Look at your home as though you were seeing it for the first time. Is every room neat, spotlessly clean, dusted and uncluttered? Are the windows clean? Would removing or rearranging furniture make the rooms more spacious? Are closets tidy? Kitchens and baths are especially important: are appliances and fixtures clean, do they smell good, are counters clear? Clean your furnace and laundry rooms of dust and lint. Do your carpets need steam cleaning? Do it now and get the benefit of enhanced appeal to buyers.
Look at the exterior for the first time. Is there debris on your lot? Is your home painted? Are cars parked outside? If yes, can you move them temporarily? In summer, consider trimming bushes and mowing/whacking the native grass around your home. In winter, be sure your drive and walk to the front door are free of snow.
Mirrors can provide a greater sense of space and elegance when properly placed. Be careful not to overdo it, but when placed properly throughout your home, each area will seem larger to the potential home buyer. Try looking in your attic or basement for any old mirrors, but be sure they have a nice frame or at least give the frame a new coat of paint. You may also want to visit a local flea market or garage sale; you can almost always get a great deal on an old mirror or two.
Minor repairs help make your home more appealing and they deter haggling during the home inspection after you are under contract with your buyers. Make sure there are knobs on doors and drawers where they should be. Tighten loose stair railings. Be sure closet doors operate smoothly in their tracks.
Repaint rooms with soiled walls or dark colors. Consider removing wallpaper and repainting in off-white. Re-caulk tubs and showers. Patch holes, refinish wood floors, apply Liquid Sold to all natural wood and replace broken windows and windows with broken seals. Repair dog scratches on doors and woodwork; re-stain the exterior and decks. The dollars and effort you expend on these items will repay you tenfold.
One of the biggest complaints heard from potential buyers is that there just isn’t enough closet space! Simply purchasing an inexpensive closet organizer and installing it in any or all of your closets can make all the difference. You can also try putting a rod across one corner of a bedroom for hanging clothes. Also you could try hanging a screen made from a variety of choices. The screen could be matching material of the bedspread, drapes etc. The idea here is to be creative so that the ‘fake closet’ looks as though it was a part of the room.
Nothing turns off a potential buyer quicker than dull, dingy, disgusting looking floors. Whether you have wax, wooden or tiled floors do whatever you can to make them shine again! For wax floors, either rent a floor machine and do it yourself or if it’s in your budget hire a professional. Have a professional give you an estimate and explain exactly what they would do to bring your floors back to life. If you have them explain what they would do, it may be just as easy to do it yourself. If you have carpeted floors, you should either have the carpet steam cleaned or install new carpeting. This may sound expensive but new carpeting can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.
The presence and/or the odor of a pet should be avoided during showings. The barking of even a friendly dog can be the death knell to an otherwise successful showing. If you can remove your dog during showings, do so. If not, can you confine him to your garage or a dog run?
Cats and cat boxes may bring tears to the eyes of a surprisingly large number of buyers (due to allergies, not tender feelings). Be sure litter boxes are cleaned frequently.
Bright interiors are paramount to today’s buyers. Open drapes, repaint dark colors in off-white, install 100-watt light bulbs and leave lights on in dark areas. During winter months, maintain your home at a comfortable temperature even if you don’t normally do so or if you are away for an extended period.
There is no single music style that soothes all beasts. Play it safe by turning your stereo off.
Most showings are pre-announced by an agent call. If you are not home, they will leave a message on your answering machine. Unless they have a way to contact you at all times, they cannot always advise you of showings.
Occasionally, an agent will drive by with a buyer who would like to see your home immediately. Capitalizing on the magic of the moment, the agent may come to your door to request a showing on the spot. Be certain he can identify himself and, if it’s convenient, accommodated the showing. If not, let the agent know he can show your homein an hour?
Unfortunately, ‘no shows’ aren’t unheard of. Even the most careful agent may not show at the appointed time. They may be running late (some buyers look at each home longer than others), or the buyer may have decided against your area or your style of home after seeing the first couple of homes that day. Most agents attempt to explain, but even the best sometimes forget.
It is best for you not to be present during showings. Buyers talk and look more freely when you are gone. They feel like intruders and are uncomfortable when you are there.
If you get caught at home during a showing, don’t attempt to show your home, you may inadvertently disclose a compromising fact or you may bore the buyers with information they are not interested in and lose their enthusiasm. Let the agent sell your home. Even thought it sometimes seems their agents couldn’t sell ice water in the desert, bite your tongue. Agents sometimes find that buyers wish to discover the ambiance of homes on their own rather than have amenities pointed out.
The purpose of marketing materials at your home is to answer questions a typical buyer asks. If you run low (don’t wait until you are completely out), let your agent know. And if the sign begins to lean, let them know. They should attend to your requests right away.