TIP’s to Sell Your Home for the Best Price & Fast

Be Open to Your Realtor’s Suggestions For Staging Your Home

Chances are, your real estate agent will make specific suggestions regarding cosmetic and/or major changes in your home’s appearance to make it more attractive to buyers—perhaps even specific buyers he or she has in mind.

This is called staging the home, and any good Realtor® will go over this information with you.

Remember not to take things personally—you may love bric-a-brac on every surface and may feel emotionally attached to the many antiques filling each room, but your agent may ask you to pack some of them away so that potential buyers can picture their own furnishings in the rooms rather than feeling they’re intruding on your personal space.

A competent and professional agent will make these type of recommendations based on the experience he or she has gained through other transactions as well as an earnest desire to help you get the results you need.

Here’s a complete checklist of things you can do to improve your home’s saleability:

Living Room
• Rearrange furniture to enhance the room’s appearance.
• Remove all excess furniture or rugs on top of rugs.
• Review color scheme of walls, drapery, carpets and furniture. If the room is too dark, repaint the walls, add brighter wallpaper, replace dark paneling, or install lighter carpets and drapes.
• Remove magazines, books and other personal items from surfaces.
• Clean carpeting, mop and wax or vacuum all floors and dust furniture.
• Make sure walls are clean and free from holes and dents. If necessary, use spackling compound for dents and holes before painting.
• Rearrange bookshelves and knickknacks to enhance the room’s overall impression.

Kitchen
• Rearrange pantry and cupboards to create a neat and orderly appearance.
• Clean all appliances and sinks.
• Place new burner plates under the burners of stove.
• Clean or patch grouting between tiles and replace missing or cracked tiles.
• Use porcelain repair products to fix chipped porcelain on sinks or appliances.
• Polish faucets and faucet handles. Buy replacement faucet knobs if necessary.
• Make sure all appliances are in proper working order.
• Remove all garbage.
• Check oven to ensure that all vents are clear of grease and odors. Clean or replace filters, ventilation and exhaust fan.
• Replace low-wattage light bulbs to make the room as bright as possible. For very dark kitchens, install track lighting.
• Paint cabinets or install new ones.
• Replace older cabinet handles.

Dining Room
• Thoroughly clean dining room table. Revarnish the surface if necessary.
• Repair worn upholstery on chairs.
• Clean glass in china cabinet and polish china and silver on display—or pack it away.

Bathrooms
• Check tiles. Replace all that are worn or chipped.
• Replace floors worn by water damage.
• Caulk and grout tile joints.
• Remove all grime, water stains and mildew.
• Thoroughly clean all surfaces.
• Repair all leaky faucets and shower heads.
• Polish faucets and faucet handles. Buy replacement faucet knobs if necessary.
• Clear counter tops and rearrange cabinets inside to create a neat and orderly appearance.
• Clean and rearrange medicine cabinet. Remove clutter.
• Put out fresh towels, including a guest towel.
• Check strength and condition of all towel racks. Tighten loose racks.
• Replace worn shower or bath curtains.
• Install bright light bulbs.
• Check exhaust fan. Repair if in poor condition. Clean vent openings.

Bedrooms
• Rearrange furniture to improve impression.
• Remove excess furniture: more than one double/queen/king bed or more than two twin beds per room, or extra chairs, dressers or night stands.
• Make all beds and wash all bed coverings and replace if worn.
• Remove loose or extra toys and clutter from children’s rooms.
• Clean all carpets, floors and drapes. Leave drapes open to brighten rooms.
• Replace burned-out or low-wattage light bulbs.
• Clean night stands and side table surfaces.
• Remove personal items and clothing from all surfaces.

Closets
• Install lights where needed.
• Rearrange storage areas and remove clutter.
• Rearrange clothing to create an orderly, roomy impression and pack away excess or out-of-season clothing to give a spacious appearance.
• Repaint inside surfaces if needed to make closets as bright as possible.
• For smaller closets, install shelves to increase storage space.

Garage/Basement/Attic/Utility Rooms
• Rearrange storage areas and remove clutter.
• Clean floors, removing oil stains and dirt.
• Sweep the entire area.
• Clear workshop area and store all tools and equipment.
• Remove all spider webs, lint and dirt.
• Make sure all openings to outside are screened or vented.
• Make sure garage door(s) and opener, if any, function properly and are in good condition.
• Check washer and dryer, clean filters and call service company for required maintenance.
• Clean appliance surfaces.
• Remove all laundry.
• Repair sagging beams as needed.
• Check for water damage, make needed repairs.
• Investigate musty odors or smell of gas, and make necessary repairs.
• Repair broken lights.
• Inspect air conditioning, heater or furnace, and water heater for maximum safety and energy efficiency. Replace filters and maintain as needed.
• Check insulation and repair or replace as neccessary.

