Making Your Home Ready to Sell

First Impressions are Crucial

Buyers begin judging your home the moment they see it. Sometimes a small investment in time and money will impress buyers and can give you a big edge over your competition and generate a faster sale at a higher price. Depending on your home’s condition, there are three kinds of improvements that help you sell for top market value: renovations, upgrades and repairs, reorganization and maintenance. Along these lines, what follows are a few proven, cost-effective ideas that will help your home look its best so you get top market value.


Repairs and General Maintenance Will Make A Big Difference

There are few things that put buyers off more than viewing a home that screams of being uncared for. While buyers might not notice such work when it is done, they’re sure to notice when it isn’t. If you want to maximize your chances for getting top dollar you’ll definitely need to make all necessary repairs.
Here are a few relatively minor upgrades and repairs that can go a long way to improving how buyers perceive your home:


  • Make sure major appliances are in good working order. Clean the interior of the oven and microwave. Buyers will look inside.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs and make certain the switches are working.
  • Replace damaged switch, outlet plates and register vents.
  • Clean or replace damaged carpets. Replace damaged floor tiles.
  • Bathrooms are VERY important. Repair any water leaks. Replace disclored caulking and regrout tiles if needed.
  • Clear all dirt out of the track of a sliding exterior door and make certain it slides easily. Buyers almost always open, or attempt to open, sliders.
  • Repair wall and ceiling cracks or holes. Repaint discolored areas such as a ceiling stained from a water leak. While you may have long ago resolved the leak, buyers will think it it's an ongoing condtion.
  • Clean an organize the basement and garage.

Exterior and Landscaping


  • Make the front entrance inviting to create a positive attitude in the mind of the buyer before entering your home. Clean or paint front door, make certain the door knobs are tight and the locking mechanism works easily. Paint or replace rusted metal such as a railing, mailbox or light fixture. Placing potted plants beside the front door is a good idea.
  • Fix or replace damaged gutters and downspouts, windows, shutters, screens, storm doors, porches and steps, walkways and fences.
  • Touch up flaking or pealing exterior paint.
  • The garage door should look good and work smoothly. Consider replacing if dented.
  • Repair dry lawn patches, make sure flower garden are cleared of weeds, and trim the bushes.
  • Mow and rake the lawn, trim hedges and shrubs, weed and edge gardens.
  • Clean sidewalks and driveway, remove any litter.
  • Remove unnecessary items from the exterior of the house.
  • Power wash the porch, siding, deck and patio.
  • Clean your air conditioner.


Our Thoughts about Clutter

For most buyers, cluttered homes tend to appear smaller, less full of air and light, and somehow requiring of more maintenance. Conversely, clutter-free homes generally seem brighter, more open and spacious, perhaps cleaner and requiring less maintenance. Additionally, clutter-free homes can make it easier for buyers to visualize their own interior design ideas, as well as the placement of all their belongings.

While you may have many beautiful and meaningful belongings, they might make it more difficult for you to sell and cost you thousands of dollars when you do.


Depersonalizing: What's Important?

By most Realtor® definitions depersonalizing is the act of removing most items of a personal nature. Family photographs, souvenirs, collections, DVD and CD collections and framed diplomas, degrees and awards from your home.

We don't totally agree with this notion. We've seen houses depersonalized to the point of looking more like a cold institution than a place to call home. We believe you should consider the kind of person who will likely be looking at your home and stage accordingly.

Example: If you're selling a four bedroom family home, it's most likely that the buyer is seeking a family home. They'll feel comfortable when they see evidence of a family. So, if you have a family portrait hanging over the fireplace leave it. On the other hand, a wall of disorganized photos might visually close in the room and fall into the "clutter" catagory.

Framed diplomas and awards say "success". Leave them. CD and DVD collections can give a buyer something to relate to. Discovering that the seller has similar tastes can be a positive.

Do remove items that may be disturbing to a buyer. These include animal trophies; posters and picture of a sexual nature; gun, knife and sword collections.