Trying to sell your home? Appearance, appearance, appearance. But a professional stager could cost $100+ per hour. Luckily there are lots of things you can do yourself that are quick and cost effective.
Prep the Interior
Clean up! Tidy the kitchen counters, pantries and closets. Wash both sides of windows. Zap the cobwebs. Polish the chrome. Empty the fridge. Vacuum the carpets. Dust everywhere. Patch any visible holes, replace cracked tiles, replace dead light bulbs, fix leaking faucets. Kitchen drawers should not jam, doors should close smoothly. Do tubs and showers need caulking?
Junk the clutter! Throw away or donate anything you don’t need; have garage sales. Pack up books and small items. Any move any appliances, coverings or fixtures you are taking with you. The buyer expects to own all they see. So create a feeling of spaciousness. Lease a storage unit and fill it with your stuff.
Stage even the tiniest details. Everything from removing worn rugs to waxing the floors can help..
You can also consider using a professional cleaning service for larger projects.
Focus on the Curb Appeal
Try to see with fresh eyes. Check the first impression by crossing the street and surveying the house as if for the first time. Is your house number visible? Is the garage door closed? Does the scene include old junker cars or a bulky RV?
Mow lawns, clear sidewalks, trim bushes, repaint faded trim. Consider staging lots of fresh plants and flowers in pots. Consider repainting the front door and polishing the brass. You could even power wash the exterior walls.
Repaint with Neutrals
Any paint more than five years old should be redone. Paint jobs unique to the current residents — the pink bathroom, the brown-and-red striped den — have to go. You do not want buyers thinking to themselves how they will have to repaint after moving in. A neutral paint job allows prospective owners to envision themselves inhabiting the home easier.
The Devil’s in the Details
You are almost done! Is perfection possible? No, but you can get awful close.
Edge the lawns; water them. Prune the trees. Clean the gutters and the chimney. Check everywhere for cracks and stains; repair damaged wallpaper, tiles, plaster and paint. Check the basement for leaks and cracks. Check the attic — what if they ask to see it?
Finally, order inspections of all major systems — plumbing, alarm, cooling and heating.
It Ain’t Over Until it’s Over
Do not list or show the house until you are absolutely certain it is in peak condition and ready to debut. The house will sell as soon as it hits the market, for the right price.