Every seller wants his or her home to sell fast and bring top market value. With careful planning and knowing how to prepare your home for sale you can help accomplish that goal. Here are a few suggestions from About.com that can turn your home into an irresistible and marketable property.
Disassociate Yourself With Your Home Try to say, “This is a house — a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf. Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.
De-Personalize; pack your personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers have difficulty seeing past personal items and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there! You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live in this home?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”
De-Clutter; we sometimes collect an amazing quantity of “stuff”. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.
If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away? Remove books from bookcases. Pack up those knickknacks. Clean off everything on the 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.
Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets – Buyers will open closets and cabinet doors. 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 your shoes.
Remove or Replace Favorite Items – If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, they won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer they can’t have an item, they will want it, and it could make negotiations difficult. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.
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. Replace burned-out light bulbs. If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now. 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. Polish chrome faucets and mirrors. Clean out the refrigerator. Wax floors. Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. Bleach dingy grout. Replace worn rugs. Hang up fresh towels. Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
Scrutinize Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you? Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer. Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until they make sense. Make sure window coverings hang evenly. Tune into the room’s statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
Check Curb Appeal. If a buyer won’t get out of their agent’s car because they don’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get them inside. Keep the sidewalks cleared. Keep the plants and garden looking organized. Paint faded trim. Plant flowers or group flower pots together. Trim your bushes. Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number or see its name.