Home Enhancement Guide - Investing in Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with Benchmark Realty, LLC

First Impression: 

You probably have heard how important first impressions can be.  But did you know that within the first 15 seconds a buyer had developed an opinion of your property?  This is why establishing the right first impression is critical to success.


The Home Front: 

Street:  Make sure the street in front of your home is free of litter and debris.

Fire Hydrant:  Although you do not own it make sure it is clean and maintained.

Sidewalk:  Sweep your sidewalk entry, remove weeds.

Mailbox/Light Fixtures:  Paint the old box and make sure the light fixtures are not worn and rusted. 

Fence/Decks:  Freshly stained/ painted fence and decks.

Front Walkway:  Clean and sweep and repair cracks.

Driveway:  Ensure surface condition is in good condition and consider resealing .  If you have a car in the drive make sure it is clean and shiny,  a poorly cared for car results in a buyers impression of a poorly cared for home.

Paint:  A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in first impression.  If you do not need the entire house painted give a fresh look to the entry and front. 

Siding:  If you have vinyl, wood or stucco have it cleaned.  Power washers are great tools to freshen the look of the curb appeal.


Replace cracked or broken seal windows,  make sure every window is in good working condition.

Make the windows sparkle, apply touch up paint where needed.

Roof:  A well maintained roof makes the single most important aspect of your home front.  Replace broken or missing tiles, repair flashing, paint where needed, if you roof is too old replace if needed.

Gutters/Downspouts:  Neat and trim looking gutters and downspouts make a house look great.  Improve your spillways. 

Doorway:  The door is the focal point of your house,  repaint or stain, apply new door hardware, replace house numbers, put flowers out along side the door, install nice lighting at the front door. 


Appeal to the Senses:   

Light:  People react to bright light more than dark, keep the house as light as possible:

Keep windows clean

Use adequate wattage in lights.

Use mirrors to magnify the light

Use track and high-tech lights

Use light wall color paint

Open drapes and blinds and turn on all lights prior to showings. 


Neutral and light colors are best for paint.

Avoid heavy patterned wallpaper. 

Use accents for color, flowers, vases, rugs, towels, paintings.


Peaceful and quiet are the best sounds in a house. 

Be aware of barking dogs, avoid sounds of vacuums, dishwashers and mowers,  light classical music can be effective during showings.


Smell has a big impact good smells or bad smells.

The smell of new carpet, paint are good, the smell of cleanliness is important, such as lemon wax or fresh flowers.  Smells of pets, tobacco, cooking can be very distracting and subconsciously be a negative without saying a word.

Interior Spaces:


The entry is the first impression, repaint, attractive furnishings, clean floors, replace switch plates and fixtures and lights on.

Kitchen:  The most important room in the house for impact and value.    

Make this space spotless, lemons in the disposal, clean, clean and clean.  Replace any old appliances, new knobs in an older kitchen may help, replace door fronts as an option.  Organize the kitchen, remove small appliances de clutter all horizontal surfaces.  Repair any paint or chips in counters.  Fresh paint is always a great way to spruce up the kitchen. 

Bathroom:  Strong selling point of a home.    

Place vase of flowers on vanity, replace old toilet seat, replace old light fixtures with new track or strip lighting, refinish old tub, get all personal articles out of sight,  freshen air with lemon scented products, replace towel racks and towels, shower curtains, re-caulk shower and bath, clean grouts.   

Living Room/Great Room:  the room that makes a statement to family and friends.

Use mirrors to help enhance perception of size.  Clean the fireplace and have it going if appropriate, dress up with plants or candles in warmer months.  Use accent lighting behind large furniture or plants.  Professionally clean carpet and rugs, sand and refinish hardwood floors.  Make sure plaster and walls are repaired and painted.  Use lemon oil on wood and use fresh flower liberally all around the room.


Make sure they are spotless, rugs cleaned, windows sparkle and smells from flowers and lemon.  Organize closets and decrease amount in them.  Make sure the lights work and are good wattage for the room.  Ceiling fans are great but ensure the blades are clean.


Special Features:

The Details: 

Basement and Attic:  Paint a bare cement floor with an oil based gray.  Paint the stairway down to the basement or up to the attic.  Clean the boiler or furnace.  Make sure there are not signs of pests and remedy before property is shown.  Hang objects on the walls, minimize clutter on floor.  Clean and organize laundry, make sure all lights are working. 

Garage:  Keep neat and Organized.  Clean oil stains from cars, paint floor oil based gray(with speckles is nice).  Install garage openers, Hang tools on walls, have a garage sale to remove clutter.                                    

Swimming Pool / Spa:  Replace any broken tiles, clean all decks and patios, clean all filter systems, replace worn equipment. 

The End Result:

By showing attention to the details and understanding the buyers need to visualize your house against a neutral backdrop, you can dramatically increase the salability of your property. 

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