"You can't make a second first impression." We have all heard this saying regarding job hunting and dating - but this is crucial to remember when selling your home!
After you have given your listing to a real estate agent, your home should always be ready for a visit from prospective buyers. Most agents will give you a few hours' notice before showing your property but other than putting the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher and taking a fast shower, you should not have any major sprucing up to do on your home. The dusting and vacuuming should be done each night until the house is sold.
Here are some important tips to help your home make a good impression on prospective buyers.
· Turn on all the lights - even in the daytime - so your home looks cheerful and inviting and there are no dark corners.
· The front door should be clean and sparkling. Repaint if necessary.
· Doorbell and entry light should be in working order.
· Put a new Welcome mat and potted plant in the entrance way.
· Cut the lawn weekly, rake leaves and sweep sidewalks.
· Add some extra flowers or potted plants for color in the landscaping.
· If at all possible, try not to be home. Some prospective buyers are more comfortable viewing a house when the owner is out. If for some reason you must be home, be as unobtrusive as possible. Other than a pleasant smile, do not offer any information to the prospective buyer. Let the real estate agent answer any questions and of course, respond to any questions he or she may ask of you.
· Allow your listing agent to put a lockbox on your door to make it convenient for other agents to show your home in your absence.
· Open windows and patio doors for about 20 minutes to let out all the cooking smells. Don't use a fragrance spray as it is too "obvious" and some prospective home buyers may be allergic.
· Be sure to replace any cracked windows and wash all your windows.
· Have the carpets cleaned. If a carpet is worn, check the sales and invest in a replacement.
Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most important rooms in the house. Remove clutter from the counters and be sure no dishes are left standing in the sink. Bathroom sinks, counters and of course, the toilet should be sparkling. If you have been putting off scrubbing the tub and/or shower stall, this is the time to do it. Some prospective buyers will open the shower doors or pull aside the shower curtains. Mold and mildew in the bathroom is a big deterrent!
If repainting is needed, it is best to use white or off-white as pale colors make rooms look larger and brighter. Add higher wattage bulbs where possible to intensify this effect.
When we live in a house, we are often unaware of pet odors or other things that may possibly turn off a potential buyer. Ask your mother-in-law or a good friend to do a walk-thru and honestly (but tactfully) tell you if there is something important you have left undone.