Living Areas
• Repaint when wall or ceiling conditions are poor, or previous paint is faded or too dark. Paint in white, beige or light pastels.
• Remove wallpaper that is too bold, outdated or damaged. Replace with neutral paint or subtle, tasteful and neutral prints so that color scheme coordinates throughout house.
• Replace loose, shifted or deteriorated sheetrock or panels. Repair all cracks and holes.
• Clean all walls and moldings.
• Wash all windows and replace broken panes. Also replace all cut or rusted screens.
• Check all windows for alignment and ease of operation. Repair so they work freely.
• Check window moldings and weather stripping, and repair for water damage and age.
• Clean and check all draperies and repair or replace as necessary.
• Clean and wax exposed floors.
• Repair creaking or loose floorboards.
• Repair loose steps, and check stairs for loose handrails, treads or posts.
• Clean carpets or replace old, worn carpets or rugs.
• Check all doors. Oil to eliminate noises, tighten knobs and hinges and ensure that all doors shut and/or lock properly.
• Replace all broken light bulbs, cracked lighting fixtures or old switches and plates.
• Repair all inoperative electrical outlets and plugs.
• Polish all brass, chrome or glass surfaces.
• Make sure all smoke alarms and burglar alarms are functioning properly and add or replace them as necessary.
• Keep fresh flowers on display.
• Open windows before showing home to air it out.
• Eliminate all odors with a pleasant air freshener.
• Remove pet bedding, food and water dishes, and litter boxes.

Front Door
• Replace or repaint worn front door to create a good impression.
• Polish or add brass door knocker.
• Make sure front door has a working peephole.
• Check doorbell and repair or replace as necessary.
• Replace worn mailbox.
• Make sure house number is clearly visible and attractive.
• Polish, repair and/or replace all door handles and locks. Make sure all outside doors have deadbolts or other safety locks.

Lawn
• Mow lawn, remove all weeds and water regularly.
• Use a good quality lawn food to make grass healthy and ammonia sulfate (available at garden or hardware store) to bring out the green. Reseed or resod thin or brown lawn.
• Cut grass back from edge of house as well as from plants and trees.
• Trim edges by fences, walls, walkways, sidewalk, driveway and around plants, hedges and trees.
• Remove all children’s toys, garden tools and hoses.
• Repair loose or broken fences, or cracked or loose retaining walls.
• Clean up after pets.

Trees/Shrubs/Gardens
• Remove all dead limbs.
• Remove and/or replace dead trees or shrubs. You can also use potted plants in yard and then take them along with you when you move.
• Trim shrubs.
• Remove overhanging or intruding limbs from walkways, gutters and utility lines. Cut limbs from neighboring yards.
• Spray for insect infestations.
• Trim all vines or other growths from fences.

Terraces/Porches/Decks
• Remove debris from all surfaces.
• Clear storage areas.
• Restain, repaint or seal all wooden decks.
• Check and secure all railings.
• Clear all spider webs and insect nests.
• Wash entire area.
• Resurface stained or worn areas. Repair all cracks.

Driveways/Walkways
• Resurface stained or cracked areas.
• Patch all holes.
• Seal all asphalt.
• Replace thin gravel areas.

House Exterior
• Repaint or reshingle if necessary.
• Check all shutters and awnings. Tighten if loose or replace if worn.
• Clean out gutters and downspouts. Repair or replace as necessary.
• Check, repair and replace flashings, vents, chimneys, stacks and skylights.
• Check, repair and replace exterior lighting as necessary. Use bright bulbs.
• Paint all railings.
• Repair cracks in foundation, walls and steps.
• Clear leaves, snow, ice or other debris from walkways and porches.
• Replace worn trashcans.

Know What Upgrades Will Bring You the Best Return

Generally the best investments when preparing your home for sale are those upgrades or modifications that bring you highly visual improvements throughout a large area for a minimum amount of money rather than those that concentrate a substantial investment into a small area.

For example, replacing worn carpet throughout the house is in most cases more valuable to a buyer than a customized closet in the master bedroom.

Remember quality counts, up to a point.

If the stove in your kitchen is broken or extremely worn, replace it with a middle-of-the-line model from a well-known, quality appliance manufacturer rather than the best of the best.

At the same time, making shoddy repairs or using cheap replacements to “get by” may save your initial investment, but won’t get you anywhere in the perceived value of your home.

Potential buyers will see through them and figure they’ll still have to redo it themselves anyway.

Ask your real estate agent for a list of suppliers and contractors who may be able to help you with major repairs or services. Most Realtors® have formed relationships with various vendors who may be able to offer you preferred pricing or exceptional service.

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