You see your home through your heart. To get the highest price, you have to appeal to potential buyers who will see your home through cold, calculating eyes. If buyers have the choice between two comparable properties that are similar in price, they will choose the one in the best condition.
The following checklist will help you give the inside of your home the greatest presence.
- Get the home aired out. Someone who lives in a place is the last person to notice any peculiar odor that may be obvious to visitors. However, if you do notice any bad odor, search for and destroy its source.
- Wash all the windows inside and out. Clean the window sills and the bottoms of the window jams. Wash the blinds and vacuum the drapes.
- If your carpets look dirty or have not been cleaned in over a year, clean them. Buyers only know what they see... not the way it is going to be. Unless your home is a “fixer”, badly worn or very out of date carpets should be replaced before coming on the market. Offering a buyer a credit to pick their own new carpet or discount off the price is far less effective and usually ends up costing more money and slowing down the selling process. Pick a light colored short plush or Berber carpet. Realtor beige is a safe color.
- Clean or polish all floors.
- Clean all the closets, cabinets, and drawers. Get rid of things you have not used in the past 5 years and pack everything that you have not used the past year (this will also give you a head start on moving).
- Make sure the closets look like they have enough room to hold additional items. Make sure doors do not stick and nothing will fall out when opened. Get everything off the floor (unless very neatly arranged) and do not have the shelves piled to the ceiling. If necessary, box up off-season clothes (this is another head start on moving). All coats should be facing in the same direction.
- There should not be too much furniture in the rooms. You will be far better off selecting the pieces that look best and putting the others in the garage or in storage.
- Make sure fireplace mantels are not overloaded with items on display. A couple of well-placed items like a vase or small flower arrangement are all that is needed. ,
- Make the fireplace a focal point, the star of the room. Arrange seating to face the fireplace. Remove the television, if large and in a formal living room.
- Clear the ashes out of any fireplace if it is not being used.
- Clear out family photos and all other items that say “You do not live here” to a potential buyer. Fill any holes and touch up paint from taking them down.
- Put maximum safe wattage of light bulbs in all fixtures.
- Clean all wall switches and replace broken plates.
- Make sure that any pull-down staircase is strong enough to be used safely.
- Consider whether the posters currently in your children’s rooms are likely to offend any buyers. If so, store those posters for now.
- Remove all ashtrays. If there is a smoker in the residence, all smoking must be outside (not in garage) while property is on the market.
- Invest in some new and luxurious bedding (comforter, sheets, and accent pillows). You can take them when you move, and they will improve the look of the bedrooms while your current house is on the market.
- If your house is the least bit dated, consider changing items that will increase your home’s desirability such as dated wallpaper, light fixtures, etc