Before you think of putting your home on the market, call your REALTOR and ask them for a brutally honest discussion of issues that they think should be addressed in your home before listing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind that might help you on an ongoing basis so pre-listing preparation is kept to a minimum.
Remove all clutter. Visually simplify each room. Let a purchaser imagine their decor in your home. As well, you limit your market if your home is too strongly decorated.
Check your home for obvious issues like water spots on the ceiling and get them fixed. They will tip off Purchasers or Inspectors to a problem that may no longer exist.
Repair everything that needs to be repaired...do not renovate. Try to paint any major areas to brighten your home. Remember that most purchasers will want to see your home during the day and light is an issue. If the home needs too much work, then don't "throw good money after bad".
Make sure that all your appliances are in good working order. Most offers will ask that all appliances be in good working order. A four-burner stove must have four burners that work.
Clean the house and keep it that way. Make it sparkle! Most agents and purchasers will move the bath curtain to see whether you have mildew on your bathtub.
Do everything to make it inviting. Check your lighting. Make sure all your light bulbs working and make sure their levels set higher than normal. Remember that you are not preparing for a romantic evening but a showing.
If exterior sounds are an issue, leave some music on. However, if you are a buyer and you hear music playing make sure that it is not covering some problem.
Be careful of Dog or cat smells...especially clean the litter box everyday and make sure that there are no presents in the back yard for anyone to step in.
Wash all windows inside and out. Please hire professionals to do it. This is a big job and should be done safely with the proper equipment.
You may want to call a Building Inspector like Carson and Dunlop and depending on size, you could have your house pre-inspected for as low as $350.00. This will alleviate any offers being Conditional on Building Inspections and also give you some items that you may be able to address before listing.
If your home has unused "knob and tube" wiring have it removed. It will save another issue on a building inspection and insuring for any new purchasers.
Leave enough areas for people to wipe their shoes. Removing shoes can be an issue for some purchasers. Put a welcome mat in the front outside and inside.
Clean your yard front and back, wash down all decks and out door furniture. Set it up as if you were about to have a summer party.
In the spring, Plant container grown bulbs like daffodils (squirrels don't usually eat them) and they add great colour. Fill your front porch containers with hardy plants like pansies.
Wash your house outside with a strong spray. Sills have a tendency to collect dirt and debris.
Please take down your Xmas lights and Xmas tree. Check that all outdoor bulbs are working and provide enough light for agents to open lock boxes. When you list your home, these lights must be on every evening.
If you have a forced air furnace, treat your self to having the ducts in your house cleaned, your furnace and air conditioner serviced and a new filter exchanged. It will bring down the dust and show you as a vendor that performs general maintenance on a regular basis.
Flowers inside and out. Pungent spring flowers like hyacinth are great. Don't over do it though, as some purchasers are also allergic.
Keep an eye on your windows and skylights. Lots of homes have very interesting rooflines. Keep debris off skylights and make sure that they and all your windows are being caulked on a regular basis and certainly checked ever year.
Go through the whole house, especially the basement and search for cobwebs. Sweep down the walls and the high ceilings and corners for spider webs. They look bad, send the wrong message especially if a purchaser walks through them.
Make sure that all hallways are well lit and very easy to navigate. You may walk those halls in the dark, don't expect buyers and their agents to.
Cut back the rose bushes in the garden. Make it easy for people to walk in your back yard and not kill the Purchaser or their agent.
Make sure that the property's parking spots are clearly visible and useful. Parking is an issue for most Purchasers and if you have been using the parking as a garden, it is time to pull the grass and put the gravel back.
Don't wait until you think of selling before applying for front pad parking. If it is a potential, make it a reality.
Don't cover your home with post-it notes. All issues should be dealt with and self-evident. If you have to cover your home with post-it notes to point out its advantages, you are not ready to bring your home to the market.
If all these issues can be addressed, you have a home that will bring you top dollar in today's market. It will be easier to sell because you will have removed some of the potential concerns of the Purchaser. However, when it's all done...don't be surprised if you have a home that you no longer want to sell.