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Preparing the interior of your home for sale

Make your home buyer-friendly with
these important tips

Selling a home is probably one of the biggest transactions you will ever make. Attracting the right buyer is no easy task. Before you even begin to think about contacting a real estate agent, be prepared to spend some time cleaning, packing, repairing, painting, replacing, and clearing out.

Making your home's interior presentable is much more than a thorough cleaning. A home that is on the market should be a blank palette, one that potential buyers will see as theirs--not yours. In other words, you're going to turn your house into a model home.

Here are a few suggestions that will help eliminate the clutter and clear the path for a quicker sale.

- Get rid of collections; i.e., crystal, miniatures, and knickknacks - anything that is sitting out in groups on tables or in open cabinets.

- Remove all family pictures and mementos from walls and on tabletops. This includes awards, trophies, and plaques - anything listing your name.

- Take down those refrigerator magnets. Pack up all non-essential kitchen appliances and stash those you must keep under the counters.

- Trim houseplants of dead foliage and get rid of any plants that are struggling.

- If you have kids, keep only toys they cannot live without; this won't be an easy one, but box up all unused items.

- Another tough area - make sure the garage is free of extra tools. Keep those that are visible hung neatly on pegs or nails or out of the way.

- Start using up the canned goods in the pantry and only replace the necessities.

- Nice art can stay, but remove any small groupings that might add to the clutter.

- Consider, at this point, renting an off-site storage unit on a month-to-month basis. Your main objective is to help potential buyers envision their things in your home. Closets filled with personal items or stacked to the ceiling with boxes wil only detract. A bonus is that your move will go much more smoothly with the pre-sale packing.

- Remove extra clothing from closets and stow away.

- Keep furniture to a bare minimum; send excess side chairs and the love seat to storage. Pack away books and take the bookcases to storage as well.

- If any room has a dark corner, set up a small table with a lamp. You want every bit of your home to look bright and cheery, regardless of time of day.

Now that personal effects and clutter are gone, it will be easier to complete these steps:

- Paint, paint, and more paint. New paint covers flaws, chips, and dust and the fresh smell is enticing to a potential buyer. Keep colors pastel and get rid of any oddball or bright colors.
- Replace carpet if worn; at a minimum, have it professionally cleaned.
- Check all internal/external doors. They should open and close smoothly. Make sure the keys turn easily in locks.
- Clean out and paint the fireplace interior.
- Replace chipped or cracked tiles. If grout is worn and dirty, cover with a grout stain in the next darkest color.
- Dust the tops of all vanity lights and make sure all bulbs throughout the house are working. Keep replacements on hand for any last-minute outage.
- Repair drippy faucets and remove lime deposits.
- Make sure all toilets flush easily. Potential buyers feel like they need to test things that are within easy reach and will often flush the toilet just to do something.
- Eliminate pet odors. If carpet has been soiled, soak with vinegar and then clean as usual. Pet hairs can be a serious deterrent; vacuum all surface areas regularly.
- Splurge on a nice front door mat; no wording, just a neutral pattern.
Now, you are ready to contact a real estate agent. Here's how to make them work for you and also make their job easier.

- On the first walk-through with your agent, serve hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. Select nice bottles of red and white wines; have glasses out, and ready to serve. They'll not only be impressed, but will know that you're ready to do what it takes to make a sale.
- Your agent may request a group walk-through with other agents. This is common practice in larger real estate firms. Have cookies and soft drinks available for the walk-through.
- Do not light candles or create artificial smells. A light vanilla or cinnamon scent is acceptable, however.
- Do not have music on: no radios, stereos, or television.
- Fresh flowers or a fruit bowl on a kitchen counter and dining room table add a nice touch.
- Turn on all lights and open all drapes and blinds.
- Create a short checklist to use before each visit by a potential buyer. Make sure everything is dust-free and orderly.

While there are no guarantees for selling a home quickly, these suggestions should help make your home most appealing to a potential buyer.

Helpful Articles:
Preparing the Exterior of Your Home for Sale




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