Often, the most inexpensive improvements have the greatest impact when you’re getting your home ready to go on the market. You don’t have to do a complete remodel – in fact that’s rarely recommended. But you will have to roll up your sleeves and put in some effort to appeal to the most buyers.
First, a top-to-bottom cleaning is in order. Take an honest look around at your things. Anything shabby and worn should be donated, fixed or replaced. Decluttering will make the rooms appear more spacious so consider putting some of your belongings in storage. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral beige or gray tone is also recommended.
Here’s a room-by-room list of more recommendations for preparing your house for market, from Long & Foster’s Home Seller’s Guide.
Exterior. Clean up debris and put away yard care items and toys. No sagging gutters or buckled roof shingles. Trim hedges and cut grass. Paint where needed, and if it’s winter, keep walkways clear of ice and snow.
Foyer. Make sure your home’s interior creates a great first impression. It should smell fresh and clean, be free of clutter and have a new, neutral coat of paint. If it’s an evening showing, turn on all the lights. Remove worn rugs.
Living room. Strive for a lived-in, comfortable feeling. Make sure furniture is clean and in good condition and arranged in a pleasing manner. Open curtains and blinds to let sunlight in.
Kitchen. Appliances should be spotless and in working condition. Get rid of clutter and put away countertop appliances. Clean the counters, cabinets and floors. There should be no strong odors, just a clean smell.
Owners’ bedroom. Buyers want to see this room as an uncluttered sanctuary. Areas should be clearly defined by furniture placement – sitting area, sleeping, dressing, etc. Make closets look more spacious by removing out-of-season and extra clothing, leaving a good amount of empty space on rods and shelves.
Bathrooms. They should be sparkling clean. Sink, toilet, floor, walls, mirrors and shower curtains should be immaculate.
Recreation room. Go for an atmosphere of relaxation, fun and activity. The space should be open to accommodate a range of activities. The fireplace or wood stove should be clean, with fresh logs.
Garage. The ideal garage holds only cars and uncluttered space. Sell, donate or toss unnecessary items. Clean the floors. Have strong overhead lighting. All workbenches and storage areas should be tidy.
Basement. Organize and put everything on shelves. Change the furnace filter and make inspection access easy. Paint to brighten up walls.
Attic. Tidy up, light it up and pack away anything you’re going to move. Donate the rest. Make sure the attic fan/air vent works, and be sure your energy-saving insulation is apparent.
This is the fourth in a series of articles about selling your home. Read additional posts in the series here.