Get Your Home Ready to Show to Buyers

A home that "sparkles" on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor, even when both are structurally well maintained.

From experience, REALTORS®also know that a "well-polished" home appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. If the things buyers can see are well maintained, they assume that what they can't see has probably also been well maintained. In readying your home for sale, consider:

  • how much should you spend to prepare your home for sale?

  • how much should you do to improve exterior and curb appeal?

  • how much should you do to improve interior appeal?

Before putting your home on the market, take as much time as necessary (and spend as little money as possible) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal.

How Much Should You Spend to Prepare Your Home for Sale?

In preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren't likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive polishes and touch-ups to your home - such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room - and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen.

My partners and I are familiar with buyers' expectations in your community and can advise you specifically on which improvements should be made and which improvements are most effective. Don't hesitate to ask for advice.

Maximizing Exterior and Curb Appeal

When preparing to put your home on the market, your first concern is the home's exterior. If the outside, or "curb appeal," looks good, people will want to see what's on the inside.

Here are some tips to enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal:

  • Keep the lawn edged, cut, and watered. 

  • Regularly trim hedges and weed lawns and flowerbeds.

  • Be sure your front door area has a "Welcome" feeling.

  • Paint the front door if it looks worn.

  • In spring and summer, add a few pots of showy annuals near your front entrance.

  • In snowy areas, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.

  • Check foundation, steps, walkways, walls, and patios for cracks and deterioration, and fix any problem areas.

  • Remove peeling paint and repaint doors and windows (where needed).

  • Clean and align gutters.

  • Inspect and clean the chimney.

  • Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.

  • Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.

  • Reseal old asphalt.

  • Keep the garage door closed.

  • Store RVs and old cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.

Maximizing Interior Appeal

You want your home to look as spacious, bright, and clean as possible. The home should look neutral – without a lot of personal and sentimental objects - so buyers can begin to imagine living there.

Here are some tips to enhance your home’s interior appeal:

  • Give every room a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. This alone will make your home appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms actually rent storage space and move out some furniture, creating a sleeker, more spacious look.

  • Use a professional cleaning service every few weeks while the house is on the market.

  • Remove less-frequently used, and even daily-used, items from kitchen counters, closets, basement, and attic to make these areas more inviting.

  • Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms; they should look as modern, bright, and fresh as possible. It is essential for them to be clean and odor free.

  • Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.

  • Buy new towels for the bathroom, and put them out only for showings.

  • Spruce up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by installing new curtains and cabinet knobs, or applying a fresh coat of neutral paint.

  • Clean walls and doors of smudges and scuff marks.

  • If necessary, repaint dingy, soiled or strongly-colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum.

  • Check for cracks, leaks, and signs of dampness in the attic and basement, and fix any problem areas.

  • Seal basement walls if there are any signs of dampness or leakage.

  • Repair cracks, holes, or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.

  • Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork.

  • Inspect and repair the plumbing, heating, cooling, and alarm systems.