You don't need to tell me that this is an over-worked subject. What's interesting, though, is that most of what's been written has been by youngsters who have only been in the business for a short time or journalist who dream up a list so they'll have a story.
Go through my list. You will, no doubt, find redundancies, but you will also probably find some things you haven't heard or read before. So here we go!
Be Sure It Has Curb Charisma
I've found that the majority of buyers would fit my mother's definition of impatient. They think they need to make a decision fast. If their first view of the outside of your house doesn't impress them, more often than not, they won't want to see the inside. Make sure your front yard and the front of your house are as perfect as you can make them, and keep them that way until the day the buyer moves in. If you possibly can, hire a landscape company to put in a minimum of $1,000 of new plants and shrubs in the front beds. Mulch all flower beds and around all trees.
Ask a Friend to Look at Your House's Front with a Critical Eye
If the paint's not fresh looking, the windows aren't clean and the shades aren't open during the day, or there are things that need to be taken to the dump, take care of them immediately. A friend will probably see things you may overlook.
During Showings, Send Your Pets to Mother's Day Out
Having pets around, especially the overly friendly and aggressive ones, often does irreparable damage to the sales presentation. And the odor of pets is offensive to those who aren't use to it. A thorough cleaning of the floors and carpets with a follow up of Odor Ban (get it at Sam's) is a must. And a clean cat litter box with fresh sand? It goes without saying.
Brighten Up Your Home's Interior
No better way or better investment than a can of paint or two and some elbow grease. And pay special attention to the cleanliness of the woodwork and baseboards.
Make certain there are no dripping facets, running commodes, discolored sinks and bowls or slow drains. These things alone do more to make potential buyers worry about the overall condition of the house than anything else. Invest in an hour or so with your plumber.
Rent a Storage Unit
Take all of the unnecessary items - ski equipment, ladders and garden equipment, unneeded seasonal clothes - to a storage unit. Your closets and garage need to appear to offer more than adequate storage space.
De-clutterDispose of unneeded items. Compactly pack those you do need. You're going to have to do this before you move anyway. Get it done now and get more bang for your buck.
In the days of energy conservation, many people keep their homes too warm in the summer and too chilly in the winter. That's fine. Just don't do that while your home is for sale. Buyers need to have a rush of "comfort feeling" the moment they walk into your home.
Open every shade and every curtain, turn on every light and every ceiling fan; clean the bathrooms and have fresh linen on the racks; clean the kitchen and have no dishes in the sink or on the counters; turn the TV off and turn on the classical music station, if possible; and vacuum the carpets. Honestly, nothing looks better to a buyer than the marks of freshly vacuumed carpets. And make sure all beds are perfectly made and the clothes and the kids' toys are picked up and put away. And please don't have the washing machine or dishwasher running. See your garage? Please get all of that junk out of it and stored a long way away.
Never Stay in Your House with Prospects
There is no bigger time bomb than to have the homeowner in the house while the prospect is there. And that, by the way, is one of the top reasons homeowners are often unsuccessful in selling their own homes, irrespective of their expertise. I tell my clients to go to Starbucks. My treat!
Copyright 2006 - William S. Cherry