Helping Home Sellers


Home Seller

Prepare house

Improving your interior - Advanced:

If the buyers are shown a home with distractions of unmade beds, a sink full of dishes, in need of a general cleanup, etc., they wonder what the sellers are thinking. And in today's market, the agent is wondering what the sellers are smoking.

 Kitchen: Improvements here offer some of the best paybacks.

  • Perk up your cabinets with new knobs and handles.
  • Paint the cabinets or consider having them refaced.
  • Make sure a home office there isn’t viewed as a distraction.
  • Don't leave a kitchen garbage receptacle out in the open.
  • Maximize available kitchen counter space.
  • Hide little used appliances, jars, dish racks, unsightly soap dishes and dispensers. Keep sinks clean.
  • Moderate decorating of a kitchen counter adds warmth, such as placing a decorative bowl on the counter filled with apples or lemons.
  • Clean all major kitchen appliances, inside and out. Remove grease from range hoods, ovens, walls, etc.
  • Refrigerator magnets are not attractive to buyers. Pack them up and you'll also depersonalize this area.
  • Unclutter the inside of your refrigerator. A crammed large refrigerator gives the appearance of not being large enough.
  • Create space: hide the toaster for showings, store little used small appliances.

Bathrooms: Remodeling doesn’t have to be an option.

  • Remove that old, over-the-toilet shelf unit and replace with a picture.
  • Consider new faucets and a showerhead.
  • Be sure the bathroom curtain, liner and bath mat are fresh.
  • New matching towels and an area rug add a cheery touch.
  • Do not leave any personal items out (toothbrushes, medications, creams, etc.).
  • Keep the toilet lids down. Open lids offend some people.

Basement: An unfinished basement represents growth potential.

  • Builders offer finished basements. If yours is unfinished, can it be viewed as offering potential?
  • Stain the basement floor light beige for a clean look - an inexpensive way to improve a huge area.
  • Using 100-watt light bulbs down there is a must.

Odors: Smell creates an immediate and permanent impression on buyers.

  • Pets and mildew are heavy contributors to odor buildup.
  • Dry cleaning of curtains and drapes, carpet shampooing and repainted walls may be necessary–a must if a smoker occupied the premises. Follow with doses of fresh air.
  • Eliminate the source of a smell rather than mask it with air fresheners and strong scented candles. These give the impression you’re hiding something. If necessary, use mild scents sparingly.
  • Leave a pleasing aroma in the kitchen, like vanilla. Grind orange or lemon rinds in the disposal.
  • Open windows and doors frequently for fresh air. This also holds true when marketing a vacant home.

Lighting: Lighter is better than darker.

  • Lighting can create a desirable mood or draw attention to key focal points.
  • Eliminate dark areas. Add or reposition your lighting. Darkness supports negative feelings about a room.
  • Replace outdated light fixtures with new inexpensive models.
  • Open or remove curtains unless you have a problem view or have a busy street issue. Trim tree limbs that seriously block light from entering windows.
  • Clean fixtures, chandeliers, even light bulbs. Replace dead bulbs. Use high watt bulbs in dark areas.
  • Direct overhead lighting creates starkness. Lamps can add interest and drama.

Allowance: A decorating allowance can solve time constraint problems.

  • If pressed for time, consider offering the buyers an allowance at closing. However, an allowance for carpeting is never as dynamic as the effect of actually showing your home with new carpeting.
  • Check with carpet dealers for their recommendations of current trends. Don’t just get what you like.

Painting: This is an inexpensive way to transform an old and tired interior.

  • Repaint with soft neutral colors - they go with any furnishings. A neutral setting helps buyers visualize their furnishings in your home. That's why you don’t see model homes in bold colors.
  • An exception to this is if your house is just plain dull and could use some livening up. Bold colors used sparingly are fine, just as long as they’re not off the wall - so to speak.
  • Don't paint over wallpaper as this enhances the seams and results in a cheap look.
  • Consider a couple coats of cream-colored paint for old dark paneling that adorns a rec room wall.
  • Be forewarned that a sloppy paint job is worse than not repainting at all.

Garage: This once low priority area has become an important amenity.

  • More buyers are making garages a priority due to the need for extra storage space.
  • Show off your existing space by getting stuff off the garage floor and into cabinets.
  • You’ll probably be able to avoid moving a lot of stuff by hosting a garage sale.

Pets: They’re not for everybody.

  • Don't include pets in photos of your property. This includes ads and pictures displayed in your home. It’s smarter not to call attention to the fact that you have or had pets.
  • Do not plan on keeping dogs in a cage during showings. Barking can be highly annoying.
  • Empty kitty litter boxes frequently–daily if necessary.

Miscellaneous Tips: Temporary changes during home marketing can prove beneficial.

  • If the family parks their shoes in one area (mud room, hallway, stairs, etc.), suspend this habit. 
  • Avoid cooking meals that contain garlic, onions, fish, liver, curry, fried meats, etc.
  • Once some rooms are ready, consider putting them off limits. Could the family get by using one less bathroom, rec room, a spare bedroom, or the dining room? Eliminate re-cleaning it for each showing.
  • If small children make your home look like a Toys-R-Us annex, pack up the majority of these items.
  • Put away things like ironing boards, laundry baskets and vacuum sweepers–all clues to the buyer that your home lacks adequate closet space.
  • Remove stuffed animals that are displayed as trophies.
  • Replace or rid your home of dead or dying houseplants.
  • Repair an interior side of a bedroom or bathroom door. Cover with an inexpensive, full length mirror.
  • Add festive excitement during the Christmas season. Cut down on the tree size and don’t go nuts with seasonal decorating. You don’t want to appear to have less space than what really exists. 

                        The alternative:

Whether you sell by-owner or list your home with a Realtor, you’re still the one responsible for preparing your home to sell.


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