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© 2018 by Barbara Campbell, REALTOR, Elkhart IN USA

Step #4: Getting the "Showroom" Ready

Here are 10 tips to prepare your home for sale. Most seem like common sense, some seem trivial - but you must remember you are dealing with the judgment and impressions of people who are making a very emotional, life-changing decision. Try not to skip or shortchange any of these 10 simple tips:

  • The way you live in your house, and the way you sell your house are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. You're NOT trying to display a "home family atmosphere," you're trying to create a showplace. Remember, often buyers are comparing your home to new homes that have yet to be occupied, and are spotlessly clean and uncluttered.

  • Get EVERYTHING that isn't completely necessary OFF your kitchen counters. That means stash the canister set, cookie jars, Cuisinart, cookbooks, and mail order catalogs. You'll be moving soon anyway - get started by packing these things. 

  • Have you let the old green carpet live far past its prime? Is there a hardwood floor underneath? GET RID OF THAT RUG, and get those floors looking presentable. Polish the hardwood or put down a good quality NEUTRAL carpet! A new "NEUTRAL CARPET" is the single most desirable improvement you can make to a tired home. DON'T take the "easy way" out and offer a "credit" to the buyer - you'll come out ahead if buyers SEE what they're getting and LIKE it! 

  • Remove excess furniture. You don't want prospects to think your home is too small for them and their furniture, do you? Move extra dining room chairs to the basement; get rid of end tables and book cases that are convenient for living, but clutter up a showplace. Open, spacious, airy are the key words here.

  • Take everything off the refrigerator door - and the top of the fridge while you're at it. Buyers seem to have an endless fascination with your personal things, and they serve as cluttered distractions when they're hanging all over the refrigerator door. 

  • Take down MOST of the family pictures. As with refrigerator art, family pictures are a source of distraction that almost invariably gets in the way of showing your home's features. Try it next time you visit the home of a new friend. We all relate to people, and are fascinated by pictures of old relatives. But we're not hosting a family reunion here, we're trying to sell your home! 

  • Wash or paint the front door, entryway and foyer. Put in some flowers; get rid of the cobwebs and bugs. It's easy to forget this area because most of us go into our homes another way.  But it's the part of the house prospects will see first, and you want to give them a good, positive impression of its condition and quality. If doorknobs and latches need work, fix them, too. These are KEY first-impression-makers! 

  • Get rid of those romantic, mood-setting light bulbs. Take out the 60-watter's and replace them with 100's. You want your showplace to be flooded with light, no matter what kind of weather or time of day it is outside. If you have a particularly dated lighting fixture or two, consider replacing them. It's easy and inexpensive.

  • AND - if you have a favorite chandelier or other "priceless keepsake" you want to take with you, remove it BEFORE you list or show your house. People want what they SEE! 

  • Go through the house and eliminate leaky faucets and loose faucet handles. Call a plumber if you have to.  If there's reason, have him fiddle with the toilets too. Prospects spend an inordinate amount of time turning water on and off. Don't give them a reason to cross your home off their list, especially when it's fairly easy and inexpensive to correct those superficial problems. 

  • Get two or three tubes of caulk and find places to use them until they're all gone. Caulk bathtubs and sinks, windows and doors. Caulk the joint where kitchen and bath counters meet the backsplash. 

  • Bake a few cookies the night before a showing. Make a pot of coffee and put it in a thermos. Invite prospects to enjoy! You will leave a positive impression that will make your house stand out from the crowd ("Honey, remember the one with the fresh cookies?"), and suggests one of the things we all love best about a home.

Well, if you're keeping track, you may have noticed that I promised to give you 10 tips for selling your home, but actually gave you ELEVEN! That's just one example of what I like to do to satisfy my clients: I try to give you more than I promise!

Of course there are other ways to improve the appearance of your home and increase its resale value. To get my expert advice, just call me and have me over to take a look. I have years' worth of experience advising people how to turn their homes into showplaces!

Your Key Step - Getting the "Showroom" Ready:  

Follow my list to improve the initial impression your home makes on potential buyers.

It's not easy to live in a "Showroom" - But it's worth it!

Your kitchen is often considered the most important room in your house.  Keep it spotless and uncluttered!

Prospects will probably enter through your front door - Make sure it's swept, clean, and inviting.