First impressions count.
You may not be able to tell a book by its cover, but you’ll likely pay more for a book if the cover is charming and attractive.
If your home is for sale, or soon will be, creating a positive first impression is one of the most important things you can do. Thankfully, it’s not hard. Here are 12 steps you can take; most of them fall under simple maintenance and organization, but some of them could possibly help you decide when it’s time to move.
How to impress visitors
1. Go outside. Mow the law, prune bushes, remove dead tree branches, and get rid of outdoor furniture you don’t plan to take with you.
2. Clean the front door and lintels, or paint them if necessary.
3. Check for leaks throughout the house. A drip may not seem important, but it could suggest poor maintenance elsewhere in the house. Don’t leave room for doubt in a buyer’s mind.
4. Clean out closets and storage areas. Donate old clothes and furniture to local charities. This will create a sense of greater space in the home, and mean fewer items to move.
5. Professionally clean the carpets. This is especially important if the carpeting will remain for the new owners.
6. Flip every switch to make sure the electrical works throughout the house. Prospective home buyers will do this. Fix any switches that need help.
7. Caulk around tubs and sinks. New caulk looks better than old caulk, and you’ll also prevent those tricky leaks.
8. Replace lightbulbs that don’t work and use as much wattage as the fixture will take. Good illumination makes your home seem light and airy.
9. Tour the property from the perspective of a first-time visitor. Is there anything that may seem uncomfortable to visitors? The 30-year-old green shag carpeting can be off-putting and mirrors in poorly lit basements can be dangerous, for example.
10. Clean out medicine cabinets. Remove out-of-date items, and consider removing prescription pills when buyers visit. Buyers might look in every nook and open every door. No one wants to be embarrassed by what they find.
11. If you have a pet, make arrangements to have it elsewhere when your home is being shown. Some people have allergies. No one wants to be barked or pawed at when they enter.
12. Ask your broker to examine the property for specific showing tips to make your home more attractive when compared to others in the area.
Updated from an earlier version by Peter G. Miller.
Anne Miller lives in Brooklyn and writes content for the Web. Her interests include real estate and international news.