If you are selling your house, or thinking of selling your house sometime soon, consider the following steps to make your house spiffy and show-ready.
1. Curb appeal
Plant those colorful flowers and spread some new mulch for color and texture. Polish the windows. Freshen up the front door with new paint. Clean up all twigs and debris. Make it sparkle.
2. Clean the house within an inch of its life
Can’t stress this one enough! Potential buyers get grossed out and turned off if there is sticky jam smeared on the counter tops, or toothpaste gobs in the sink and a one inch layer of dog fur on the hardwood floors. If you are unable to clean, then hire a professional to do a day’s worth of deep cleaning. Before showings, you can do a quick swipe over the countertops and make sure the toilet lid is closed!
Take away all excess junk from the floors, dressers, tables, and bathroom and kitchen counter tops. Put appliances like toasters and juicers out of sight (unless they are pretty and vintage). Make sure there are clear paths so the buyers can get into the attic or basement, and don’t forget the garage. If you can afford it, rent a storage unit for $50-$100/month and pack away all excess junk until you move. Neat and orderly is a lot more appealing to home buyers than cluttered and chaotic.
Take down all your personal photos – from the walls AND the fridge. If you have your kids’ names on their doors or on banners in their rooms, take those down too so potential buyers can have a blank slate in which to picture themselves and their children in the space.
5. Make it cozy
You want to make the home feel somewhat generic so anyone could envision themselves there, but you also want it to feel comfortable and livable. Open the blinds to let some daylight in! Make sure the temperature inside the home is not too hot, or not too cold (around 68-70 degrees F) For open houses, light a fire if you have a working fireplace. Fresh flowers are also a nice touch. It’s even better if you can pick them from your own garden!
6. Nice aroma, or no aroma
Some home sellers bake cookies or pies before a showing. Some burn scented candles or incense before a showing. Some spray a ton of air freshener. But home staging experts advise that NO smell is best in case a potential buyer has allergies or an aversion to a certain scent. Rule of thumb: unless there is an unpleasant smell to cover up (like soiled kitty litter), keep the air neutral and fresh.
7. Put garbage outside and out of sight
Nothing stinks up a room – or a house – more than a full can of garbage. Make sure you run the garbage out to the trash before any showings to get rid of all those unwanted odors. If you can’t take the garbage outside of your dwelling, make sure it is out of sight. Alternatively, you could tie up the garbage bag.
8. Leave history books out
If your house is old and has a history of which you have record, leave the documents and historic photos out on display on a table or counter where potential buyers can view them. They will be thrilled to see a glimpse into the home’s past and appreciate the attention to detail. If your home has architectural drawings or even just a blue-print or plans for an addition, put those out for potential buyers to view as well. They will welcome the sharing of information. Another option is to display neighborhood information or historic books about the town/area.
9. Pets (and sellers) need to disappear
Pets are great but nobody wants a territorial dog snarling at them when viewing a potential home. Keep the dogs away from the house if possible during showings. Prospective buyers want to be able to see every room and every part of the yard to help them make a decision, so taking the pets with you or securing them in a crate before you leave is important. Perhaps a neighbor can let the dog out before a showing if you are away or at work. Also critical (and this almost goes without saying): home owners need to vacate the premise for showings. There are few things more awkward and daunting than an eager home owner hovering nearby when you are trying to examine your future home.
10. Winter: shovel; Summer: sweep
Winter shoveling is a no-brainer – if you have time before those last minute showings. You need to keep clear access to the property for safety reasons and it will look better kept if the walkways are clear of snow and ice. On the flip side, in summer, spring and fall, you may need to do a quick broom sweep of the porch or entryway before each showing to get rid of cobwebs, pollen, dust or leaves.
These points are a lot to remember so some homeowners find it helpful to create a checklist to keep them on track in those hurried minutes before a showing.
You can contact any agent from Manitou Springs Real Estate for a more personalized on-site evaluation of how to prep your home to be show-ready.