BEFORE YOUR HOME IS SHOWN
One of the keys to success in today’s ultra-competitive real estate market is to position your home as the most desirable property at a given price in a given area. Obviously, the most important variable in that equation is price. But making sure your home is in optimal showing condition will set it apart from the competition and could be the difference between a timely and productive sale and a long, drawn-out process.
Here is a checklist of preparations to make before showing your home. Be sure to consult your @properties agent to find out what improvements they recommend.
De-Clutter. Go through your home room by room and ask yourself what you can throw away and what you can box up and put in storage. Pay extra attention to areas like closets, bookcases, shelves, and kitchen and bathroom counters.
Organize. Lack of storage space can be a deal-breaker. Go through your closets and pantries and throw away, give away or put away anything you don’t need. Clean out bedroom closets so that hanging clothes are aligned and have ample space. Remove items from closet floors. Reorganize and clean out your kitchen cabinets and line up dishes and glassware. Make sure bathroom and kitchen drawers are neatly organized – even your junk drawer.
Clean. Give your home a deep clean from top to bottom, including windows, upholstery and carpet, and the refrigerator and oven (yes, buyers actually open them).
Paint. A fresh coat of paint is the least expensive, most effective way to enhance the appearance of your home. Be sure to use neutral colors. Consult your agent for recommendations.
Brighten your home. Light gives the impression of space, so it’s important for every room in your home to have ample light at any time of day. Prior to showings, wash windows, raise blinds and turn on lights. Add floor and table lamps to brighten dark rooms or corners.
Maintain the exterior. If you live in a single-family home or townhome, maintain your lawn and landscaping. In winter, shovel and de-ice walkways. In a condominium, pay attention to the area in front of the doorway. Keep it neat and inform the superintendent of any problems, such as burned-out lights. Make balconies, decks and patios inviting with potted plants and flowers.
Make repairs. Consult with your agent prior to undertaking a large-scale home improvement project, but go ahead and make easy repairs such as touch-up spackling and painting, replacing a cracked window or torn screen, fixing a leaky faucet and changing burned out light bulbs.
Remove personal property. If you do not plan on including personal property such as window treatments or light fixtures as part of a sale, then remove them prior to your first showing and replace them with attractive alternatives.
Remove pets. Keep pets out of the home during showings. Also be sure to conceal food bowls and litter boxes. If pet odors are present, have the home professionally cleaned.
Hire a home inspector. Hiring a professional, licensed home inspector prior to putting your home on the market allows you to spot potential problems and make repairs before buyers make them an issue.
Disclose everything. By law sellers must disclose existing structural and mechanical problems, flooding, the presence of lead paint, information on radon hazards and other known defects to potential buyers. Withholding this information can have much more serious repercussions than the problem itself.