You’ve decided to sell. Look at your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and be honest with yourself: what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and tossed out or given away? If you were buying this home what would you want to see? Your goal is to make your home look good, maximize space and attract as many buyers as possible.

The first and most important thing you want to do in preparing your house for market is to make sure it has good curb appeal. Curb appeal is simply the first impression a prospective buyer gets when driving by the house.

It has been said that up to 80% of the decision to buy a house is made before even entering the home, so it doesn’t matter how great your house looks inside if buyers won’t go through the front door. You could have the greatest floor plan, and the greatest decor, but if your house is unsightly from the outside, a lot of people will never ring the bell.

So by all means start on the outside of the house and use common sense. Keep the lawn mowed and watered, trim the shrubs, make sure there isn’t any peeling paint, and keep weeds out of the flower beds. Put some color in the landscaping and plant some flowers.

Make sure there aren’t any unsightly vehicles in the driveway. If you have an older car that looks its age, park it down the road or at a friend’s house. Keep the yard clean and pristine. When you can look at the outside of your house from the street and it looks better than it ever has, it is time to move to the inside of the house.

Here’s a checklist:

– Water, mow, weed, & edge lawn regularly.

– Trim hedges,prune trees, and tend to flowerbeds regularly.

– Mend cracks in walkways, driveway, walls, foundation, and patios.

– Patch up or repaint doors and windows with peeling paint.

– Clean and align gutters.

– Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.

– Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.

– Keep your garage door closed.

– Move old cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.

– Be sure your front door area has a warm, “Welcome” feeling.

Inside you want to make things look as open and bright as possible. Keep all the blinds and curtains open and the windows clean. If a room feels or looks cluttered, move some of your extra furniture into a storage space or a friend’s house. Remember, you’ll be moving anyway, so start sorting and have that garage sale.

Keep the inside of your house smelling good. Any senses you can stimulate when someone enters your house will help create emotional attachment to the home. Don’t overdo the aroma therapy, but make the house smell pleasant – no stale cooking odors, no pet odors, no diapers.

Keep everything as clean as you can. Give the impression that you take care of your property and care about your home. You want your house to look, feel and smell it’s best. Make those repairs you’ve put off so doors work well and the plumbing doesn’t drip. Purchase a couple of ceiling fans or small room fans to keep it cooler for showings.

Are you ready for Buyers:

– Repaint walls or replace carpets with neutral colors.

– Fix all cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic.

– Fix all cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.

– Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork.

– Repair leaky faucets and showerheads.

– Clean and remove clutter to make your house appear bigger and brighter.

– Rent storage to keep the garage and attic clear.

– Remove excess or very large furniture.

– Hire a professional cleaning service once every few weeks while the house is on the market.

– Remove as many items from kitchen counters, closets, and attics to make your house seem more spacious.

– Make your kitchen and bathroom look as bright and fresh as possible.

– Use your nicer guest towels in the bathrooms.

– Hang up fresh curtains.

– Install new cabinet knobs.

– Make sure kitchen and bathroom are clean and odor free.

– Replace burned out light bulbs.

– Open drapes and blinds.

– Don’t let pets wander around the house during showings.

– Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or laundry in the washer or dryer.

– Make the beds.

– Put on soothing music.

Remember that people make emotional decisions. We justify with logic what we decide with emotions. Keep your mind open, try for a warm and bright interior, have great curb appeal, and you will be on the right path to preparing your house for the market. Our Coldwell Banker agents can answer any questions you have about getting ready for a sale, and advise you on the best timing for the highest price.