You may think your house is perfect just the way it is, but a prospective buyer may not see it that way. To give your home “curb appeal” and make it more attractive to buyers, there are some tasks you should see to before you place that “For Sale” sign in your front yard. Many of these suggestions are simple, common-sense items; others will require some time and investment. But you’ll reap the rewards when a buyer walks into your house and exclaims, “This is the home I’ve been waiting for!”

  1. If your home needs to be painted, this is the time to do it. The interior paint job should be fresh and clean and in a single, neutral color throughout. This is not the time to experiment with lilac walls in the bedroom. The same goes for the exterior. Don’t forget shutters and windows. If your home has vinyl or aluminum siding, be sure it’s clean. Moldy, dirty siding will tell a buyer that your home has not been taken care of properly.
  2. The green shag carpeting still gracing your floors should be replaced. Old, matted carpeting will be a detriment to your home selling. Real estate agents all have a dozen stories of a home that sat and sat on the market until the old carpeting was replaced. Then, it sold immediately. If you have hardwood floors under old carpet, tear up the carpet to expose them; today’s buyers love hardwood floors.
  3. Make a list of all those little repairs you’ve let go. Then fix each one. The hole in the screen, the loose doorknob, the doorbell that doesn’t work and the leaky faucet must all be repaired before buyers start looking at your home.
  4. If your home’s appliances, like the dishwasher, oven, refrigerator and washer and dryer, are old and outdated, it could pay to replace them. Buyers do not want to be faced with the possibility of having to replace appliances upon moving in to a new house. Shiny, new appliances already in place will be a big selling point.
  5. Clear your house of clutter and debris. Get rid of piles of old newspapers and magazines, the old clothes that don’t fit, the closet full of small appliances that don’t work, dust-filled collections of knickknacks, etc. Clean, open spaces make your home look bigger to prospective buyers.
  6. Clean out closets so that they appear more spacious. Closets are an important feature to today’s buyers so you want yours to look as roomy as possible. If they’re still too cluttered after cleaning them out, remove items you don’t need now and put them in storage.
  7. Minimize the amount of personal items and mementos in your home. Prospective buyers want to imagine themselves living in the home. Dozens of family pictures and your grandchild’s finger paintings cluttered on the refrigerator will make them feel that they’re invading your home, rather than inspecting their future home.
  8. Clean your house top to bottom including walls, floors, furniture and tabletops. Everything should be sparkling clean when a buyer makes that all-important first visit. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, crumbs on the counter or laundry stacked in the bedroom.
  9. Take a long, hard look at your home from the street. Does it have curb appeal? Is it warm, inviting and well-kept? Make sure by mowing the lawn, weeding garden areas, trimming unruly bushes, resealing the driveway and sweeping the porch.
  10. Pay particular attention to your front door. Repaint it if necessary. Polish the doorknob and knocker and clean the glass and screen door. When a buyer waits at the front door to enter, make sure he or she sees that your home was cared for lovingly.