Dress Your House
Look at your home through the eyes of a prospective Buyer if you're considering selling. When your property is clean and uncluttered, and shows a good state of repair, then it immediately reduces any negative objections a Buyer may have. Changing the style, size, or location of your home may not be feasible, but you can keep it looking like a model. You'll get a quicker offer, and a higher price, when the Buyer feels good about what they see.
Create Curb Appeal
Like a 'storefront window', have your home look great on the outside, to entice you inside.
Spring & Summer - Cut and edge your lawn. Weed and prune your gardens. Hang some flower baskets. Touch up paint or re-paint with a neutral colour if necessary. Keep your driveway free from oil spots and sweep it regularly. Keep your walkways free from toys, newspapers, and litter. Replace chipped or cracked patio stones if need be. Have the front door looking fresh and clean with a working doorbell and functional hardware. Sweep away bugs and cobwebs from light fixtures and around doors. Put out a welcome sign or mat. Keep your recycling boxes out of sight.
Fall - Rake your leaves regularly. Keep eaves troughs free from debris. Pick up loose branches. Keep decks, patios, and porches swept and uncluttered.
Winter - Shovel driveway regularly. Keep walkways free from ice and snow, and salt them when needed.
The best way to keep your home and garage open and spacious is to keep it clutter free. Look through your belongings and decide what you can throw out, store, sell, or give away.
Start by reducing visual things on tabletops, floors, and counters. Extra ornaments, furniture, small appliances, etc. should be packed and stored neatly in the basement or garage. Make sure all hallways and bedrooms are free and clear from toys, laundry, and other incidentals. Closets and cupboards should be coordinated and organized neatly. Leave one set of towels in the bathroom and keep the medicine chest and vanity arranged nicely. Keep the front door free from extra boots, shoes and coats. Keep your recroom and office space free from excess magazines, papers, books, etc. Reduce the number of pictures and posters on walls if need be. Let the colour show through.
When your home is in a good state of repair then it emulates 'pride of ownership'. The Buyer will reduce any objections, and may not wonder about any hidden problems.
Fix cracks in walls, ceilings or flooring. Repair leaky faucets, broken windows, and ripped screens. Tighten loose doorknobs and oil squeaky hinges. Repair or replace torn wallpaper, and paint accordingly, perhaps your deck as well. Shampoo the carpets... this freshens them up, gets rid of odours, and may remove any stains. Caulk windows, tubs, and sinks, if necessary. And, to assist a future home inspection, have your fireplace, furnace, and air conditioning unit serviced and cleaned.
If you've created 'curb appeal' then keep it flowing. Clean your home from top to bottom, inside and out, and from room to room. Make it sparkle like a model home!
The kitchen, bathrooms, and the front entry way are the chief areas to consider. Clean rust and mildew from grout, sinks and tubs. Wipe down counter tops and make appliances and mirrors shine. Floors, walls, and ceilings should all be grease and dirt free. Wax floors if need be, and polish the hardwood if you have it. Vacuum and dust regularly. Help your cause by changing the furnace filter and keeping the furnace clean. Wash your windows inside and out and keep them cobweb free. Keep your bedrooms inviting, spacious, and laundry free. If you have pets, then keep their sleeping and litter areas tidy and odour free.
A Buyer will visualize their furniture and belongings in each room. Although you've decorated to your satisfaction, not every article will coincide with your personal colour scheme.
If your home has a bold colour or design you might consider painting or re-decorating with a softer, neutral shade. Perhaps white, tan or cream. This offers a more open feeling, and allows furniture to blend with it. Conversely, if your home is already neutral, you may wish to add a splash of border colour to help set it off.
Add a special touch to each room to make the Buyer feel at home.
Create ambiance by adding fresh flowers or plants. Drape an afghan over the living room sofa, or have a game or open book on the recroom table. Try rearranging the furniture in rooms to see if it adds more space. Add throw-pillows to beds and have the scent of candles or potpourri in the air.
You've worked hard to get your home ready, and the next step is to get 'showings'.
Keep your home tidy and organized on a daily basis, and clean up after your pets. Someone may wish to view it on short notice. Light a few candles to create atmosphere before a showing, and add some soft music. Set the thermostat to a comfortable level and adjust any blinds or drapes depending on the time of day. Rooms should be well lit and feel cheery.
It's practical to be away during a showing. Consider containing your pets, or perhaps take them with you. If it's not possible to leave then you should stay in one room and let the REALTOR® show your home. Be polite, and only give brief answers to any questions. The Buyer will feel like an intruder, so allow them the time and space to relax and enjoy the surroundings.