Walk across the street and look at your property as if you were a potential buyer. Ask yourself what a buyer might not like. The following is a list of suggestions:
Lawn: The yard should be neatly mowed, raked and edged.
Trees/Shrubs: Should be pruned and shaped to compliment the property.
Flowers: Consider adding seasonal flowers.
Sidewalks/Driveways: Should be swept and washed to remove debris, dirt and stains. Cracks should be repaired and patched.
Painting: Check the home for any needed maintenance just as a buyer would. Repaint or touch up as necessary. You can't find a better investment when you are selling your house! Don't let the outside turn buyers off before the inside turns them on.
Doors/Windows: All doors and windows should be in good working order. Clean and paint doors if necessary, wash all windows and replace any broken or cracked window panes. Screens should be free of any tears or holes. Inspect all locks to ensure that they are functioning properly.
Roofs/Gutters/Downspouts: Check for loose or missing shingles. Clean out gutters and downspouts. Touch up peeling areas on gutters.
Atmosphere: When placing yourself in the potential buyer's shoes, you will want to consider the overall atmosphere of your home. Keep color, lighting and smell in mind as you go through the home. Create an atmosphere within your home as one of shelter, a place that is safe and warm, and in good condition.
Smell: A clean-smelling house creates a positive image in the buyer's mind. Be aware of any odors from cooking, cigarettes, pets, etc. that may have adverse affects on potential buyers.
Color: Be cautious when selecting colors when painting or replacing carpeting. The key is to promote your home to the largest segment of the buying market as possible. Stay with neutral colors --let the new owner choose their own color scheme.
Lighting: Take advantage of natural light as much as possible by cleaning windows, opening shades and drapes, etc. Add lamps and lighting where necessary. Be sure that all fixtures are clean and have functioning bulbs. Increase the wattage of the bulbs in the basement area.
Walls: Check for peeling paint, loose wall paper. Consider replacing unusual or bold colors with neutral tones.
Floors: Clean all wall-to-wall carpeting and area rugs. Clean and polish linoleum, tile, and wooden floors. Consider refinishing wood floors if necessary.
Closets: Empty closets of off-season clothing and pack for the move. Organize them to demonstrate the most efficient use of space. Leave as few items on the floor or shelves as possible.
Furniture: Arrange furniture to give the rooms as spacious a feeling as possible. Consider removing furniture from rooms that are too crowded. Avoid clutter. Pack up knick-knacks, both to protect them and to give the room a more spacious feel if necessary, but leave enough items to give the home a personal touch. Dispose of unneeded items. Store large furniture if necessary.
Woodwork: Clean and polish all woodwork if necessary. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bath cabinets.
Bathrooms: Cleanliness is the key! Make sure that all surfaces are spotless and remove non-skid decals that are in poor condition. Replace worn or dirty shower curtains, clean and repair caulking, and store all personal care products out of sight. Repair any faucets that leak or do not function properly. Clean off mineral deposits with vinegar or commercial products. Clear off countertops. Clean and organize all cabinets and drawers. Shampoo throw rugs. Consider bringing out your best soaps and towels. Add a plant for color and freshness.
Fireplace: Sweep and clean the fireplace. Place a few logs on the grate to create an attractive appearance. You are welcome to have a fire going during showings; it creates a great atmosphere.
Appliances and Light Fixtures: Clean, bright, sparkling and shiny!!
Dining room: Consider adding fresh or silk flowers, or setting the table with an attractive arrangement.
Kitchen: Avoid clutter. Store small appliances whenever possible to maximize the appearance of work space. Clean and organize all storage space. Sinks, cabinets, appliances and counter tops should be clean and fresh.
Basement/Attic: The basement and attic should be cleaned and organized. Be sure that the stairs are cleared and well-lighted, and that the handrail is secure. Remove and dispose of any items that will not be moved with you. Pack other items neatly in boxes.
Garage: Sweep and wash the floor to remove dirt and stains. Organize tools, garden equipment, bicycles, etc.
Items not included in the sale: Remove (and replace if applicable) any items that will not be included in the sale of the property, such as light fixtures.
Thank you for visiting today. If this is your first visit, take your time and look around. I have plenty of information and resources available to you. If you are a return visitor, thank you. I would love to hear from you and tell you how I can serve all your real estate needs.