Minor fix-ups help sell a house

Almost every home needs some spiffing up before it’s listed, whether it’s additional landscaping, a fresh coat of paint, or just a deep cleaning. If a house looks bad from the outside, people think, “what haven’t they done on the inside?”

By doing little things such as trimming back bushes, cleaning the gutters, and keeping the lawn neat, sellers can create a fresh inviting look. Potted geraniums placed in front of the home look inviting and you can take them with you when you move. Remember- buyers usually inflate the cost of repairs, so showing your home is in a good state of repair not only fetches a higher price, but also reduces the selling period.

There is one thing no smart seller should avoid — cleaning! It is my experience that a cluttered unclean house is the biggest hurdle to get over – it sends the message that you just don’t take care of your home. Common real estate cleaning tips include thoroughly cleaning carpets, scrubbing down bathrooms, wiping baseboards and, because closet space is such a hot commodity, thoroughly organizing closets.

Hide clutter
Some points: people always look in closets, but no one looks under the bed (a great hing spot for the clutter), remove small appliances from kitchen counters and personal items from vanities, remove as many knick-knacks as possible. Take a tip from builders’ model homes. They are totally de-personalized.

Here are some quick tips on preparing your home for sale:

  • fix leaky faucets
  • replace loose door knobs
  • recaulk bathroom or kitchen tiles
  • add fresh coats of paint where peeling (especially the front door)
  • mow lawn, trim bushes, maintain or add to landscaping
  • scrub kitchens and bathrooms
  • dust
  • mop floors, vacuum carpets, remove stains
  • “thin out” furnishings to create “space”
  • reorganize closets
  • pack away knick-knacks, photos, trophies, and other personal items
  • eliminate odours
  • make sure house is a comfortable temperature
  • keep every light on and all drapes and blinds open during showings
  • reduce noise levels by turning off television, dishwasher, washer and dryer, and add soft music
  • make sure pets are off the premises during showings, or safely confined
  • your valuables should be stored temporarily in a bank or with family

Good luck with your house sale

Gitta Levi is an Associate Broker with Century 21 Heritage Group. This is an excerpt from her Q&A section here on the Your Home page.