms. New fresh towels and even small soaps in a soap dish add a lot to the bathrooms.
- Turn off all TVs computers, etc. During showings and Open houses, TVs and computers should be off. They tend to take away the attention of the buyer.
- Add a little music softly in the background. Soft music can add relaxation to the buyer’s mood as they go through the home.
- Never hold an Open House alone. You are allowing strangers into your home and it is better to have another person with you. This person should be another adult, not a child. Also, have a cell phone with you at all times if possible and an auto-dial button for 911. When showing the home, always have the buyer enter the room ahead of you so that the exit is never blocked. If there is a basement in the home, have the lights on and have the buyer go ahead of you, again always leaving the exit open for you if needed. Open houses can be on any day, not just weekends, but should always be during the day, with hours that end before dark.