We all have had the experience of someone important coming to the house, and whether the visitor is an in-law, old friend, or business associate you know the drill: Have the house in "show" condition.
For home sellers the situation is much the same: First impressions count and while you may not be able to tell a book by its cover, you'll likely pay more for a book if the cover is inviting, alluring and attractive.
If your home is for sale or soon to be for sale, in addition to a general cleaning there are 10 steps you can take to benefit from that all-important first look:
- Start with the outside. Mow the law, prune bushes, remove dead branches and get rid of outdoor furniture you don't intend to move.
- Paint the front door and lintels, or at least clean them up.
- Check for leaks. A drip may not seem important, but does it suggest poor maintenance in places which can't be seen? Eliminate buyer worries and fix the little items which may be seen as clues relating to the general condition of the home.
- Clean out closets and storage areas. Donate old clothes and furniture to local charities. This will create a sense of greater space—and mean less to move.
- Have a professional service clean carpets. This is especially important if the carpets are to stay.
- Caulk around tubs and sinks. New caulk invariably looks better than old caulk, and you'll also prevent leaks.
- Replace bulbs that don't work and use as much wattage as is appropriate for each fixture. Bright lights make homes seem, well, light and airy.
- Have a lot of books and magazines that you don't want? See if you can donate to a local library, hospital or charity. You'll get both more space and a write-off.
- Is there anything in the house that will surprise visitors? As an example, mirrors in poorly-lit basements can be dangerous. Look at the property from the perspective of a first-time visitor. Things which are known to you may be uncomfortable to visitors.
- Clean out medicine cabinets. Remove out-of-date items. Also, if you have prescription medicines, consider removing them when buyers visit.
- People have both allergies and concerns when it comes to animals. If you have a pet, make arrangements to have it elsewhere when a home is being shown.
- Homes in a given location and price range battle for a common pool of buyers. Ask your broker to examine the property for specific showing tips to make your home more competitive.