1. Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.
Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf. “Let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Look toward the future.
Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and it makes it difficult to do that if yours are there. You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”
“One man’s junk, is another’s treasure” Keep this in mind, when a buyer is looking at your home, what you consider a great artwork, may not be the same taste as a Buyer. You want your Buyer to have a clear palette, so they can use their own creativity to personalize an area. People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.
- Pack up those knickknacks.
- Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
- Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
- Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.
4. Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets.
Buyers need to know what they are buying, so looking in every closet and cabinet door is a given. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:
- Neatly stack dishes.
- Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
- Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
- Line up shoes.
5. Rent a Storage Unit.
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers scratching their heads and saying, “What is this room used for?”
6. Remove/Replace Favorite Items.
If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If a buyer never sees it, she won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer she can’t have an item, she will want it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if possible.
7. Make Minor Repairs.
- Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
- Patch holes in walls.
- Fix leaky faucets.
- Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
- Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. (Don’t give buyers any reason to remember your home as “the house with the orange bathroom.”)
- Replace burned-out light bulbs.
8. Make the House Sparkle!
- Wash windows inside and out.
- Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
- Clean out cobwebs.
- Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
- Clean off the refrigerator.
- Vacuum daily.
- Wax floors.
- Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
- Replace worn rugs.
- Hang up fresh or decorative towels in kitchen & Bath. Towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows.
- Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
- Go outside and open your front door. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
- Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense and not cluttered looking.
- Make sure windows and window coverings are clean and dust-free.
- Tune in to the room’s statement. Does it leave it open for a buyer’s imagination to run free?
10. Check Curb Appeal.
If a buyer won’t get out of her agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get her inside.
- Keep the sidewalks cleared.
- Mow the lawn.
- Paint faded window trim.
- Plant yellow flowers or group flowerpots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion.
- Trim your bushes.