Selling Your Home: Where To
Remember what first attracted
you to your house when you bought it? What excited you about its
most appealing features? Now that you're selling your home,
you'll need to look at it as if you were buying it all over
A spruced up house makes a great first impression on potential
buyers. An attractive property grabs their attention and makes
them excited about finding a house that looks and feels
well-cared for. Because buyers know they’ll encounter fewer
problems if they buy it, your house becomes more appealing and
stands out from the competition. So if you prepare your home
correctly, you’ll save time selling it when it’s on the market.
A good first impression makes an impact on a number of levels.
It’s not just the way your house looks to potential buyers, but
how it feels and smells to them, how their friends and family
will react, how they imagine it would be to live there.
With simple improvements throughout your house, you can grab the
attention of potential buyers and help them see why your house
is right for them.
Create a plan to enhance your
property. Keep a notebook for your selling project, and as you
stroll through your yard, make a list of what needs to be done.
Consider what your property looks like to people driving by or
walking through your door. What will they like or dislike? What
needs fixing, painting, cleaning? What can you improve? Whether
you paint your house or fix up the yard, your efforts don’t need
to be costly; even inexpensive improvements and minor repairs go
far toward attracting serious buyers. But remember, those
seemingly insignificant problems you’ve learned to live with can
actually discourage potential buyers. Here are ideas for
increasing your home’s appeal in order to sell it quickly at the
Buyers expect a spotless
house, inside and out. So clean everything, especially your
windows and window sills. Scrub walls and floors, tile and
ceilings, cupboards and drawers, kitchen and bathrooms. Wash
scuff marks from doors and entryways, clean light fixtures and
the fireplace. Don’t forget the laundry room. And put away your
Cut the Clutter
People are turned off by rooms
that look and feel cluttered. Remember, potential buyers are
buying your house, not your furniture, so help them picture
themselves and their possessions in your home by making your
rooms feel large, light, and airy. As you clean, pack away your
personal items, such as pictures, valuables, and collectibles,
and store or get rid of surplus books, magazines, videotapes,
extra furniture, rugs, blankets, etc. Consider renting a storage
unit to eliminate clutter in your garage and attic.
It’s hard to get rid of possessions, but cleaning and clearing
out the clutter can really pay off in the end. Packing away your
clutter also gets you started packing for your next move. Make
your garage and basement as tidy as the rest of your house.
Simple little tasks such as storing your tools and neatly
rolling up your garden hose suggest that you take good care of
your house. Don’t let anything detract from making your best
They’re an important
consideration to many buyers. By storing clothing you won’t use
soon, you’ll make closets look spacious.
A new coat of paint cleans up
your living space and makes it look bright and new. To make
rooms look larger, choose light, neutral colors that appeal to
the most people, such as beige or white.
Check its condition. If it’s worn, consider replacing it. It’s
an easy and affordable way to help sell your home faster. Again,
light, neutral colors, such as beige, are best. If you don’t
replace it, you can suggest to potential buyers that they could
select new carpet and you’ll reduce your price; buyers like to
hear they’re getting a deal. At the very least, have your carpet
It’s best to avoid making
major renovations just to sell the house since you’re unlikely
to recoup those costs from your selling price. Make minor
repairs to items such as leaky faucets, slow drains, torn
screens, gutters, loose doorknobs, and broken windows. Make sure
repairs are well done; buyers won’t take you seriously if your
home-improvement efforts look messy, shoddy, or amateurish.
Water stains on ceilings or in
the basement alert buyers to potential problems. Don’t try to
cosmetically cover up stains caused by leaks. If you’ve fixed
the water problem, repair the damage and disclose in writing to
the buyer what repairs were made.
The "Wow" factor — that first
visual, high-impact impression your home makes on potential
buyers — can turn a looker into a buyer. To determine your
property’s curb appeal, drive through your neighborhood and note
other properties; then approach your own house as if you were a
potential buyer. How does it look? Does it "wow" you? Will its
curb appeal attract buyers? Note what needs improving, such as
trimming trees, planting shrubs, or painting gutters. Little
things convey that you’ve cared for your home, and this is your
opportunity to sell that important message to buyers who are
shopping from the street, simply cruising neighborhoods just
looking for houses for sale. To get them through your door, do
what you can to make your property look like someone’s dream
If it’s peeling or blistering
and you can’t remember the last time you painted it, your house
needs some attention. That also goes for stain that is
significantly faded. A newly painted or stained exterior will
help sell your house faster. And whether you do it yourself or
hire someone, you’ll also increase your home’s value.
In the Yard
Grab people’s attention by
enhancing your yard and landscaping. If your house looks
inviting and well-maintained from the street, people will
imagine that it’s attractive on the inside, too.
Prune bushes and hedges; trim trees.
Keep your lawn looking healthy and green by mowing it often,
fertilizing it, and keeping it edged and trimmed.
Clean up and dispose of pet mess.
Weed your gardens; add fertilizer and mulch; then plant colorful
In winter, keep your driveway and sidewalks shoveled, de-iced,
Stack firewood, clean out birdbaths, repair and paint fences.
The Front Door
An attractive entry catches a
buyer’s eye and says, "Welcome," so highlight this area of your
house with decorative touches, such as a wreath on the door or
new shrubs and flowers around the steps. For an even grander
entry, clean and paint your front door, or replace it with a new
one for a few hundred dollars. Don’t forget to fix and polish
doorknobs, repair torn screens, and then put out that new