Tips to Spruce Up Your Home, in Anticipation of Listing it.

Thinking of selling your home? While it might be tempting to simply run a vacuum through and put a sign in the yard, today's buyers (thank you, HGTV) expect a bit more. Use these tips to be sure your home gets the attention it deserves.

1. Declutter/Depersonalize Living Spaces

You think it makes your house feel like home, but buyers call it clutter. Too many decorations, too many photographs, too many collectibles. Too many throw rugs, too many floral arrangements, too much personal stuff in general! You want buyers to fall in love with your house, not your decorations. Since you'll be moving anyway, use this opportunity to start boxing up your prized possessions. Clear off table tops, counters and floors. Remove extra wall hangings, photos, and decor. Aim for a minimal, model-home feel. Less is more. Remove enough "stuff" that buyers can imagine their own things filling the space.

2. Clean Those Easy-to-Overlook Places

Doors, trimwork, light switches, backsplashes, faucets... these are places that see a lot of daily action, and it's easy to neglect them on cleaning day. Walking through your home with a critical eye, a bottle of multi-purpose cleaner and a rag will do wonders. Wipe away those finger prints, hand prints, water spots and all that general grunge. Pay particular attention to bathrooms and kitchens and make those faucets shine! Buyers notice details, and grimy surfaces scream "this house is too much to take care of" and "this house wasn't well maintained."

3. Clean Up Your Front Entry

Clean up your front porch and the exterior of your front door. As the Realtor is fumbling with that super awesome blue-tooth enabled lockbox before coming in, potential buyers will be standing behind him/her, eyeballing the entry area and noticing dirty railings, hazy windows, scuffed up doors, light fixtures filled with dead bugs, and unswept porches. Pay a bit of extra attention to this waiting area, and welcome your potential buyers in the best way possible. 

4.  Power Wash the Exterior

Nothing is less inviting than the familiar green haze of mildew on a home that's for sale. Buyers are looking for their "new" home- new to them- and they are less likely to fall in love with one that has a to-do list that conveys! If you're unable to power wash because it's early in the season, perhaps leave a note on the counter reassuring potential buyers that it is on YOUR to-do list and will be done as soon as weather permits. 

5. Declutter Closets and Cabinets

Buyers WILL look in your closets and cabinets, so why not wow them, and make them think you've ALWAYS been an organized, insanely neat homeowner (the perception being that you've taken the same approach with the care of your home)? Organize the pantry by putting messier looking items in matching baskets for a uniform look. Tidy up your coat closet by hanging things neatly, using baskets for smaller items that would otherwise look messy, and eliminating anything you won't be using in the next few months. A paired-down amount of stored items will not only look more organized, but give the impression that your home has more storage space than you need, rather than so little it's bursting at its seams. 

6. Consider Having a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Being a seller can be hard. First, your Realtor may suggest a price that is lower than you were hoping for. After showings, buyers may give feedback that stings a little. And inevitably, offers will come in that are lower than you expected. Even after you're under contract, the stress isn't over. Home inspectors have a way of finding issues you never expected, and buyers seem to get alarmed at the littlest things. Rather than waiting for those unpleasant surprises, consider having a pre-listing home inspection to discover issues BEFORE your buyer does. Repairing things in advance of listing gives you a powerful marketing tool and an edge in negotiating an offer. An inspection report can be shared with buyers in advance of their offer to encourage a closer-to-asking-price bid. Buyers may even forego their own inspections if you've already had one. Knowing you've already taken care of issues can also quell your anxiety if a buyer chooses to have their own inspection done. The money you spend on a pre-listing inspection is peanuts compared to the peace-of-mind it will give you! 

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