We are getting ready to sell the house and we want to do all we can to show it in the best possible light. Any tips for putting some lipstick on this place? Please be gentle–we don’t have a lot of money to spend on this.
Thanks and love your site!
Eager in Englewood.
Thanks for the kind words and yes of course I have a few tips for you. Just keep in mind, this process requires you to be harsh and honest with yourself. Let’s get to it.
Here is my quick checklist of easy things you can do before a buyers drives by. Focus on the outside first since buyers usually drive by before they set up an appointment to look inside. Start with the inexpensive items. You can always negotiate with the buyer on the more expensive repairs at the time of sale if you have to.
If you do NOTHING else – clean, clean some more, then clean it again, then hire someone to clean it again. I can’t tell you how many times I have shown the “perfect” house to a family only to have a dirty bathroom, carpet, etc blow the deal.
Why? Because the buyers figure (probably correctly) that if you don’t keep it clean, you probably didn’t do all the other things you needed to do like maintain the furnace, routine maintenance, etc. That will kill a deal faster than you can say “Where’s the magic eraser?”
I know it sounds like hell, but the bottom line is your house is where you live, but buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living there so you need to open it up and declutter until it sells. If a buyer is put off by your 400 piece troll collection and the giant portrait of uncle fester in the living room, you’re out of luck. Trust me on this.
Pick up any clutter from Front Yard
Remove any yard equipment (if it looks like work they won’t like it)
Mow and water lawn
Trim weeds and sweep concrete of all grass clippings Weed yard and garden
Trim trees & bushes away from the house
Plant colorful flowers – or get potted flowers to put around
Clean front entrance/Stoop/Porch
Clean entryway of dirt/cobwebs
Repaint or replace front door
Fix broken windows, shutters, screens
Polish door handles, address numbers, light fixtures
Replace burnt out bulbs
Replace welcome mat with something colorful
Clean out gutters if they need it
Clean Back Yard (trash/leaves/stuff you don’t notice any more)
Remove gardening equipment (reminds them of work—no good)
Clean outdoor grill, barbeque and lawn furniture
Repair missing deck slats, screens
Seal any concrete patio cracks
Store items that make yard look cluttered
Store offsite as much as you can from the garage to make it look HUGE
Take down the 10,000 things you have hanging in the garage
Wash and grease the garage doors
Make sure sprinklers and faucets are working
Get rid of any broken hoses/reels
Clean and repair pumps/filters for swimming pool, hot tub, etc.
Clean ponds and fountains (Goal is to make it look easy to maintain)
Remove ANY signs of smoking outside (pick up butts, remove ash trays)
Remove excess furniture — Make your house look as big as possible
Rent offsite storage for anything you don’t need around daily
Remove excess collectibles and depersonalize as much as you can stand
Remove excess artwork and photographs
Repair any nail holes in the walls
Clean out (empty out) closets and cabinets
Clean out basement and get it all out of the house
Clear counter and tabletops of all unnecessary clutter
Clean appliances and then clean them again (remember top of the fridge)
Scrub bathroom over and over
Replace shower heads/curtains with new simple
Remove carpet stains any any signs of pet damage
Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners
Clean ceiling fans and light covers (get the bugs/dust out
Replace all burned out light bulbs
Wash all light switch plates and outlet covers with cleaning wipes
Clean or replace drapes
Clean/dust all window blinds
Wash pets and remove during showings if at all possible
Clean litter box and remove during showings if at all possible
Remove ANY signs of smoking anywhere in the house Remove mildew
Add fresh scent like potpourri
Consider having a professional cleaning team go over the house again
Consider having your home Staged by a professional ($2-300)
Look High and Low
Make Necessary Repairs
Remove debris from roof and gutters
Inspect and clean chimney
Repair/replace worn shingles
Wash or paint exterior if needed
Clean, paint and align gutters and downspouts
Clean grease and old spills from driveway, sidewalks, garage floor, patio
Check foundation for cracks and repair
Caulk windows, tubs, showers and sinks
Make sure toilets and faucets work well
Install new carpeting if needed
Touch up or repaint walls neutral color
Replace switches and outlets that don’t work
Replace furnace filer
Fix any fence holes, missing parts
Once you’ve completed these things you are that much closer to getting on the market and finding the right buyer.
To get the complete Buyer Magnet guide for free, just stop by and ask for it Free Buyer Magnet Guide
If you think of anything I missed, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.