Living in your home and selling your home are different. There are things we do when we live in a home, ways we live, that will cost you in sales price or make your home more difficult to sell. Conversely, there are things we can do that will make our house more welcoming, more saleable, more like someone’s dream home. The following list is not comprehensive. It will, however, give you an idea of things you can do to positively impact the sale of your home.
□ Clean the house. This should be a deep cleaning. If you don’t want to do it yourself, or feel inadequate to the challenge, hire it out. The small expense is worth it. There is nothing so off-putting as someone else’s dirt.
□ Your house smells. Everyone’s house smells. Our strongest memories are triggered by smell. Make the viewing of your house a good memory. Make sure any strong odors are neutralized – onion, garlic, fish, etc. Additionally, add a good smell. Nothing says “home” like the scent of freshly-baked cookies or bread. Keep some refrigerated cookie dough or cinnamon rolls handy and throw them in the oven before an open house or a viewing. If you want to be particularly nice, leave them out for tasting. But you don’t have to. The aroma will make your house seem like the right home to a potential buyer.
□ If you smoke, it is imperative that you start smoking outside. And repaint your walls with smell-masking paint. Wash your windows. Clean your carpet and drapes. Don’t alienate the non-smoking portion of the buying public.
□ Paint is cheap. And painting is simple. Freshen your home by applying neutral colors of fresh paint throughout the house.
□ Remove your personal touches. You’re not trying to open a museum. You’re trying to sell your house. It will be harder for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your house if they’re looking at all your personal photos and knick-knacks.
□ Remove wallpaper. This is not a fun job, but it can make a huge difference in the level of interest a potential buyer has in your home. They don’t want to move in and immediately remove the wallpaper. And despite how much you may love the wallpaper, how tasteful it is, how carefully it was chosen, most buyers will not share your taste.
□ If your carpets are in good shape, have them cleaned. If they’re not, consider replacing them.
□ If your dining room is cramped, reduce the number of chairs at the table to make it feel more roomy. If you have a hutch or a sideboard, remove it to storage. Additionaly, setting the table attractively before an open house will make it seem more inviting.
□ Make sure all lightbulbs are working, even the ones you don’t use often. People will turn everything on and, if the light doesn’t work, will be concerned about potential electrical issues. Soothe their concerns - get new lightbulbs.
□ Don’t overdue artwork on the walls. Open space makes your home look larger.
□ Make sure there’s not dirty laundry lying about or towels on the bathroom floor.
□ Replace all Air conditioning/heating filters, vacuum out baseboard heaters, heater vents, etc.
□ Make sure electrical circuits are working properly. Replace broken face plates. They only cost a few cents.
□ Remove 50% of your furniture. Rearrange furniture to highlight your home’s best features and to make the rooms seem bigger.
□ Stage rooms as identifiable. If you’ve been using the third bedroom as an office, that’s great. Find a way to highlight the fact that it is a functional bedroom.
□ Clean your fireplace and any smoke stains around it.
□ Do you have a pet? Pets? Be aware that even ardent animal lovers don’t want your pet’s mess in their new home. Minimize your pet’s impact on the home. Make sure all animal smells are neutralized, that hair is vacuumed or swept up, and find a way to contain your pet during showings.
□ Repair all windows – glass and function and seals and screens and glazing, if pertinent.
□ Clean ceiling fans (the top of the blades too!) and make sure they work.
□ Check ceilings for cobwebs or signs of leakage. If you have a leak, fix it and repair any damage. If it was an old leak, make sure it’s been cosmetically refreshened.
□ Deep-clean the kitchen
□ Stove and oven should be immaculate. Replace burner drip pans. They’re cheap and never look good after they’ve been dirty.
□ Scour your sink.
□ Make sure under the sink is clean, organized and shows no signs of leakage. If the wood has been damaged by a previous leak, consider putting floor tiles under the sink. They repel water, clean easily, and cover the problem.
□ Clean your fridge. People will look in it. Clean up all spills. Clean any dirt/mold around the seals. Clean the water/ice dispenser. Clean on top – many of us are not that tall so we don’t notice it.
□ Clean the backsplash, particularly behind the sink.
□ Run the garbage disposal. If it smells, put half a lemon in it and run it again.
□ Reduce overcrowding in the cabinets and pantry to make your home seem as if it has plentiful storage capacity.
□ Deep clean. No mould. No soap scum.
□ Replace your plastic shower curtain.
□ Reduce the amount of stuff on counters and in the bath/shower.
□ Medicines should be put away – you don’t want someone to take home your expensive prescriptions.
□ Under the sink – see the kitchen advice.
□ Fix, repair or add toilet paper hangers and towel racks.
□ Make sure the toilet is flushed.
□ Consider toning down the bathroom décor – the yellow duckies may be cute, but they’ll distract the buyer.
□ Clean the base of the toilet. Every week.
□ Clean the exhaust fan and make sure it works.
□ Mow and water your lawn.
□ Rake leaves.
□ Weed the garden.
□ Power-wash the house, driveway and sidewalk, porch and deck.
□ Make sure your house numbers are visible.
□ Clean out your garage – rent storage.
□ Clean the roof and gutters – repair if needed.
□ Clean front door – and put a welcome mat down if you don’t have one. It will keep your house cleaner.
□ Animals: Clean up waste in yard.
□ Stage back patio as additional home space.
□ Storage shed – clean and straighten. Repair if necessary.