Preparing Your Home For Sale in Vermont: Part 1 – Interior
BY Lisa Friedman
Many sellers would like to know how to prepare for listing their property for sale. Here is a list of items that you should take into consideration when selling. 1) First impressions count. Make sure that the key that you give your Realtor functions properly. If not, have a new key made or replace the lock. It only takes one buyer to buy the house and you never know which buyer will be ‘the one’. If they can’t get into the house, they most likely won’t purchase it and some buyers simply don’t have time to make a return visit to the property (especially if they are from out of state and have a plane to catch). If the lock sticks or there is any problem at all, be sure that it is fixed. There is nothing more embarrassing to a real estate agent than having to keep fiddling with a lock to try to open it. If this happens, they will be less likely to show your home to future clients. 2) Think of your property as a house (commodity) versus as your home (emotional). Try to disassociate yourself from your emotional attachment to look at the house objectively. If your property looks clean and organized, the buyer will feel that you have taken better care of the house, including its mechanical systems, and you will probably receive a higher offer. 3) De-clutter. No one likes to walk into a messy house. Walk through each room and try to look at it objectively as if you were a buyer looking at the house for the first time. Try to remember that less is more. You will have to pack up to move eventually so you might as well begin now. Remove excessive furnishings and decorations. Remove any distractions such as ‘loud’ or garish items. Remove anything that is not considered ‘tasteful’ such as your teenagers black light posters. You may wish to consider donating some items. Make sure that each room feels clean and spacious. In the kitchen, remove most unnecessary items from the kitchen counter so it does not look cluttered. Take commonly used items that might be bulky and put them in a box in the pantry or a closet for easy access. Remove excess magnets and papers from the refrigerator. Make sure that the trash can does not smell. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink. Clean the oven and microwave. If outdated, you may want to replace the knobs and handles on your kitchen cabinets and drawers. This inexpensive replacement can make a dramatic change in making the room feel more updated. In the bath, do not leave multiple items on the sink. Store items in the medicine cabinet, vanity or in a linen closet. A nice set of towels will help ‘dress up’ the bath. If you have glass doors to your shower, make sure that they are clean and not showing soap residue. Check the tub to see if it needs fresh caulking. Fix any leaking faucets. 4) Organize your closets. If a closet looks cramped and overstuffed then a buyer might think that it would not hold all of their belongings. If feasible, add some inexpensive closet organizers. Have all shirts buttoned and facing the same direction. Line up shoes neatly. 5) Remove favorite items and replace them before showing your property. Everyone wants what they can’t have so if you have something of sentimental value such as an heirloom chandelier or that super duper refrigerator that your parents gave you as a wedding present and you just can’t live without, remove it from the house, put it in a storage unit, and replace it with something tasteful. If the buyer never sees it, they won’t want it and ask for it to be included in the sale. Many home sales have been lost over buyers and sellers arguing over something trivial. 6) Paint any rooms that look ‘tired’. Start with ultra bright white flat paint on the ceiling. Nothing makes a room feel more depressing than a grey, dingy ceiling. Interestingly, just a coat of bright white ceiling paint can instantly make a room feel larger and more cheerful. If the walls have excessive holes such as from a teenagers posters or lots of artwork, fill the holes with spackle, sand and re-paint. Paint is your cheapest way to improve the showability of your house with the most ‘bang for the buck’. 7) Make minor repairs. If a buyer sees that you haven’t taken the time to take care of ‘the little stuff’, they may conclude that you have skimped on maintaining major items. a) Replace any damaged flooring tiles. b) Consider replacing worn or stained carpeting. c) If your carpet is bunching up, have it stretched. d) If your floors squeak, have a professional come in to nail or screw them down better. e) Replace any burned out light bulbs. Use 100 watt light bulbs to brighten each room. f) Adjust doors, windows and cabinets that don’t open and close properly. g) Check the attic for leaks and mold. 8) Clean. Everyone prefers a feeling of clean. No dust bunnies! a) Make sure that your carpets are vacuumed at least weekly (preferably before every showing). b) Clean around all ceiling corners, ceiling fans, exhaust fans, tops of curtains and light fixtures for cobwebs. c) Clean all of the windows and keep curtains open for maximum sunlight. People like natural lighting. d) Wash wood floors so they shine. e) Organize basement and garage. f) Have your furnace and chimney cleaned so they will look good for the home inspection.