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Thinking of selling your home?

If you're preparing to sell your home, there are many inexpensive ways to help make it more appealing to prospective buyers.

Consider your home as a product. You'll want to emotionally detach yourself from the home so you can treat it like merchandise for sale. This will help put you in the right frame of mind to take an objective look at what you can change to make your home more appealing.

Showing Tips

  • Look at your property from a buyers' vantage point as they approach in their vehicle. If the mailbox is the first thing they see, it should be free of dents, clean, and fresh in appearance. Are trees or shrubs along the drive properly trimmed back? Is the lawn mowed, hedge trimmed, garden pruned? If you are selling your home in the fall, try to keep the leaves raked and the lawn cleared of other debris. During the winter, shovel the driveway and walkway to your front door.
  • Next, that all-important first critical look at the house itself. Put yourself in the buyers' shoes. Stand in the driveway and imagine you are seeing your home for the first time. Make certain the walkway to the front door is swept, that there are no children's toys scattered about.
  • See that the roof and gutters are clean, windows washed, doorknobs gleaming and welcome mat in place. If you discover any obvious signs of disrepair, blistered or peeling paint, rusted drain spouts, or missing shingles, you should think about having them fixed before showing the home.
  • Practice restraint. Do not undertake any major redecorating unless it is absolutely necessary. That beautiful new Berber carpet you think should go in the living room and Tyrannosaurus Rex wallpaper in the children's bedroom may not be to the buyers' liking. They may see it as decoration they'll have to replace when the home becomes theirs. In most instances you are not likely to recoup the added expense of any such work.
  • Repair or replace worn-out and broken accessories. Badly chipped tiles on the kitchen counter, a broken hand railing on the staircase, or noisy hot water heater create a negative impression of the home's overall condition. The rather minimal expense of eliminating these problems is usually worthwhile.
  • Clean up! It doesn't have to be boot camp spotless, but your home should be generally clean and uncluttered. Wash and wax hard wood floors, vacuum carpets thoroughly, remove grease and grime from walls. Clean kitchen and bathroom tiles. Polish and dust your furniture.
  • Furniture: Traffic patterns should be accessible. Remove two or three chairs, an end table and lamp, or other objects that are not absolutely necessary in a room.
  • Straighten up minor messes - newspapers to the garage, china and silverware in cupboards, ironing board back in the closet.
  • Clear tables. That collection of golf magazines may be handy on the cocktail table, but it creates an unwanted air of clutter.
  • Confine your pets. Some people may tremble in fear at the sight of your pet, even if it is a miniature Schnauzer, so keep dogs or cats in transport kennels in the garage or basement.
  • Make certain all faucets, sinks and toilet bowls are cleaned and properly functioning.
  • Thin out closets. If your clothes are packed to the rafters, place enough in temporary storage to give the impression that your home has adequate closet space.
  • Garage and basement: Get rid of the junk! You may think you can't live without your collection of 25 fishing rods, but your buyers will want to see a neat, orderly space with enough room for their favorite odds and ends. Also, put a fresh coat of white paint on the walls. It's a minor expense and it goes a long way toward creating the right feeling of freshness.