Neat, clean, and cared-for should be the initial and ongoing perception of the buyer viewing your home. Remember that little details make big statements about the condition of the property.
The street in front of your home should be free of litter and debris. Sweep the gutters, if necessary.
The sidewalk and walkways should also be swept, and free of weeds growing alongside, or in the cracks.
The driveway, if paved, needs to be swept, and if necessary, resealed; if gravel, it should be free of ruts and grass, and if necessary, refreshed and regraded.
The fence should be freshly painted, and the grass trimmed at the base.
The mailbox and lamppost should be replaced if a coat of paint isn’t sufficient to make them sparkle.
The lawn needs to look healthy in addition to being mowed and trimmed. Make sure that bare patches are filled in.
The shrubs need to be neatly trimmed.
Flower boxes or planters filled with bright flowers are an inexpensive, highly effective way of adding a splash of color to focal points such as the front door, farmer’s porch, deck, etc.
The trim should be free of rot and peeling paint.
The doorway is a focal point, and can be dressed up with a fresh coat of paint, new door hardware, a brass kick plate and new entry light(s).
The windows should have no cracked or broken glass, and be clean inside and out.
The gutters & downspouts need to be free of leaves, flowing freely and directing water away from the house. Repair any eroded run-off areas and install concrete “spillways”.
Your home should leave the impression of being light, bright, soothing and free of odor. Detach your emotions; pack away many of your personal items. Clean from top to bottom. Rid your home of clutter and organize. Make necessary repairs.
The entry sets the tone for the rest of your home. Repaint it using light, neutral colors. Make sure it is well lit. Create a focal point with a nice furnishing. Replace plastic switch plates with brass or porcelain. Make sure the floor shines.
The kitchen must be spotless and smell fresh. Cabinets should be organized and sparsely filled rather than overloaded. Counters should be free of small appliances and clutter. Remove all memorabilia from the front of the refrigerator. Freshen the inside of the refrigerator with a box of baking soda, and grind a quarter section of lemon in the disposal.
The bathrooms like the kitchen must be spotless and smell fresh. Replace the old toilet seats. Remove all personal care items. If necessary, replace old light fixtures and towel rods.
Dress the room with new, fluffy towels, throw rugs, and a coordinating shower curtain. Shine a fiberglass tub with car wax.
The bedrooms should feel restful and welcoming. Replace worn bed linens. Make sure the lighting is adequate. Strive for closets that are organized. Get a head start on moving by packing off-season clothes. Clear dresser tops.
The living room can be made to look larger with the strategic placement of a mirror, say over a mantle. Add touches of luxury with real plants in lovely pots, or fresh flowers. Use slipcovers on mismatched furniture. Coordinate throw pillows. Show off the fireplace.
The basement that is clean and organized gives the buyer confidence in the condition of your home. Paint the stairway, and even the basement floor. Make sure it is well lit. Eliminate dampness with a dehumidifier. Have the furnace cleaned. Get rid of cobwebs or any signs of insects.
The garage, like the basement, speaks to property care. Clean up any oil stains. Paint the floor an oil-based gray. Hang gardening equipment and loose tools. Make sure the garage door opener is in good working condition. Get rid of old paint cans, etc.
Preparing to Show
- Open all curtains and shades.
- Turn on lights.
- Open all interior doors.
- Pick up children’s toys, inside and out.
- Remove any pet debris, inside and out.
- Grab glass cleaner and spot clean mirrors, sinks, appliances, counters, switch plates, doorframes, and stair walls.
- Put toilet seats down.
- Straighten and plump couch cushions & pillows.
- Make sure there are no offensive odors.
- Lemon oil or wax can create a fresh scent.
- A dish of vanilla in a warm oven creates the scent of fresh baked cookies.
- If possible, turn on soft, light classical or instrumental music in the background.
- Take your pets and leave.