Home Preparation

You want to sell your home, and you want to get the most for it you can. There are some simple tips that will help you attract a bid and ease the bidding process. You first need to place yourself in the position of the person who will be viewing your home. Remember you probably won't be there for the showing. Things that are important or have sentimental value to you will not necessarily be of value to the viewer of your home and frankly your presence may hurt your home's attractiveness to the viewer. You wouldn't want to be in a home with the owners hovering over your shoulder talking about how they picked out the carpet, or fixed a light, or how their daughter just loves to climb the tree out back. Viewers of a home need to be conscious of the tangible benefits of that home. Because a great deal of emotion is tied to a home, it is impossible for the owner to be objective. If you plan on being there for the showing and have an agent, reconsider whether you should participate in the home staging process.

Assuming you aren't going to be there in the home at the time of showing, try to imagine viewing your home as a stranger. Is it neat and tidy? Does it have a pleasant smell? Is it open and inviting? Is it brightly lit? Are there obvious small repairs that could be done? Is the yard neat and tidy? Are the garage, basement and attic neat and tidy? Maybe you've noticed the words neat and tidy several times. A perception of uncleanliness is an immediate turnoff to viewers of your home.

If you give your home a thorough cleaning, paint it with a fresh coat and do yard work, you will make a good impression. Choose neutral colors with paint. Shampoo any carpets and wax hardwood floors. You want your home to be perceived as ready to move in. Cut and edge your lawn and trim any hedges. It's also time to clear out your storage areas and unnecessary clutter. Home viewers are going to see every part of your home so there are no hiding places for clutter (closet, basement, attic). You may also want to consider moving your car out of the garage to give it a larger appearance.

Lighting is important. You should consider purchasing a few inexpensive halogen lights for darker areas of your house. Remember a home should look clean, bright and uncluttered. Although it may be a lot of work, these things will help tremendously in the sale of your home.

Interior

  • Does the house look clean and smell fresh and clean?
  • What needs to be done to make it more appealing?
  • Does the entryway or foyer need paint?
  • Is the floor covering in the entryway in need of repair?
  • Does the carpeting need cleaning?
  • Are drapes cleaned and pressed?
  • Have the fireplace and hearth been cleaned?
  • Are there scuff marks or fingerprints on walls?
  • Does kitchen floor covering require repair?
  • Does bathroom floor covering require repair?
  • Do closet doors open and close easily?
  • Are kitchen appliances clean and shiny?
  • Are kitchen counters free of clutter?
  • Are windows clean?
  • Are blinds dusted?
  • Are plumbing fixtures polished?
  • Are fingerprints removed from halls and stairways?
  • Have stains been removed from sinks?
  • Have the oven and range been thoroughly cleaned?
  • Is tile scrubbed and re-grouted if necessary?
  • Are closets neat, organized, clutter-free?
  • Has clutter been removed from halls and stairways?
  • Has the garage been cleared of junk and debris?
  • Do lights and switches require repair?
  • Are leaky faucets repaired?
  • Are the attic and basement free of clutter?
  • Are doorknobs tight and working?
  • Is the entire house free of unpleasant odors?

Exterior

  • Does the house have curb appeal?
  • What needs to be done to give it more appeal?
  • Does the exterior require a new coat of paint?
  • Do doors, windows, shutter and trim require paint?
  • Are gutters and downspouts unclogged?
  • Is the lawn neatly trimmed and edged?
  • Are the garden and flower beds weeded?
  • Are bushes, trees and shrubs trimmed?
  • Do lawn ornaments require repair?
  • Are light fixtures operating properly?
  • Are windows clean and unbroken (not cracked)?
  • Are screens clean and free of holes?
  • Is there trash or debris that requires pickup?
  • Are the roof, porch and deck in good condition?
  • Have grass and weeds been removed from walks?
  • Have oil stains been removed from the driveway?
  • Do doors and windows open and close easily?
  • Is the entryway clear of toys, tools and clutter?
  • Are doorbells in good operating condition?
  • Are trash barrels neat and orderly?
  • Are railings secure and painted?
  • Are pet areas clean and odor free?
  • How do swings and lawn gyms look?
  • Do garage doors open easily?
  • Are yard tools put away neatly?

Check out our quick tips for some additional points on selling your home.

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