How to Help Your Home Sell

A good first impression can help sell your home

When you are showing your home to prospective buyers, first impressions are the most lasting and the most important to its sale.

Your major role as a seller will be to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. The time, effort and limited financial investment involved can give you the competitive edge needed to sell your home when you want - at the price you want.

Your home’s exterior creates the prospective buyer’s first impression

Since the exterior of your home is the first thing a prospective buyer sees, a little time and effort can make a big difference in the impression your home creates. And pay big dividends when the sale is made.

Use this checklist to make sure your home’s exterior looks its best:

Lawn is well cut and neatly trimmed

Flower garden is weeded

Shrubs are trimmed

All debris is disposed of and toys and lawn equipment are neatly stored

Fences and gates are repaired and painted if necessary

The roof, gutters and down spouts are in good repair

Driveways and sidewalks are washed down

Cracked window and torn screens are replaced

Screens, windows and sills are washed. Doorknobs are polished

Doorbell and front lights are in good working order.

If you have planned to paint the house within the coming year, consider painting it before showing it. A new paint job, well done, will normally enhance the sale value a good deal more than the cost of the paint.

Remember, if your home’s exterior looks clean, orderly and in good repair, that’s the impression your house will first convey.

A spotless interior will reinforce your home’s good first impression

Interior dirt and clutter can obscure your home’s good points, so start with a full housecleaning from top to bottom. Store unused or unnecessary items in closets and storage areas or hold a garage sale. Eliminate clutter and your home will look more spacious - an important selling point.

Take an inspection tour of your home, observing it as a potential buyer would, and use the following checklist to make sure it’s ready to show:

Walls are clean and free of smudges, fingerprints and dents

Woodwork and wallpaper are inspected for problem areas

Badly worn furniture is temporarily stored

Curtains and window coverings are clean

Rugs and carpets are shampooed. Floors are waxed

Loose doorknobs, sticking doors and windows are repaired

Leaky faucets are repaired. Water discoloration in sinks is eliminated

Loose stair bannisters are tightened and steps are free of objects

Light fixtures are in good working order. Discolored or cracked switch plates are replaced

Closets, shelves and drawers are organized to display spaciousness

Clothing is hung neatly and shoes and other objects are neatly arranged

Bathrooms are sparkling clean, Tub and shower caulking is repaired

Bedrooms are neat. Bedspreads and window coverings are attractive

The kitchen is clean and tidy, including cupboards, stove and oven

The attic and garage are clean and well organized

Mirrors, picture frames and glass covering pictures are clean

Mirrors are strategically placed to create the impression of added space in problem areas

Lamp shades are in good condition

Electrical connections are plugged in

Consider painting walls and replacing carpet if cleaning doesn’t do the trick

It is also important to keep lighting in mind when you show your home. Good lighting will make your home seem more cheery and spacious

Over-improving doesn’t pay

Don’t plan major improvements on your home. Most home buyers want to make their own major changes. You are usually wiser to sell them the potential - at a price they can afford.

What you can do to help your real estate professional show your home

Showing your home is all important to it’s sale, and there are many ways you can help your real estate professional do his or her job successfully.

Here are some last minute details that will maximize your home’s selling potential:

The television and radio are turned off or low enough to allow the salesperson and buyers to talk, free of disturbances.

Children and pets are sent outdoors to play or otherwise entertained to eliminate confusion and to keep the prospect’s attention focused positively on your house.

Bad odors are eliminated. Air freshener is used before the potential buyer arrives, especially if you have pets or if the house has been closed up for some time.

The house has adequate lighting (during daytime window coverings are open; at night plenty of lights are on, including the outside lights)

The kitchen sink is free of dishes

Magazines, papers and children’s toys are in order

Plants have been watered and look healthy

Fresh flowers are arranged tastefully around the house

What you can do while your house is being shown:

Be courteous, but don’t force conversation with the potential buyers. Ask your real estate professional if your presence is necessary

Never apologize for the appearance of your home. Let your real estate professional answer any objections.

Leave it to your real estate professional to emphasize the features of your home.

Make sure your agent knows where you are so you may answer questions but do not tag along.

Let your real estate professional discuss price, terms, possession and other factors with the potential buyers.

Remember your real estate professional has the experience and training necessary to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion. And if you followed the guidelines provided, you’ll know you’ve already done your part in helping your home sell by making sure it creates a god first impression.