If you want your home to stand out from the rest of the listed houses, then there are a few important things that you should do to make your house the one that everyone wants to live in.
Disassociate yourself with your home: Say to yourself, "This is not my home; it is a house -- a product to be sold and marketed." Let go of your emotional attachment to the house and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners. Don't look backwards - look toward the future and your impending new home. Study your house from a potential buyer's first glimpse: Go outside and open your front door. Decide if your house welcomes you inside and makes you want to go further. Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer. Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense. Make sure window coverings and art work hang level. Make sure each room makes a statement. De-Personalize: Pack up personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal memorabilia, and you don't want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there. You don't want to make any buyer ask, "I wonder what kind of people live in this home?" You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here."
De-clutter: Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do. People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it. If you don't need it, donate it or recycle it. Remove all books and DVD's from bookcases. Pack up knickknacks. Clean off everything on kitchen counters and bathroom counters. Put essential items used daily in a wicker basket that can be stored in a closet when not in use. Rearrange bedroom closets and kitchen cabinets: Potential buyers will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out, and imagine what a buyer believes about you if they see that everything is organized. (It says you probably take good care of your house.) Empty every closet as much as you can. (You want your closets to look like there is as much room as possible for the buyer's things.) Neatly organize kitchen cupboards. Group clothes and hang together facing the same direction. Organize shoes. Rent a storage unit: Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers scratching their heads and saying, "What is this room used for?" Remove and replace favorite items: If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, then they won't want it. Once you tell a buyer they can't have an item, it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary. Make repairs: Replace cracked floor or counter tiles. Patch holes in walls. Fix leaky faucets. Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam. Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to blue or purple walls. (Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom.") Replace burned-out light bulbs. If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, replace it now! Make the house sparkle: Wash windows inside and out. Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks. Polish chrome faucets and mirrors. Clean out the refrigerator. Vacuum daily. Wax floors. Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. Bleach dingy grout. Replace worn rugs. Hang up fresh towels. Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Check your houses curb appeal: Make a great first impression! The exterior of your home is the first impression a potential buyer will have your home. Make sure visitors can clearly read your house numbers. Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior. Keep the sidewalks cleared. Mow the lawn. Paint faded window trim. Trim your trees and bushes. Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes an emotion to buy. Marigolds are inexpensive. Remember that it is careful planning and preparation that will transform your home and send potential buyers running for their checkbooks.
Bobbi Anne Johnson is the Owner and Lead Staging Specialist at BeDazzled Home Impressions Inc. - A Home Staging, Redesign, and Senior Relocation Company. The opinions expressed are those of the author. Bobbi can be reached at 250-782-1922 or 250-219-8623.