Is The House Ready To Sell?

There's no getting away from it - first impressions are lasting impressions. Nothing could be more fitting than the application of this little saying to homes for sale. When a prospective buyer enters a house that looks to be cared for and well-maintained, the unspoken thought is that the things he or she can't see are also cared for with equal enthusiasm. This is the kind of house that sells quickly and makes the buyer feel comfortable that he or she made the right choice.

How Much Money Should I Spend?

As you prepare to put your house on the market, one of the considerations in terms of expenditures is determining how much money to spend on upgrading and cosmetic treatments to the house. Unless there are some major flaws in the house that need replacement or repair, it is a good idea to keep expenses for "touch ups" to a minimum. Remember, if you really don't need a new roof before you sell, don't put one on because you probably won't realize your investment when the house is sold. Although, you do want to be sure any loose shingles are replaced before putting the house up for sale. New knobs on the cupboards and some paint to freshen the interior, maybe replacing shower doors or some broken tiles, are all reasonable. Putting in a new bathroom could be more than necessary. If this is your first-time sale, then seek the advice of your agent who has plenty of experience in knowing what is needed to make a house attractive.

Curb Appeal-A Home's Sex Appeal

You've heard the expression "curb appeal" used when it comes to putting property on the market. This term means literally that-how does the house look from the street? Again, keeping the rule of thumb that you don't want to make major investments in repairs and decorating, you can spruce up your home and make it look amazing with very little money and some good ideas. The exterior of the house is the first thing the prospective buyer will see-so make it a lovely picture. If you haven't devoted a lot of time to external upkeep of your property, it would be a good idea to start several weeks before listing to ensure things looks nice. Do the yard work regularly. That means keeping the grass cut and edged as well as watered. If there are gardens, keep them weeded and well planted and trim the hedges and trees regularly as well. A well kept yard has great eye appeal. Going a bit deeper, check for cracks in the patios, walls of the house and garage, walkways and look for cracks and crumbling in the foundation also. If the paint on the doors and windows is scruffy, scrape and paint them. Check the siding on the house and caulking around doors and windows. If anything needs fixing or repainting, this is the time to get the job done. Make sure the gutters are clean and in good shape. If you need to replace any of them, do so. If the house has a chimney, have it cleaned and inspected. An asphalt driveway can be resealed if necessary-it makes it look new, and if there's snow on the ground, clear it from the drive and walkways. Keep the garage door closed and find another place for any large items (like broken down cars) to be stored while the house is listed.

An Inside Job

On the inside, let the buyers see the house. If there's a lot of clutter, clean it up. Become a bit of a minimalist. Too many pictures, plants, flower pots and wall hangings distract from the interior and leave the buyer wondering if s/he even saw the inside of the house. Find another place for your goodies while the house is on the market. Make sure the house smells clean and fresh. Some people heat up a pot of cinnamon and vanilla just before the house is shown. There's nothing like the smell of baking to make a house feel like home. But, don't hide bad smells. If there are smells in the house that need to be gotten rid of, get rid of them. Use your nose (or borrow one if yours doesn't work well), to ensure there is no smell of kitty litter, garbage, stale cigarette smoke, or dirty carpeting. Clean the house well and make sure it smells good. Put out the best towels, make up the bedrooms, pretend your house is in House & Gardens and create a delicious atmosphere.

By taking the time to look at your home objectively, you will be able to see what a buyer would see. Then you can ask yourself, "Do I like what I see? Would I buy it?"