Preparing your home for showing

The first step in preparing your home for sale is to look at it through the eyes of a buyer — someone who is seeing it for the first time. With a few easy steps, we can help you make your home look attractive and inviting.

House-hunters typically begin their inspection of a property by previewing its “curb appeal.” A surprising number of homes are eliminated from consideration before potential buyers get out of their car because they find the exterior appearance unsightly or uninviting.

Following are some basic suggestions for preparing your home for sale.

Preparing the Exterior of your home for sale:

  • The first impression is the most important. Your front yard should be appealing, the steps should be clear of clutter, and the front door should be clean and free of scratches. Refinish or paint the door if necessary.
  • Lawns, shrubs and flowers. Examine the lawn and flower gardens, making sure the lawn is mowed and free of drainage problems. Colorful flowers and shrubs can enhance the home’s attractiveness.
  • Inspect Sidewalks and driveway to make sure they’re free of weeds and clutter. Get rid of stains on cement driveways. Replace worn asphalt — or recoat it.
  • Clear the decks! Clean decks, patios and steps, removing unnecessary furniture, toys and debris. Tidy up any pet areas.
  • Inspect the front door. A fresh coat of paint or stain and a clean doormat can help create an inviting “first impression.”. For less than $50, you can replace an old door handle with an impressive new one — it’s the first thing a prospective buyer will touch in your home.
  • Check lighting, making sure pathways and entry have adequate illumination.
  • Inspect the home’s exterior, looking for loose, missing or damaged siding and brickwork, a cracked and uneven foundation, and gutters, downspouts or fences that are in disrepair. Paint or repair any problem areas. If you’re handy, you can do this yourself. Even better: Paint the whole house.

Preparing the Interior of your home for sale:

Inside the home, you should conduct an equally thorough inspection, since potential buyers are likely to open doors and cupboards, look into, look behind and operate everything to make sure the home offers the space, layout and features they need. Extensive redecorating isn’t usually recommended, but all rooms should be clean and clutter-free. Think “light,” “bright,” “open” and “airy.”

  • A clean but “lived-in” look is best. Make sure your home — especially the bathrooms and kitchen — are clean, and avoid unnecessary clutter, but don’t feel you need to remove all trace of yourself from your home. A warm feeling will put prospective buyers at ease.
  • Clutter. You want your home to look sparse so prospective buyers can visualize where they would put their furniture. But you don’t want it to be empty — it makes it hard for them to see how the house looks when lived in. Best: Remove one-third of your furniture, and store it in a self-storage facility or in your neighbor’s garage.
  • Little details like house plants and flowers can make a big difference. Bright rooms add to your home’s appeal, so make sure all the windows are spotless, and keep the rooms well-lighted during the showings.
  • Minor repair jobs should be attended to. Try to take care of all you can — leaky faucets, torn screens, cracked windows, and clogged gutters will all detract from the appearance of your home.
  • A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to improve the appearance of your rooms. If your walls aren’t in the best condition, you should consider painting.
  • Carpeting. People tend to look downward when viewing a home. Replace old carpets — even inexpensive ones look great when they’re new. At the very least, have all carpets and drapes professionally cleaned.
  • Interior walls – Patch walls and ceiling cracks, then repaint or wallpaper, using neutral shades.
  • Check the garage for musty smells and signs of mildew or leaks, correcting any defects. Remove clutter from the basement and garage. Sweep floors, degrease spots and dust.
  • Inspect bathroom and kitchen fixtures to make sure they sparkle, are leak-free and are otherwise functioning well. Remove stains from countertops, sinks, tubs and showers.
When Your Home is Being Shown
  • Open draperies and shades to let in light. This will make rooms appear larger.
  • Keep radios, stereos and TVs off or turned way down.
  • Take pets outdoors when your house is being shown. Children should be quiet.
  • Be courteous but don’t force conversation with potential buyers. They want to inspect your house, not pay a social call.
  • Don’t mention furniture or furnishings you may want to sell unless asked. Trying to dispose of such items via the potential buyers before they have purchased the house often loses the sale.
  • Let the realtor show your house and don’t tag along. The salesperson knows the buyers’ requirements and can better emphasize the features of your home.
  • Let the realtor discuss the price, terms, possession and other factors with the buyers. He/she is eminently qualified to bring negotiations to a favorable conclusion.
  • Take your family away for the day, if your realtor is holding an open house.
We hope you find this information on preparing your home for sale to be helpful.