Before you show your house to prospective buyers, you should start looking at how to present the house in its best light so that you can make a good impression on anybody who comes in. Potential buyers need to be able to imagine living there, and it’s important for that process of falling in love to start early. Of course, it’s even more important to look for those things that keep visitors from being as impressed as they could be. 

Curb Appeal: The first impression buyers get comes before they even get into the house. Make sure the lawn, plants and flowers are well watered and fertilized, the lawn moved, and the flowerbeds weeded. Think about sprucing up your garden with some bright annuals. Families with children will also need to clear up any toys in the yard.

Beside the yard, make sure the exterior of your house is freshly painted and the gutters are cleared. This is the time to fix any broken steps, fix up or replace railings, or replace a broken doorbell.

Repairs: On the inside of your house, look for anything that needs to be fixed up, like that leaky faucet or drafty window you’ve been meaning to get to. In an older house, it might be worth having a professional check the electrical and plumbing systems to make sure they’re up to code. Be careful about attempting heavy-duty repairs, especially in those areas, without professional help.

The value add from simple repairs before going to market can be well worth the time invested. 

The value add from simple repairs before going to market can be well worth the time invested. 

Cleaning: This may seem obvious but is worth repeating. All floors need to be done—it’s often a good idea to rent a carpet cleaner. Remember that everything needs to stand up to a high level of scrutiny. A dirty home, especially if there are bad smells, is a big turnoff to buyers. They might be able to solve the problem easily enough, but so can you. Pet owners in particular need to keep pet hair and smells under control as much as possible. Buyers who aren’t pet lovers will appreciate the effort.

Part of cleaning is also decluttering and storing away your personal items. This helps your space look bigger and cleaner. Buyers need to imagine their own things in the space and imagine living there, which can be harder if your own personality is too strong.

Painting: Along with the outside of the house, check the walls and door frames for any marks or chipping that need to be touched up. You might want to change the wall colour—try to find something neutral without being too boring. Make sure the colour isn’t too taste-specific.

Staging: When you’ve cleared the house out as much as you can, look at how you can rearrange the furniture in order to use the space as well as possible, whether it’s turning the dining room from an office back into a proper dining room or finding a better sightline from the couch to the TV. Sometimes this can mean disrupting the way you use your house now, but remember that you’re not doing it for yourself, but to show what the house can be.

A few simple fixes can make a big difference. Doing these things will make it easier for you to sell your house faster, and for more money. 

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