De-Personalize the House
Start by removing all family photographs and sentimental items. If the only reason something is there is because it means something to you, it’s probably not going to help you sell your house.
Next, remove any religious artifacts. This can automatically create a negative subconscious view of the house the moment the potential buyer walks in, simply because they could have a different religion or belief system.
Paint over the house with neutral colors. Fresh paint can go a long way in selling a home. A good thing to remember is that, in general, light colored homes are easier to sell.
Buyers often buy based on emotion. Homes with warmth and comfort always attract buyers, so use warm, neutral tones throughout the house.
Examine the Kitchen
The kitchen is often one place where things go wrong. A kitchen with clutter lowers value. Clear the countertops of clutter such as small appliances or junk, make sure that all surfaces are clean and tidy, and remove any items, such as notes, attached to your fridge.
You may want to consider adding a bowl of fresh fruit to the countertop and some fresh cut flowers for aesthetic appeal. Avoid silk or plastic flowers, as people often find them tacky.
Use the Rule of Thirds Throughout the House
When items are placed in threes, they generally become more pleasing to the eyes. A lot of things like art work or sculptures look better in groups of three – even candles and pillows look better in groups of three!
It’s Simple: Less is More
Removing clutter from the house is probably the most important thing you could do when selling your home.
When preparing the home for showing, make sure you turn on all the lights throughout the house. Use warm, incandescent lights, since they give a more cozy and warm feeling. This will brighten the rooms and really show off the home’s features.
Make sure that the function of each room is maximized. Make the computer room just a computer room, not a storage room with a computer, or a kid’s play room that doubles as a computer room.
The house should have a smooth flow to it. Each room should lead to the next without any obstructions in the flow.
Less furniture makes your home seem bigger. Remove bulky stereo equipment. and if your home entertainment system has an unsightly rat’s nest of wires, then you will need to disguise or remove it. Make sure the house is spotless, because people want to buy clean homes. If the home is dirty for the viewing, the buyer may become worried that the home will be dirty when they move in. People care quite a bit about how the home was treated by the previous owners. A clean and tidy home shows that it was in good hands prior to the listing date.
When cleaning the home for showings, pay attention to the small details. Wipe dust off of shelves, door frames and on any other surfaces that are above eye level. Next, make sure all the walls are clean. If there are scuff marks or any other stains, remove or paint over them. Wipe off all surfaces, making sure there’s no visible dust anywhere. Also, make sure all your windows are crystal-clear, as dirty windows will detract from the view. Finally, it’s time to clean the floors. Make sure the grout in the kitchen and bathrooms has been scrubbed and bleached. Vacuum all carpets and, if necessary, shampoo them. Remove all stains and any pet hair, and all hardwood floors should be dusted and polished. If your home has hardwood flooring that is damaged or has worn finish, consider having it refinished.
If your home has a very old, outdated carpet or carpet that is in very bad shape, you should consider replacing it with more modern flooring. There are plenty of cheap, cost-effective flooring options that would look good and add much more value to your house. If you’re on a budget, replace old carpet with either laminate or tile flooring. Old carpet attracts a lot of dust. Any homebuyer with allergies or sensitivities to dust is going to think twice about your home if it’s carpeted. Even new carpet is sometimes a deal killer for a potential home buyer who is really sensitive to dust.
One option if you want carpeting in your house is to put throw down rugs over hardwood floors. That way, when you plan to sell the house, you can just roll the rugs up and show off the beautiful flooring underneath.
The basement is another area that can make or break a home sale. Many health hazards originate from the basement: radon, mold, mildew, water damage, etc. For more information, see “Dangers of Radon in Your New Home“ for information on removing Radon from your basement.
If your basement is wet, or smells like mildew, it will give potential home buyers a strong negative first impression. If this is the case, get a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers will remove the moisture from the air and any smells related to moisture. Make sure there are no signs of bugs in the basement. This can be a huge detraction for a new potential home buyer.
Make sure all toilets and showers are clean and fully functional, and all faucets are working properly. Potential buyers will check to make sure everything is functional throughout the house. Clean up any mildew or soap scum in the bathroom. Also make sure there’s no mold anywhere. Mold is a seller’s worst nightmare, as people avoid buying a moldy home like the plague.
Check the caulking around the sink and bathtub and replace any old caulking. It’s just a small detail and probably won’t make or break a home sale, but sometimes a combination of all the smaller details can close a sale. Make sure the toilets and surrounding areas are clean. Next, make sure all counters in the bathroom are totally wiped down and free of clutter. And lastly, make sure the mirrors are crystal clean.
Now that we have gone through the house to make sure it is properly prepared for real estate showings, it’s time to do the final touches.
It’s usually a good idea to add some natural potpourri to give the home of fresh scent. Try to avoid artificial scents as they may give some potential buyers a headache, or just be irritating.
Lastly, have someone who doesn’t live in the home come in, see what the smell is like, and give their opinion on your home’s condition. This is a great way to expose potential problem areas you could have missed.