We've looked at around 10 houses and we've seen some that show beautifully (but just weren't for us) and others that looked like the owners didn't even know people would be stopping by. Because of this I thought it would be fun to put together a list of things that could be helpful in sprucing up your house to help its full potential shine when possible buyers come to see it.
- Deep Clean - The first thing we did, right before we put it up on the market, was give our house a good, once over, deep clean. Do all of the random "spring cleaning" things that you don't do on a weekly basis. You know those things that you tend to forget about until one day you look up at your bathroom fan vent and notice that its covered in dust? Yeah. Clean those things. This will give your home a fresh feel, make it easier for you to keep clean and let the buyers know that they'll be getting a house thats been well cared for. (Windows, fireplace, etc.)
- Declutter - pack up some of your personal decor, especially pictures of your family, to help potential buyers see themselves in the space. Pack up some of the clothes in your closet so when buyers peak in there they can see the space and not a lack of space. Do the same with storage closets/cabinets. Organize anything you can't pack away. Give your house a minimalist feel. Not only does this help your house show better but it gives you a head start on packing!
- Make small cosmetic adjustments - touch up paint around the house, replace faceplates and outlet covers so they all match and look updated, clean scuffed up trim with one of those Mr. Clean magic erasers, and polish up all door handles.
- Fix any minor issues - Any doors that don't close all the way, light bulbs that need changed, bathroom/kitchen areas that need caulked. Just know that everything you don't notice anymore, the potential buyers WILL see.
- Be prepared for people to snoop! Clean your fridge, your pantry, under your sink, and your bathroom drawers. Buyers want to know drawers and doors work and what shape the appliances are in, so make sure they look nice.
- Pick up after your pet - buyers will be walking around outside so make sure you stay on top of that. Same with a cat litter box. Be aware of pet odors. Sometimes we become nose-blind to our own pet's smells, so keep their beds fresh and use air fresheners/odor eliminators. Our dog sheds like crazy, so if we had a showing I would put her outside before I started cleaning to get up as much dog hair as possible. I would then get her from the back gate to put her in the car when it was time to leave.
- Spruce up the outside - Freshly planted flowers do make a nice first impression, but personally I just like to see that the flower beds and the yard are cleaned up. A blank canvas is okay, it just needs to show the potential! Clean out your gutters so it doesn't look like you've neglected to care for them. Pressure wash your siding. Keep your grass mowed. Pick up after your pets. Sweep off the porch. Add a welcome mat. Touch up paint on the outside. Add new house numbers. Hang a door wreath. All these things cost little or no money and make a big difference when buyers walk up to your front door.
- Tidy up the garage - Make it easy to be walked through. Highlight any special areas you may have like a work bench or laundry area by organizing.
- Remove personal care items from counters - maybe I'm just weird, but its always awkward for me to see people's toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brushes etc sitting out on their counters. I made a little spot for these things under the sink and would take everything off of our bathroom counters when we had a showing.
- Stage your rooms - as much as possible. We needed to do this because we basically had 2 office rooms. One was an office/man-cave/movie room and one was an office/music room. We packed things up and designated one room for the office and the other as a guest room/playroom. This gave us a space to keep Reaghan's toys organized and with the futon in there we hoped it gave buyers a feel for the room as a guest space. Likewise, the room above the garage became our sole office space. We took out the chaise lounges that we had in there for movie watching, as well as all the DVD's, and random wall decor. The only other staging we did was to remove Reaghan's toys and play kitchen set from our front room so that buyers didn't get distracted by the toy clutter.
Lastly, I made a list of all the things I needed to quickly clean/pick up to get the house ready when our realtor would call and says people want to come see your house within the hour! I kept it posted on my fridge for quick reference.
We did most, if not all of the things listed above and as I wrote about in my last post, our house sold in 48 hours! I know there were many other factors involved, but a little cleaning and easy updates can go a long way in making your house stand out among other contenders!
Now if only we could find a house...