- Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.
- Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.
- Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.
- Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.
- Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.
- Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
- Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.
- Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
- Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.
- Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.
- Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.
- Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.
- Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.
- Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
- Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.
- Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.
- Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
- Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.
Source: National Association of REALTORS®
- Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.
- Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.
- Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn our or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin.
- Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.
- Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you’re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?
Source: National Association of REALTORS®
To put the best face on a listing and appeal to buyers who follow feng shui principles, keep these tips in mind.
- Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the “mouth of chi” (chi is the “life force” of all things) and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Abundance, blessings, opportunities, and good fortune enter through the front door. It’s also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property. Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter. Make sure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.
- Chi energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home in, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.
- The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection, which is farthest from and facing toward the entryway of the room. It’s even better if you can place the bed diagonally in the farthest corner. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue, and lavender.
- The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.
- The windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting the windows professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed.
Source: Sell Your Home Faster With Feng Shui, by Holly Ziegler (Dragon Chi Publications, 2001)
•Don’t overprice – This will only lead to disappointment and your house will get “market worn”.
•Take care of needed renovations – In today’s market most buyers are looking for a move-in ready home and not a fixer upper.
•Make sure general maintenance is done – Taking care of the details will help your home to shine and stand out from the crowd.
•Remove the clutter – Pick-up and clean-up. You want your home to have a clean and spacious feel for the prospective buyers.
•Leave for showings – Buyers will feel more comfortable looking at your home if your not around, plus you will not be put on the spot with questions that you might handle differently if asked through your agent.
Making improvements to your home’s landscaping will enhance its marketability and increase the value. Stand in the road and take an objective look at your home so that you can develop a plan for improvements. Below you will find some helpful tips:
Remove any items from your yard that look out of place, such as, bikes, balls, unused lawn furniture, trash cans and the like.
Take a look at your lawn. How does it look? Is it well groomed and green? A great looking yard is the key to increasing your curb appeal. Don’t cut your yard too high. Most yards do best when cut at a height of at least three inches. If your yard is in poor shape it may need to some seeding and fertilizing.
How do your planting look? Do you have the right balance? Are they too large for the space? If so; you may want to remove them and start over. Do you have enough color? If not; set out some flowers that are appropriate for the time of year. If trees are overgrown and hiding the house, then give them a good trimming or have them removed altogether.
Figure out what is the focal point of your yard, and work extra hard to make this area stand out
When selling your home you need to highlight its strengths and focus on its features. Here’s a list of places to start:
1. Make a lasting first impression – Curb appeal is extremely important. Make sure your lawn and shrubbery are neatly trimmed. The front door should be clean and dust free. If it needs a fresh coat of paint, then paint it.
2. Don’t hesitate to decorate – Faded walls and worn woodwork won’t sell your home. A small investment in paint will do wonders.
3. Let the sun shine in – Open drapes and curtains. Clean the windows. Home buyers are drawn to bright, cheery interiors.
4. Bathrooms are big sellers – Make bathrooms shine. Clean the sinks and toilets thoroughly. Re-caulk vanity tops and tile as needed. Make sure that you are displaying fresh neatly folded towels.
5. Wake up your bedrooms – Remove excess furniture. Use colorful sheets and bed spreads. Open the drapes and let the light in.
6. Pay close attention to the details – Loose door knobs, sticking drawers, wobbly hinges and stuck windows can all cost you the sale.
7. Call the plumber – Have those leaky faucets fixed. Make sure the drains are running free and clear. Clean those rust stains from the tub and bowls.
8. Buyers love big closets – They look even bigger when they are clean, neat and well organized. Remove as much as possible. Either give it away or place it in storage.
9. Lighten up – By day let the sun shine in. By night turn on all lighting in advance of showings. Make sure that you replace any bulbs that are not working. Add accent lighting to wall hangings, fireplaces and other unique features of the home.
10. Leave it to the professionals – Let your REALTOR® handle the showings and negotiations. They’ve been carefully trained and will look out for your best interest.
Before you decide to list your home take a look at these areas to see if changes are warranted:
1. Curb appeal – This is your first chance to make a good first impression with a buyer. Stand in the street and take a hard look at your home’s exterior. Are the shrubs overgrown, is the lawn neatly trimmed,
should you add some flowers, do you need a new mailbox and etc. You want to have landscaping that’s welcoming, looks great and will keep the buyer interested.
2. Exterior – Walk around the outside of your home and make an assessment of the condition of its exterior. Do you find some damaged trim, do you need to paint, are the window screens in good order, do you find areas that need to be caulked and etc. If the buyer finds the outside of your home to be in good repair, then you’ve set the stage for a more favorable showing on the inside..
3. Kitchens – They can often make or break a sale. You want the buyer to walk-in and fall in love with your kitchen. Take an objective look at your kitchen; could it use some improvements? It could be as simple as a fresh coat of paint, or all the way up to a full blown renovation.
4. Baths – A nice bath rates high on a buyers list. It much like the kitchen in that you can simply improve it with a fresh coat of paint or do a full renovation. Many small improvements on a bath can have a great impact, such as, new lighting, new towel bars, a new sink and the like.
5. Decorating – You may love the color schemes in your house, but many buyers may not. You want to have your house decorated so that it appeals to the masses, not a select few. Generally neutral color tones work best.
6. Pets – Pets bring unwanted issues when trying to sell. If at all possible try to find a good temporary home for your pet while your house is on the market. If that’s not possible, at a minimum remove your pet from the home when it’s being shown.