- Trim you landscaping: Overgrown bushes and trees can hide your house, or make it look small. Trim your bushes so they provide a light profile to accent your house rather than overwhelm it. Make sure trees are thinned out, and no branches extend over the roof, or are near windows. Your lawn should be cut short. Trim off the dead branches on plants, and remove withered flowers.
- Pull out the weeds and leaves: When buyers see weeds they think the property has been neglected. Today’s buyers like a light and clean appearance.
- Use wood chips: Flower gardens look really nice when you spread wood chips on the soil. Rake the dirt first to make it level, then spread a light coating of chips.
- Add some color: Small plants can add color to your garden.
- Arrange the furniture: If you have outdoor furniture arrange it so people can see themselves relaxing outside with some friends. Place your barbeque strategically so it is somewhat out of sight, but close to the action.
- Pressure wash walkways and patios if needed
- Wash the windows: People are not impressed with dirt on the outside of windows
- Get rid of clutter: Toys, tools, hoses, and “old stuff” need to be out of sight.
- Paint chipped, peeling, or faded trim: If the trim is looking shabby, then buyers assume neglect in the care of the home. Professional painters can often give you a great price on the trim, especially if the eaves look good and only the facing boards are well weathered.
- Focus on curb appeal: Take a picture from across the street, and study the “curb appeal” you are presenting. If the house is not appealing, potential buyers may never get out of the car. If it looks inviting, people who see the sign may make an immediate call requesting a showing. Curb appeal is a magnet, and it will either attract, or repel, buyers.
- Fertilize: A liquid spray fertilizer is easy and brings fast results.
- Keep it simple: Often we fill our homes with memories, but buyers want to see the “bones” of the property. A few pictures are better than picture walls. Too much furniture makes a room look far smaller. Keep the essentials, but if you have little wall space showing, you may wish to store some of your furniture and accent pieces.
- Clean, clean, clean: Take a look at the tips for buyers to see what they may be looking for in your home. In rooms with water ( bath, kitchen, laundry ) dark stains make people think mold. Clean it up. Is the caulking around the sink cracked or pealing ? Scrape it out, then replace it with fresh caulk ( very inexpensive, and easy to do ). Do you have stains in tubs and sinks ? Perhaps a product like “Barkeepers Friend” will take them out. Tile or cultured marble counter tops need to be scrubbed, then polished. There are some products at the store that will bring a shine to these items easily. Be sure to clean all water fixtures to remove calcium and hard water buildup.
- Have the carpets cleaned and stains treated: Make sure you remove pet smells which are often embedded in the fibers. Pet smells will send buyers out the door quickly.
- Clean mirrors and windows: People like to see through the glass, or their reflections in mirrors. Those mirrors also make rooms look larger.
- Remove marks from walls: Often scrape marks will wash off if the paint is good. If not, then do a light touchup with the original paint to make the rooms look clean
- Keep the house picked up: Have kids store things they are not using, hang up their clothes, make their beds, and straighten their desk. Make sure there is nothing on the floors that people can trip over.
- Take your pets with you during showings: Buyers are hesitant to look when a dog or cat is in the house and there is a warning to not let the animals out. If you can’t take them with you, put their bed in a crate. They will be fine.
Some people think they should completely “fix up” the house to try and sell it. They spend a lot of money with all new landscaping, painting throughout, even new counters, cabinets, and flooring. The reality is that most people are going to change your house anyway. Major flaws should be fixed, but when it comes to cosmetics, and “old”, often the money you put into updating your property will not be returned in the sale. It can be far less expensive to negotiate a lower price in consideration of the work a buyer may need to perform, and they will be able to select exactly what they want. In addition, a deal is more likely when they buyer feels you are considerate of their situation, and will help them update the property through an adjusted purchase price.