1. Get a different perspective. Walk across the street and take a long, hard look at your house. Put on your buyer hat…make a list of 5-10 things that are good about your house and 5-10 things that need work. Get busy! Curb appeal is crucial!
2. Make repairs a high priority. If your house needs work, get it done now. It’s the home inspector’s job to find out what’s wrong with your house and long lists of repairs can scare buyers off! As the homeowner, repairs are responsibility and you should to fix them before your house comes on the market.
3. De-clutter. Go through every closet and every room and get rid of the piles of your stuff. Buyers notice spaciousness. You are selling your space. Throw it away, pack it for the move, give it away or have a garage sale – just get it out of the house.
4. De-personalize. Remove all family photos, sports collections, trophies, plaques and hobby collections. You’ve got to let the buyers see themselves living in your house with their things.
5. Make needed updates. What about your home’s interior? Do you have old outdated wallpaper? Make it go away. Today’s buyers don’t like it and they may not buy your house because of it. Consider painting the interior walls throughout your house – something neutral in a beige tone. Keep it consistent throughout.
6. Straighten up. Once you get all of the stuff out, straighten everything – drawers, closets, bathroom vanities, pantries, etc.
7. Edit your space. Rearranging is the last step. Use your best furniture and accessories. Less is more when it comes to home staging. Create the right flow of your things and your buyers will feel it as they walk through your house. It’s hard to stage your own house so at this point you could hire a professional home stager to tweak your furniture and accessories. This would be money well spent if your stager has a great “eye.”
8. Clean everything! All surfaces, baseboards, light fixtures, windows (in and out), carpet, flooring, bathrooms, appliances (don’t forget the oven), basements, garages, etc. Buyers don’t like other people’s dirt.
9. What’s that smell? How does your house smell? If you have lingering odors now that it’s clean, get your home de-odorized. If you don’t have a good sense of smell, ask your sister or best friend. You can’t sell a home that has a lingering odor.
10. Get a first impression. One more thing. Go outside and walk up to your front door like you are the buyer. What do you see? Open the door and what do you say? Buyers will make a decision about your house within 10 seconds of opening the front door. Will they say wow?