Selling Your Home

Okay, you’ve decided to sell your home. You have an agent and you’re anxious to get the ball rolling. Now is the time to take an active part in ensuring your success.  There are a few things you should do to ensure you get top dollar for your property.

A Good First Impression Can Sell Your Home

First impressions last the longest and are the most important in selling your home. As a seller, you will want to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. The time, effort and limited financial investment involved can give you the competitive edge needed to sell your home when you want - at the price you want.

The exterior of your home is the first thing a prospective buyer will see. A little time and effort can make a big difference in the impression your home creates. This can pay big dividends when the sale is made.

Use This Checklist to Make Sure Your Home’s Exterior Looks it’s Best

  • Lawn is cut and neatly trimmed around the sidewalks and driveway
  • Flower garden is weeded
  • Shrubs are trimmed
  • Dead trees and branches are eliminated
  • All debris is disposed of
  • Toys and lawn equipment are neatly stored
  • Fences and gates are repaired and repainted, if necessary
  • The roof, gutters and downspout are in good repair
  • Driveways and sidewalks are washed down and checked for cracking and crumbling
  • Cracked windows and torn screens are replaced. Screens, windows and windowsills are washed. Doorknobs are polished.
  • Doorbell and front lights are in good working order

You may wish to consider painting the house before you show it. A new paint job, well done, will normally enhance the sale value a good deal more than the cost of the paint.

If your home’s exterior looks clean, orderly and in good repair, that’s the impression your house will first convey.

A Spotless Interior will Reinforce Your Home’s Good First Impression

Interior dirt and clutter can obscure your home’s good points, so start with a full house cleaning, top to bottom. Store unused and unnecessary items in closets or storage areas. You may wish to consider holding a garage sale.

Eliminate clutter and your home will look more spacious. This is a key selling point.

Next, take a tour of your house, observing it like a potential buyer.

  • Walls are clean and free of smudges, fingerprints and dents
  • Woodwork and wallpaper are inspected for problem areas; wallpaper is clean and woodwork is waxed
  • Badly worn furniture is temporarily stored in family’s or neighbor’s attic or basement
  • Curtains and drapes are freshly laundered or cleaned
  • Rugs and carpets are shampooed. Floors are waxed
  • Loose doorknobs, sticking doors, windows and warped drawers are repaired
  • Leaky faucets are fixed. Water discoloration is sink is eliminated
  • Loose stair banisters are tightened and steps are free of objects
  • Light fixtures are in good working order. Discolored or cracked switchplates are replaced
  • Closets, shelves and drawers are organized to display spaciousness
  • Clothing is hung neatly and shoes and other objects are neatly arranged
  • Bathrooms are sparkling clean. Tub and shower caulking is repaired
  • Bedrooms are neat. Bedspreads and curtain are attractive
  • The kitchen is clean and tidy, including cupboards, stove and oven
  • The basement, attic and garage are clean and well organized
  • Mirrors, picture frames and glass covering pictures are clean and free of dust
  • Mirrors are strategically placed to create an impression of added space in problem areas
  • Lampshades are in good condition
  • Electrical connections are plugged in

Consider painting the walls and replacing the carpeting if cleaning doesn’t do the trick. Nothing says "new house" like new carpet and fresh paint.

It is also important to keep lighting in mind when showing your home. Good lighting will make your home seem more cheery and spacious.

Over Improving Doesn’t Pay

Don’t plan major improvements on your home. Most home buyers will want to make their own major changes. Frequently, sellers will make improvements that buyers aren’t interest in. Then the investment is for nothing.

You will be better served selling them the potential at a price they can afford.

Last Minute Details that will Maximize Your Home’s Selling Potential

Make sure the television and radio are turned off, or low enough to allow the agent and buyer(s) to talk, free of disturbances.

Children and pets should be sent outdoors or to a friend or relative. This will eliminate confusion and keep the prospect’s attention focused positively on your home.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure bad odors are eliminated from your home. Bad odors are a virtual guarantee that your home won’t sell. Spray some air freshener before the buyer arrives, especially if you have pets or the house has been closed up for some time.

Ensure that the house has adequate lighting. During the daytime open the drapes. At night make sure plenty of lights are on, including the porch light.

Store wood next to the fireplace. In winter, make sure a fire is lit.

Make sure the kitchen sink is empty and dishes are clean and put away. Magazines and children’s toys should be in order. Plants should be watered and look healthy and vibrant. You may wish to arrange fresh flowers tastefully around the house.

While your house is being shown, it is a good idea to be off the property. Ask your agent if they want you there. Nine times out of ten, they will want to negotiate with potential buyers without your presence.

Your real estate representative has the experience and training necessary to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion. If you’ve followed the advice written above, you have already done your part in preparing your home.