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Preparing your home for sale

It only takes 15 seconds for a prospective buyer to decide how they feel about your house.

That is how long your house has to make a good impression and capture that buyer. If you are getting ready to list your house, here are some tips to make yours stand out from the crowd.

The first thing a potential buyer notices is your home’s exterior or “curb appeal.” If the outside of your home looks unappealing you will never get that buyer in the door. Make sure the lawn is mowed, the bushes are trimmed and all the “stuff” — kids toys, garden equipment and junk — is put away.

Landscaping is important in the spring and summer months. Plant some colorful flowers and hang a few baskets with flowers and a new welcome mat by the front entrance. Make sure there is no peeling or faded paint on the exterior of your home. Paint your front door a stand-out color to make your entry pop.

Moving on to the interior, the front entryway is the first impression buyers will have of the inside of your home. Again, de-clutter, you don’t want prospective buyers tripping over 10 pairs of shoes when they walk in the front door. Pack up unnecessary knickknacks and personal family photos. You want buyers to be able to picture their family living there. Make sure every room is clutter free. You may love your collections displayed throughout the house, but to a potential buyer they are distracting so pack them away to take to your new home.

Most buyers are looking for a move-in ready home so try to neutralize your décor. If you have wallpaper, take it down. If your carpet is stained and worn, replace it. If your walls are painted vibrant colors, repaint them in neutral shades. Don’t worry about picking the wrong color carpet or paint. Buyers will appreciate that it is clean and fresh.

In the kitchen, clear everything off your countertops. Buyers need to see that you have ample workspace in the kitchen. Same idea for closets. Clear out as much stuff as possible so when buyers open a closet, things aren’t falling out on them. Buyers want storage space and if all your closets are overflowing with stuff, the message is there isn’t enough storage in the house.

The next big issue is odors in your home. You live there every day and probably have grown accustomed to any odor your home may have. Cooking odors, pet odors, diaper odors, smoking odors and mold can all turn off buyers. Ask your Realtor for an honest assessment of how your house smells. Buyers will notice offensive odors as soon as they walk in the door and it will overshadow any positive features your home may have. If you have an odor problem, deal with it before you put your house on the market. Covering them up with air fresheners and scented candles will not work. You need to attack the source of the odor and remove it completely. Pet stains and smoke in particular can live in carpet and upholstery. Shampooing them thoroughly may take care of the problem, but if not they may need to be replaced.

Lastly, give your house a good thorough cleaning. Wash windows, woodwork, counters and cabinets. Clean carpets, floors and blinds. Clean behind furniture and inside closets. Shine bathroom fixtures, faucets and kitchen appliances. Potential buyers look everywhere and dirt is a big turnoff. They will see the dirt behind the toilet and the mildew in the bathtub and no, closing the shower curtain doesn’t help.

Fix anything that is broken. Buyers will notice and think your home has not been properly maintained. Don’t forget the basement and garage. Buyers will look there, too. Make sure they are as clean and clutter free as possible.

When you are going to have a showing on your house, open the curtains and blinds. Turn on all the lights. Make sure everything is clean, the beds are made, the dishes are out of the sink, the laundry is off the floor and your home is odor free. Follow these tips and you will be on your way to “SOLD.”

 

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