Look at your property from the buyers' vantage point as they approach
in their vehicle. If the mailbox is the first thing they see, it should
be free of dents, clean, and fresh in appearance. Are trees or shrubs
along the drive properly trimmed back? Is the lawn mowed, hedge trimmed,
garden pruned? If you are selling your home in the fall, try to keep the
leaves raked and the lawn cleared of other debris.
Next, that all-important first critical look at the house itself. Put
yourself in the buyers' shoes. Stand in the driveway and imagine you are
seeing your home for the first time. Make certain the walkway to the
front door is swept, that there are no children 's toys scattered about.
See that the roof and gutters are clean, windows washed, doorknobs
gleaming and welcome mat in place. If you discover any obvious signs of
disrepair — blistered or peeling paint, rusted drain spouts, or missing
shingles — ask your Realtor® whether you should have them fixed before
showing the home.
One word of restraint: do not undertake any major redecorating unless
it is absolutely necessary. That beautiful new Berber carpet in the
living room and Tyrannosaurus Rex wallpaper in the children 's bedroom
may not be to the buyers' liking. They may see it as decoration they'll
have to replace when the home is theirs. In most instances you are not
likely to recoup the added expense of any such work.
Repair or replace worn-out and broken accessories. Badly chipped tiles
on the kitchen counter, a broken hand railing on the staircase, or noisy
hot water heater create a negative impression of the home's overall
condition. The rather minimal expense of eliminating these problems is
usually worth while.
Clean up! It doesn't have to be boot camp spotless, but your home should
be generally clean and uncluttered. Wash and wax hard wood floors,
vacuum carpets thoroughly, remove grease and grime from walls. Clean
kitchen and bathroom tiles. Polish and dust your furniture, and vacuum,
Make certain all faucets, sinks and toilet bowls are cleaned and
Thin out closets. If your clothes are packed to the rafters, place
enough in temporary storage to give the impression that your home has
adequate closet space.
Garage and basement: Get rid of the junk! You may think you can't live
without your collection of 25 fishing rods, but your buyers will want to
see a neat, orderly space with enough room for their favorite odds and
ends. Also, put a fresh coat of white paint on the walls. It's a minor
expense and it goes a long way toward creating the right feeling of
Furniture: Take an hour to visit an apartment complex model. Note how
these typically small rooms are made to appear larger than they are,
with very little furniture. Traffic patterns are open and accessible;
doors to bathrooms often removed. Apply those lessons at home. Remove
two or three chairs, an end table and lamp, or other objects that are
not absolutely necessary in a room. Make sure your own traffic patterns
within and between rooms are generous.
Team With Your Realtor ®
Your Realtor® typically has a wealth of experience in every aspect of
home selling. Take advantage of his or her knowledge and work together
for a quick, successful sale:
Ask your Realtor® what else you might do to frame your home in the
Be sure to make your home available for showings. Your Realtor® spends
considerable time and effort to advertise, qualify prospects, show the
property, and ultimately negotiate the sale. Try to accommodate
requested appointments whenever possible.
Compile a short packet of information on your neighborhood: local
schools, transit systems, parks, libraries, municipal services, etc.
Also, be certain to include the cost and availability of day care, as
prospective buyers may well have children.
For other helpful tips and tools on selling your home, click on the link
When your Realtor® calls to bring a prospective buyer to your home,
prompt attention to last-minute details can enhance your home's appeal:
Straighten up minor messes — newspapers to the garage, china and
silverware in cupboards, ironing board back in the closet.
Clear tables. That collection of golf magazines may be handy on the
cocktail table, but it creates an unwanted air of clutter.
Confine your pets. Some people may tremble in fear at the sight of your
pet, even if it is a miniature Schnauzer; so keep dogs or cats in
transport kennels in the garage or basement.
Leave the lights on! Even your Realtor® won 't necessarily remember that
the switch for the recessed ceiling lights is hidden inside the foyer
Leave home whenever possible. Your Realtor® has been hired because of
his or her expertise at home sales. Stay out of the way. Besides, buyers
may be uncomfortable if they feel you're watching their every move.
If you can't leave, greet your guests politely and retreat to another
room. Send the kids and the dog outside. That way your Realtor® will be
able to best answer questions and most effectively show your home.