Home Buyers are fussy creatures. Don't let the little things get in the way of a sale. Here are some things you need to do before you show your home.
OK. You've completed the major projects like painting, repairing and sprucing up. You are ready for that first showing or open house. But are you? The old saying "you never get a second chance to create a good first impression" is true. So, before you open the door, here are a few tips.
1. The Stuff. The most important thing you can do now is to lose the emotional attachment to "stuff". The fireplace mantle, the fridge door, book shelves are all place that knick knacks, cards, children's art and other items love to collect. Let go. You are moving. Pack it up and get it out. You can always re-clutter when you get to your new home.
Also, take down family photographs, religious items and any other personal reminders. You want Buyers to feel comfortable in "their new home" and that is tough for them to do when it still looks like your home. You need to realize that your house needs to sell so pack up your emotional attachment and take it to your new home.
2. Clean, Clean, Clean. This is obvious. However, the lack of clean is so common that it is the norm, rather than the opposite. Do the big items like the floor mop, vacuum or clean the carpets, clean the windows and the appliances. But, don't forget the little items. The crumbs on the counter, the half full bags of trash or the pet dishes on the floor. Do a last minute dusting. Dust bunnies are worse than real bunnies, they multiply from seeming nowhere. Put away shoes, make the beds and even put out clean towels.
3. Fresh as Spring. The last thing you need is a stale smelling house, cooking or worse, pet odours. Air out the home if you can. Bake some bread, put out fresh flowers, cook something cinnamon and/or brew some strong coffee.
However, strong sprays, plug-in air fresheners and candles are not the best idea. Some people are allergic to these and they can highlight that you may have an odour problem.
4. Traffic flow. You have arranged the furniture the way it works for you. However, you may not realize that the way it is placed restricts movement. You should walk through each room and decide if it "flows". The shoe rack behind the bedroom door stopping it from opening all the way, the easy chair placed in front of the TV is good for viewing but not for moving and the coat rack by the back door are things that you should eliminate.
5. Sight Lines. Ideally, you want a potential Buyer to walk into a room and sweep it with the eye. If there are items that draw the eye, it makes the room feel small. Eliminate small items, knick knacks, small appliances, even area rugs. Rugs add warmth and colour but can break up a room and may hide hardwood or tile flooring. You are selling the spaces of your house, not your personal "stuff".
If you can, have some bins handy. It's easier to find a place for a couple bins than it is to find a spot for 10 different items. Also, put away tablecloths and dish towels. The kitchen will look bigger if the eye doesn't stop at the towel hanging on the stove handle.
6. Handouts. Feature sheets, photos, and details about the home should be readily available, but placed in a strategic location where they can be found, but not stand out. Brochures can be placed in the foyer or entrance area where they can be picked up on entry or exit. Some fresh flowers beside them add a nice touch.
7. Make it "Just Right". Keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Too cold or too hot is a Buyer turn off. Open the blinds and curtains and turn on all the lights. Soft music playing in the background is a nice touch.
8. Be Smart with Valuables. It's critical to safeguard your valuables. Put away all small items like jewelry, medications, financial documents, and small electronics. And, don't forget to shut off and password protect computers.