The 2 D's - DECLUTTER & DEPERSONALIZE
You are selling your home. Why not go ahead and start packing away the things you can do without. Make 3 groups:
- Stuff to throw away
- Stuff to donate
- Stuff to keep and box up.
This will go a long way towards DECLUTTERING. The goal is to make the room look bigger. Remove all distractions, starting with the refrigerator. Take off all magnets, note boards and photos. Again, you do not want your buyer's concentration on what a lovely home you have distracted by a refrigerator that looks like it could fall over from the weight of "do-dads" stuck to the doors (and while you are at it, clean out the inside).
DEPERSONALIZE - Remove everything that provides any information about who lives in the home, from photos to diplomas, awards and certificates.
CLEAN - Dirt puts off a buyer quicker than any other thing. You would not believe the condition of some of the homes I have shown. Clean like you have never cleaned before. Besides the obvious like a clean oven, stove and bathtub, that small build up in the kid’s bathroom corner that you've grown accustomed to and no longer notice will stick out like a sore thumb to a potential buyer. They may see it as neglect and wonder what else has been neglected that they cannot see, like the furnace in the attic. Kitchens and bathrooms especially, need to be SPOTLESS. Change all air filters and clean fans and lighting fixtures. Get out the broom and knock down the cobwebs from the corners. Look to see if dust bunnies are hanging from the textured ceiling in the utility room.
Clean all windows inside and out and don't forget to clean out the gutters. You want to present the buyer with a home that they feel has been well cared for.
And if at all possible put pets, litter boxes, bedding and bowls out of sight. Your potential buyer may be allergic to their dander. Keep in mind that you have been living with that litter box and no matter how much you think there is no odor, to the person walking in for the first time, there is. So if nothing else, hide it during the showings.
Make a deal with the kids to help you keep the home in "Model Condition" by picking up dirty clothes, putting away toys, putting toothbrushes, tooth paste and hair products away before leaving for school. And have them wipe off the sink counters. Sanitizing disposable wipes are great for this as they can just be tossed in the trash.
Make a daily checklist the entire family can use:
- Flush the toilet
- Wipe and dry the counter top & sink
- Put away toothbrushes, toothpaste and hair products
- Make sure used towels and washcloths are out of sight.
- Make the bed
- Put away clothes and toys
- Rinse off dishes and stack in dishwasher, leaving the kitchen clean and in model condition.
REPAIR - Not only electrical codes and plumbing repairs, but pay attention to the little things such as chipped tile, faucets that no longer shine, missing door stops, cracked light switches and plug plates, and any missing knobs or hardware. Everything will be noticed by the potential home buyer and good repair equates to good condition.
If needed, have the carpet stretched and by all means have it professionally steam cleaned. Dirty carpets are an instant turn-off. If all else fails, replace the carpet. It will reflect a well-maintained house. And don't forget the doorbell. If it no longer works, get a new one. Many buyers associate the door bell with the feeling of being at home and they do ring it. If you have hardwood floors and they have lost their luster, have them professionally refinished or coat with a do-it-yourself refinishing kit. You will make up the difference with money well-spent by getting a higher price for your home than had you not put in a little extra elbow grease a few extra dollars.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT REPAIRS – You may perform repairs on your home prior to inspections, however AFTER the inspector comes, all repairs must be performed by a professional and sometimes certified &/or licensed professional and receipts must be presented at closing.