A house that "sparkles" on the surface will sell faster than its shabby
neighbor, even though both are structurally well-maintained. From experience, REALTORSŪ
also know that a "well-polished" house appeals to more
buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel
more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is
maintained, what they can't see has probably also been maintained.
In readying your house for sale, consider:
- How Much You Should Spend
- The Exterior "Curb Appeal"
- Preparing the Interior
| 1. How Much Should You Spend|
In preparing your home for the market, spend as
little money as possible.
Buyers will be impressed
by a brand new roof, but they aren't likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it.
There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive "polishes" and
"touch-ups" to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh
coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like
installing a new kitchen. Your REALTORŪ, who is familiar with buyers' expectations in
your neighborhood, can advise you specifically on what improvements need to be made.
Don't hesitate to ask for advice
| 2. The Exterior "Curb Appeal"|
Preparing the exterior (curb appeal) of your home for sale is probably the most
important step you can take. If you can't get them through the front door, you
can't get them to buy. If they don't like what they see when they drive up, you
lost a potential buyer. So take some time, and get unbiased opinions of what needs to be spruced up, changed, or removed.
- Keeping the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly
- Trimming hedges, weeding lawns and flowerbeds, and pruning trees regularly
- Checking the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling
- Inspecting doors and windows for peeling paint
- Cleaning and aligning gutters
- Inspecting and cleaning the chimney
- Repairing and replacing loose or damaged roof shingles
- Repairing and repainting loose siding and caulking
- During spring and summer months considering adding a few showy annuals, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance
- Re-sealing an asphalt driveway
- Keeping your garage door closed
- Store RVs or old and beaten up teens' jalopies elsewhere while the house is on the market
- Applying a fresh coat of paint to the front door
| 3. Preparing the Interior|
Once you have the "curb appeal" taken care of, it's time to head inside and prepare
the inside as well. Again, get some unbiased opinions of what should be changed, what
should be cleared out and put in storage, and what should be emphasized. You have a
potential buyers interest if you got them inside to look around... don't lose them now.
- Giving every room in the house a thorough cleaning, as well
as removing all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Some
homeowners with crowded rooms have actually rented storage garages and moved half their
furniture out, creating a sleeker, more spacious look.
- Hiring a professional cleaning service, once every few weeks
while the house is on the market. This may be a good investment for owners who are busy
- Removing the less frequently used, even daily used items
from kitchen counters, closets, and attics, making these areas much more inviting. Since
you're anticipating a move anyhow, holding a garage sale at this point is a great idea.
- If necessary, repainting dingy, soiled or strongly colored
walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme
can be applied to carpets and linoleum.
- Checking for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement.
- Repairing cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
- Replacing broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork.
- Inspecting and repairing the plumbing, heating , cooling, and alarm systems.
- Repairing dripping faucets and showerheads.
- Buying showy new towels for the bathroom, to be brought out only when prospective buyers are on the way.
- Sprucing up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by investing in new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or a coat of neutral paint.