If you missed Part 1, go to this link first: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1202858/advice-for-home-sellers-in-the-tri-valley-part-1
Now, let's get ready. And the biggest reasons? You want to outshine the competition, so get ready to repair, de-clutter and stage.
Buyers have been out in force for awhile now and are probably seeing their fair share of distressed homes, many in short sale status, or already bank owned. Some of these are tenant occupied, others are vacant. And as such, don't always give the best impression when a visitor walks through the front door. Here's your chance to get your house in tip-top shape before it hits the market. So, spend a few hours at open homes in your area, and check out the competition. Seeing the condition of other homes in your neighborhood may give you the inspiration, ideas and motivation you need to get going.
- Power-wash siding and roof - but not so hard that paint peels off
- Wash windows, inside and out. Consider window boxes with flowers.
- Clean deck or patio. Refurbish if necessary, and accessorize
- Replaced tired looking exterior lighting
- Keep your garage door closed.
Yard and Gardens
- Remove any vehicles not in use, such as cars, boats, RV's and store them off site
- Cracked or damaged walkways. If they're on your property, make any reasonable repairs. If they are on city property, call and ask if they can be repaired.
- Weed, and mulch garden beds
- Mow lawn, trim edges, rake
- Prune shrubs and trees
- Sweep sidewalks, clear weeds from cracks
- Once yards have been manicured, keep them fresh with regular watering and fertilizing.
- Add some seasonal annuals for a nice burst of color.
- Keep newspapers and pet litter picked up
- Clean porch. Repaint if needed. Accessorize with a new mailbox, potted flowers, stylish outdoor furniture, wall plaque or sculpture.
- Clean the surface of the front door, including glass, and door hardware.
- If scratched or scuffed, repaint or refinish
- Make sure knob, lock and doorbell work, and door does not stick
- If screen door is not steel or tempered glass, remove it
- Put out the welcome mat! Make sure it isn't worn or damaged, and is kept clean.
- If your mailbox has seen better day, consider giving it a makeover. It is one of the first things potential buyers will see as they approach your home.
- Pare back on personal effects. Box up and store excess books, photographs and knick knacks. Potential buyers need to be able to visualize their belongings in your home. This is more easily accomplished when they are not surrounded by family photos and memorabilia.
- Clean out the closets - you'll need to do this anyway as you prepare to move. Neatly organized cupboards and closets will appear larger.
- Invest in a large toy box with a lid, this will make for a great place to hide toys and make a kids room (or family room) look much more appealing!
- Simplify - remove excess pieces of furniture. Remember you're selling the space, not your things. Make sure buyers can see the potential in each room.
- Consider staging for the ‘wow factor'.
- Clean woodwork, hardwood floors, with special attention to bathrooms. They should sparkle!
- Make sure beds are always made and dishes are not in the sink.
- Professionally steam clean carpets, or replace if badly worn.
- Make sure fireplaces, microwave ovens, stovetops and ranges are clean.
- If you will be living in the home while it's on the market, consider a regular housekeeping service to insure it's picture perfect for viewing.
- Look up! Don't forget light fixtures and ceiling fans.
- Replace damaged blinds or window screens. Clean window and door tracks.
- Repair any dripping faucets or noisy toilets. Many buyers will check these out!
- Re-caulk showers, tub and sink areas, and tile counters if needed.
- Little things matter - check for loose cabinetry knobs, doors and drawers that stick.
- Inspect every door in your home and make sure they open and close smoothly. Replace any door hardware that does not work properly. Apply machine oil to any squeaky hinges. A stuck door can stick in the in of a potential buyer.
- Brighten up rooms by letting the sunshine in. Avoid heavy or dark window coverings.
- Freshen paint. Choose neutral, and lighter colors if repainting. Replace worn or cheap curtains with treatments that look stylish from both sides of the window.
- Replace all burned out light bulbs.
Prepare for visitors
- If you have smokers or pets in the household, invest in professional services to deodorize carpets and furnishings.
- Consider professional staging if you really want your home to impress.
- It's preferable to keep pets out of the house, or at least out of the way during showings.
- Keep valuables out of site, and locked up.
- Keep counter tops cleared
- No dirty dishes in the sink
- No laundry in the washer/dryer
- Turn on lights and open blinds and draperies in all rooms.
- Climate control - have the heat or AC on for your guest's comfort
- Do your best to be away when a prospective buyer comes to your home, or at least take a short walk or wait in the yard while they tour your home.
- A mildly scented candle burning, or light potpourri can lend a homey touch.
- Turn off the television, and have soft background music playing.
- Bake some fresh cookies for your guests.