A house that "sparkles" on the surface will sell faster than it's shaby neighbor, even though both are structurally well-maintained. From experience, I also know that a well-polished house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they see is maintained, what they can't see has probably also been maintained.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SPEND? Spend as little money as possible. There is a big difference between making minor and expensive "polishes" and "touch-ups" to your house, 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 remodeling the kitchen.
DON'T HESITATE TO ASK FOR ADVICE - I can advise you what is the most cost effective plan of action.
EXTERIOR & CURB APPEAL - Experts say most buyers make their decision at first sight!
a. Manicure landsaping: mow, edge and water lawn, trim hedges, weed and fertilize flowerbeds, and prune trees.
b. Keep driveway clean and free of parked cars, and keep the garage door closed.
c. Repair or replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
d. Minimze cracks or crumbling on walkways, walls, or steps, and keep them clean and free of obstructions like toys or snow.
e. Items from RVs to waste cans left out can contribute to a cluttered or messy appearance. Make sure that from the street, your property appears clear.
f. Inspect appearance of interior window coverings from curb.
g. Repair any peeling paint or loose caulking on windows or other areas.
h. Take steps to eliminate insect or rodent pests.
i. Pick up after your pets or neighborhood animals.
j. Clean and align gutters
DOORWAY - While agents work the lockbox for a key, buyers have idle time to notice details.
a. apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door and frame.
b. Consider adding pots of flowing plants in the entryway if weather permits.
c. Eliminate cobwebs and groom doorway area windows, porchlight, or decorative glass.
INTERIOR APPEAL: Once inside,experts say most buyers are reaffirming their curbside decision.
Clean, Clear, Light and Bright!
a. Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. Hiring a cleaning service may pay for itself by adding to a buyer's preceived value of your home.
b. For a sleeker, more spacious look, consider placing furniture from crowded rooms in storage.
c. Clear kitchen counters of everything other than perhaps a few very pretty items. Ask yourself: In a model home, would a professional decorator put your choice of items out on the counter?
d. Remember: closets will be opened! Keep closets, cupboards, and even your attic orderly and neat. Since you are anticipating a move anyway, consider holding a garage sale or boxing and storing unused belongings.
e. If necessary, repaint, clean or replace dingy, soiled or strongly-colored walls, window and floor coverings with a light, neutral shade. Bright rooms look bigger, and neutral colors help buyers envision their own furnishings and decor.
f. Repair dripping faucets, burned-out light bulbs, cracked windowpanes and torn screens.
g. Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, and tiles.
h. Buy showy new towels for bathrooms, to be brought out when prospective buyers are on the way.
i. To spruce up a kitchen that needs remodeling, invest in new curtains, new cabinet knobs, clean and polish wood or add a neutral coat of paint.
WARM and HOMEY Subtle scents of potpourri in bedrooms or baths and fresh baked cookies or cinnamon in the kitchen can make your home more inviting.