Would you go on an important job interview not looking your best? If you showed up wearing old clothes and holey sneakers do you think you would get the job?
How many people who look like they just rolled out of bed in their Match.com photo get flooded with date requests?
Every time your house is shown, it is being interviewed by the buyer for the job of being that buyer’s next home.
We would never consider not looking our best in the above situations. Why do we think homebuyer’s are going to react any differently to your home?
If you are serious about getting your house ready for potential buyers, you need to get it ready to impress!
Here are 36 valuable tips to get you on your way:
ON THE EXTERIOR:
1. If it needs it, paint the exterior of your home to make it look cleaner and years younger. This is the cheapest “facelift” you can do. If you have vinyl siding, get it hosed clean.
2. Trim shrubs, especially around walkways.
3. Park extra cars down the street, not in the driveway.
4. Sweep debris from sidewalks, patios and decks.
5. Put away all toys, skateboards and bicycles. In bins in the garage, shed or basement is good.
6. Remove rusted swing sets and worn out patio furniture.
7. Move firewood away from the house and make sure it is stacked neatly.
8. The roof : this is expensive to replace if it is on its last legs. If it needs to be replaced, get an estimate ready from a respected contractor. If it is just dirty or stained, consider professional cleaning.
9. Mow the lawn frequently. Weed landscaping beds. If spring or summer, plant colorful annual flowers.
10. Clean all windows, inside and out, and repair any broken panes.
11. Keep pets (and all pet smells) out of the way during showings!
12. Clean up oil stains on the driveway. And the garage floor.
13. Hide all trashcans out of sight.
14. Clean the gutters. Make sure the drainage spouts run away from the house.
17. Put away all dishes, toasters, blenders, etc. from kitchen counters to create the illusion of spaciousness.
18. Organize the laundry room. Clean all clothing or keep it neatly in baskets or hampers.
19. Bathrooms should sparkle. Clean the faucets. If the shower curtain is worn, buy a new one. Hang fresh towels. Put out a bowl of attractive soaps.
20. All flooring should be cleaned and vacuumed. Soiled carpet must be steam cleaned. If it is totally worn out, replace it with neutral, moderately priced carpet (ask your Realtor) or get an estimate from a reputable carpet dealer for replacement with a medium grade carpeting.
21. Make the beds. For every showing. Make sure all bedrooms are picked up as if they were in a nice hotel suite.
22. Remove unnecessary furniture items to create space. This will make your rooms appear larger. Put it in the basement (stacked neatly not next to the walls) or consider the temporary rental of a storage unit while your house is on the market.
23. Keep appliances, air conditioner and heater in perfect working order and spotlessly clean.
24. Seal or caulk windows, tubs, showers and sinks. Fresh caulk. No stains.
25. Clean ashes from the fireplace.
26. Open drapes and blinds, and turn on all the lights when the home is shown
27. Store away extra clothes and shoes so closets appear larger.
28. Remove knickknacks that look cluttered. Most importantly, remove all pictures, awards, etc. that are personal. Buyers need to imagine their personal stuff in their new home. That is very hard when yours is there.
29. Remove potentially offensive posters or paintings. When in doubt, go with “mild”.
30. Put toys away in the kids’ bedrooms.
31. Move any valuable figurines or artwork that could accidentally get knocked over.
32. Place fresh flowers and plants throughout the home. Or get high quality silk flowers that look so real you have to touch them to be sure.
33. Keep pet areas clean and odor free.
34. Secure jewelry, cash, and prescription medication out of sight, out of reach in a secure place.
35. Remove any extension cords or phone cords that might present a walking hazard.
36. Make sure that the temperature inside your home is comfortable during showings.
Ask your agent for other tips to help you put your home in the best light.
And remember, just like you, your home only has one chance to make the best impression.
And buyers have plenty of other homes to “interview” for the job of being their next home.