If buyers have a choice of two comparable properties similar in price and area, they'll choose the one in the best condition. Just as on the other hand, if two properties are similar in condition, the buyers will choose the one that is less money.
One of the frustrations a professional agent has to deal with is after having made an appointment on a home that will meet the buyer's requirements, driving up in front of the home and having the buyer say, "I don't want to look at this. I don't like the looks of the front.
"It takes a lot to overcome a statement like that, so the first place we're going to start is with the front of the house. Stand at the street and look at the house. If all you can see are trees and shrubs, you have some yard work to do.
Landscaping is to enhance the home, not hide it. One of the easiest things to do is trim the shrubs that are overgrown. They should be lowered to a height near the bottom of the windows. If there are branches hanging low in the yard, you'll need to prune them. A simple rule of thumb is to have all the limbs high enough so that you can walk under the tree.
The next thing on the list is to clean out the garden beds and make them look good. This means getting all the weeds out and having a distinct border between the beds and the yard and adding mulch to improve the appearance. Also don’t forget to mow the lawns every week.
Everyone dreams of a "Homes & Garden" type home with flowers in the beds. Why don't you invest in a few pots of flowers that will last the entire growing season, and will add colour and beauty to the front of your home? You might even consider putting some nice looking flower pots on the porch with some red geraniums or some other blooming plants in them.
Next, take a look at the front door and the area around it. If you don’t paint anything else, at least give your door a fresh coat of paint.
If the doorbell is broken, replace it. Wash the mailbox, and make sure it is straight. Keep the porch swept. Get an attractive mat for people to wipe their feet, especially for when it rains.
The absolute basics - clean and bright
Start by airing out the home. You are the last person to notice any peculiar odour in your home that may be blatantly obvious to visitors. Go on a search to find the offender. It may be a kitty litter box. It might even be a mildewed shower.
Next, wash all the windows in the house, inside and out. While you're at it, clean the window sills and the bottom of the window jambs, and wash the blinds.
If it has been over a year since you've had the carpets cleaned, now is the time to do it. The bare floors should also be waxed or polished.
Put bright light bulbs in every socket made for a bulb. Buyers like bright and cheery so you have to keep it from looking like a dungeon. You'll also want to keep the drapes and shades open during the day, even if you're not in the habit, because it will make the property look better.
The next item on the required list is to clean out all of the cupboards, cabinets, and drawers. Get rid of things you haven't used in the past five years and pack up everything that you haven't used in the last year. Do it without conscience or remorse. You're going to have to do it anyway when you move. The main reason is that it will make the storage space look larger. Surely, you don't want to pay a mover to haul things that you never use.
Cupboards should look like they have enough room to hold additional items. You might need to box up off-season clothes to make it look that way. Get everything off the floor and don't have the shelves piled to the ceiling.
Another basic requirement for home preparation is to be sure there is not too much furniture in a room. Even though it may be inconvenient, you will be far better off by selecting the pieces that look best and putting the others in the garage, basement, or better yet, in storage. You can rent one of those mini-warehouses for a few dollars a month.
You need to go over the kitchen like a health inspector. Clean the oven and keep it that way, even if it means eating out more often. After cleaning the range, put new drip pans under the burners, or at least, cover the old ones with foil. Clean around the seal of the door to the dishwasher.
Bath tubs, showers and sinks should be freshly cleaned and all the grouting should be clean and in good condition. There are excellent cleaners that will do the job without tons of scrubbing. There should be no leaks in the taps. Put fresh towels out in the bathrooms and replace the shower curtain if needed.
A few unrelated suggestions – clean and tidy up.
If you have limited counter space in the kitchen, be sure to keep unnecessary items put away.
Keep children's toys out of the front yard and off the path ways and front porch.
Get the teenagers and children to understand the importance of keeping the house looking good while it is on the market. Take down the posters until the house is sold.Recognise the difference between decorator touches and clutter or sterility.
Clean the ashes out of the fireplace during the season that it isn't being used.
Keep the television turned off while the home is being shown.
If you don't have time for a garage sale, consider donating things to charity. Make a list of all the items and their estimated value, and be sure to get a receipt. The donation maybe tax deductible and may be worth more to you than the time and effort you'd put into a garage sale.
The pool needs to be sparkling and free of leaves.
Don't volunteer information to prospective purchasers. If they ask you a question, answer it truthfully or better yet, just refer them to your agent as that is what he is paid to do.Tell your friends that your home is for sale. You never know where the buyer will come from.
Tell your friends that your home is for sale. You never know where the buyer will come from.
For those willing to go the extra mile, there are some things you can do that will really add flair to your home.
It might be replacing light fixtures that are dated or just ugly.
Some enterprising homeowners will completely paint inside and put all new floor coverings down. Others might add new window treatments.
Ceiling fans are not only fashionable but they are also very practical. The price on them has come way down. You can put four or five fans in today for what one fan cost several years ago.
New appliances in the kitchen can be an exciting feature that can actually make the difference in a prospect choosing your home over another.
Don't fall into the trap that most people do when trying to figure out how much it will cost to replace an item.
Its show time
Inspection day has arrived and now all the hard work you've done to make your home look good is about to pay off. You just need a few last minute touches.
When the agent arrives with the prospects, have the curtains and blinds open to let in as much light as possible. If it happens to be night, be sure that all of your outdoor lights are on, especially landscape and pool lights if you have them.
Open all the doors between rooms to give an inviting feeling. Turn on all of the lights including the lamps. Tune the radio to some quiet, "elevator-style" music.
Pick up any newspapers or magazines that may be lying around. Ensure the kitchen benches are free of any unnecessary items and that any dirty dishes are put in the dishwasher or out of the way. Take out the rubbish if needed.
If you have pets, get them out of the way. Not everyone may share your love for animals. Some people may even be allergic to them.
The beds should be made and clothes picked up. Bathrooms should be clean and the toilet lid down.
When you leave the house in the morning or during the day, please leave it as if you know it is going to be inspected. It's difficult sometimes and might even mean you have to get up a little earlier in order to take care of these important items. You never know when the right person is going to look at it, so you must always be ready for them.
The First 4 Weeks
You'll never have more activity on the home than you will in the first four weeks of the listing. The reason is simple: there are purchasers out there who have seen everything available and for one reason or another, haven't bought. They are just waiting for something new to come on the market.
Agents are just as anxious. When that new property does hit the market, buyers and agents both will scramble to look at it. It is common knowledge that the property will usually sell for the highest price during this time. After the initial surge of interest, the only people to look at it will be those buyers new to the marketplace.
Please cooperate with the agents when they call for an appointment. Sometimes it will be inconvenient for you to have the house inspected, but you may never get another opportunity for that particular purchaser to look at it again. Besides, the agent may feel that if the property is difficult to show because of restrictions the owner has placed on it, it may not be worth the trouble. We need all the help we can get, so we don't want to alienate even one sales agent or purchaser.
- Trim the shrubs, prune the trees, paint the front door
- Wash all the windows
- Putbright light bulbs in all fittings
- Clean out all the closets and cabinets
- Repair all leaky taps
- Clean bathtubs. showers and sinks
- Remove excess furniture
- Keep beds made and clothes picked up
- Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher or out of sight
- Clean out the garage
- If in any doubt, clean, clean, clean and tidy up