The focus here is on minor repairs, eliminating clutter and cleaning. "Curb Appeal" counts! Some buyers can look past minor things and see potential, but many can't. Don't eliminate those that can't by not doing some of the minor repairs and clean up that will help your home appeal to as many buyers as possible. You are not always the best person to spot things that could be fixed, changed or cleaned, enlist the help of a friend or relative to make suggestions.
Grab a clipboard or notepad and walk around your home and make a list of the items that could easily be replaced or repaired quickly and inexpensively. Divide the list into indoor and outdoor sections and for each section have three columns; repair/paint, replace and clean. A word of warning - depending on how keen you are (and the level of detail you record) there is a danger that the list may become too long and daunting. If this happens go back thru the list and identify the must-dos that are quick, easy and inexpensive.
Minor Repairs and Improvements:
- Make sure your front and back doors are in good working order
- Little things like doors, door handles, light switches make a big difference
- Replace all nonworking and low wattage light bulbs
- Pick neutral colors if applying a new coat of paint
- Nailing down a few fence boards can make a fence look 100% better
- Loose shingles, sagging gutters can easily be fixed
- Faded trim around the windows, entrance or deck stand out
- Minor landscaping such as trimming back trees and bushes
Renovations and Major Repairs:
- For bigger problems and possible major repairs it is useful to hire a home inspector to detail the problem, remedies and costs
- For major problems - you can make the repair or disclose it in the PCDS (Property Disclosure Statement - See Part E)
- If a renovation is in order the best return on your money is with kitchens and bathrooms
There are a number of reasons to minimize clutter. Most importantly a clutter-free home looks more spacious. Do you want some one to think that your kitchen doesn't have enough counter space because you have too many appliances and things on the counter? As well a clean clutter free home is seen as an indication of a well maintained home. Less clutter and less "stuff" makes it easier for buyers to envision the home as theirs.
What is clutter?
- A few kitchen appliances is fine but don't fill the counters with extra kitchen utensils, appliances and stuff that takes up counter space
- Also watch out for too much stuff inside the kitchen cabinets and cupboards
- Make the closets look bigger by getting rid of (or storing elsewhere) extra clothes, shoes, tennis raquets, umbrellas, etc
- Too many personal photographs in the main living areas
- That extra chair that doesn't match the rest of your furniture and is kind of in the way… get it out.
- Focus on the kitchens, entrance ways, closets and lastly the garage
- Minimize - box up and store things you won't immediately need
- If you don't have a storage shed then rent a storage unit, borrow a friend or relative's garage or whatever to store boxes and furniture
- Have a garage sale and donate or throw away the items that don't sell
- Make sure entrance ways and doors are clean
- Focus on things that should shine - windows, doors, light switches, appliances and the kitchen and bathrooms
- Clean out the closets, garage, etc
- If cleaning is not your cup of tea - have professional cleaners come in and spend an afternoon, tell them why they are there
- If you want your carpets to look their best - have them cleaned
- Clean out stuff that could or should be thrown away (it will make your move easier and cheaper as well)