First impressions really count with Buyers – initial judgments are made quickly and are based primarily on appearance. A small investment of time and energy can pay considerable dividends when your home is being shown to prospective buyers.
Take a step outside and look at your home from the street. Is the house exterior in good repair? Can you easily see the house number? Are eavetroughs, soffits and downspouts in good repair? Make sure the sidewalk and driveway are tidy and free of litter and debris, lawns are cut, hedges and shrubs are trimmed, and gardens are weeded. Inspect the fence and deck and repair any loose boards and paint or stain if needed. During the winter, ensure the sidewalks are shoveled and ice is sprinkled with sand and salt.
Step up to the door. Does the doorbell work? Is door hardware in good repair? How about the door itself? Potential buyers are judging your home before they even set foot inside.
Make sure your foyer is clean, tidy and well lit. Take a closer look at the baseboards, trim and light fixtures, and ensure they are free from dust and cobwebs. Windows and window treatments (such as blinds and drapes) should be clean, and keep drapes and blinds open to allow for lots of natural light. How does it smell? The nose knows – keep your home smelling fresh but avoid strong fragrances or “air fresheners” which can be oppressive or irritating. Open the windows to allow in fresh air when you can.
Moving is a great opportunity to completely clean and reorganize your home, but don’t wait until you’re packing everything up to do it. Clean your home from top to bottom and make sure the appliances are spotless. Kitchens and bathrooms in particular should be sparkling clean. Organize closets and pack away some items – an overly full closet may show potential buyers there isn’t enough room for their belongings.
Reducing clutter is crucial for creating a positive first impression. Remember – you’re selling your home, so think of it as no longer yours but as a home buyers can envision as their own. That means packing up many of your personal items, such as family photographs, travel souvenirs and knick-knacks.
At the same time, you don’t want your home to be devoid of personality so avoid completely emptying a room. Set the dining table for a formal dinner, add some fresh flowers, and on a cold day light the fireplace. Creating an inviting atmosphere can help buyers picture themselves living in your home. Staging an empty room can help buyers visualize living in the space.
Buyers prefer to see a home that is move-in ready, so make sure even small repairs are completed, such as: