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Curb Appeal and Showing Your Home

Curb Appeal and Showing Your Home

Showing the property is the most critical of phases of home selling, yet often under emphasized.  In an extensive California study, test results revealed that a majority of Buyers made their purchase decisions in the initial 2 minutes of viewings.  So grab your Buyers attention as they drive by or approach your front door.  A little paint, a bit of pruning, a good wash, maybe a flower basket and a touch of TLC will likely yield a big dividend.   A well cared for, neat and attractive home will generally sell more quickly and for more money than an uncared for home.  While you are not likely to perform all the following, remember that NEAT, CLEAN AND ORGANIZED does not require a lot of money.  Also remember that you are moving anyway, so pack up the excess now for a better impression.  The following are but a few suggestions on preparing your home for showing and creating maximum curb appeal.


Gussy up the front entrance. Buy a new mat (in & out).  A coat of paint on the door, brass accents such as house numbers, a door knob, and a kick plate, and pruned bushes and blooming plants can help your home make a good first impression.


Reduce clutter.  Sort through closets, drawers, and storage areas.  Toss what you can, organize the rest.  If you have too much furniture in your home, put some pieces in storage or arrange to give an illusion of greater space.  SPACE SELLS.


Clean.  Apply elbow grease and strong cleansers to surfaces inside and outside your home.  Clean windowsills & tracks.  CLEAN SELLS.

Sparkling windows are a signal to buyers that you care about your home.  Clean your interior and exterior windows.  Repair cracked panes, torn screens, broken sashes, and ropes or cords.

Whenever your home is being shown, open your curtains to let the light in - especially if the view is nice.   LIGHT SELLS.

Make minor repairs.  Tighten loose knobs, fix leaky faucets and discolored sinks, lubricate squeaky hinges, clean out clogged drains, replace filters, secure loose shingles, tighten loose banisters, repair doors, door knobs and remove stains, shampoo rugs and wax floors.


Turn on all lights before home is shown.  Make sure all lighting fixtures work.  Add new bulbs with the highest wattage allowed for each fixture to make the room seem brighter.   BRIGHT SELLS.

Appeal to the senses.  Create an aroma during the open house.   Burn candles or potpourri, boil a pot of cinnamon sticks, or put a dab of vanilla on cold light bulbs before turning them on.  If you have pets or if someone in your home smokes, the odors can linger and lessen your home's appeal.  You might not notice these smells if you live with them every day, but an unchanged cat box or an ashtray filled with cigarette butts can mean your home will get no further attention.  SMELL SELLS.


Paint.  Light, neutral colors such as beige, white, off-white, or gray have a broader appeal and can make small rooms seem larger and airier.  If you have dated wallpaper, remove the paper and paint the walls.  Choose premium quality paint.  Caulk and fill nail holes before painting.   PAINT YOUR CONCRETE FLOORS.  BIG RETURNS.

Repair a leaky roof, and then paint over any watermarks on the ceiling.  Don't paint to hide a problem, always fix and then paint.


Repair a wet basement as applicable.  The problem can be as easy to fix as installing downspout extensions or covers over window wells.  If the moisture problem calls for more extensive repairs and you are not able to make them, be prepared to explain the problem to a buyer.  Don't try to cover up the signs of a wet basement.


Exterminate.  Bugs make bad impressions on a buyer.  Call in a professional to rid your home of insects, and allow time for the smell of the pesticide to disappear before showing your home.


Organize the kitchen.   MOST IMPORTANT ROOM IN THE HOME.   Clear off the counters.  Add drawer organizers to suggest efficient use of space.  Store seldom-used small appliances and large baking pans.


Update the bath.  If cleaning and painting can't make a dingy bath dynamite, consider replacingthe vanity and sink, installing a new floor covering, or resurfacing a stained bathtub.  Even a new shower curtain or toilet seat can work wonders.


If you have a deck, patio, porch or other outdoor entertainment area such as a pool or hot tub, make the most of them.  Keep these areas, as well as your backyard, clean and clutter-free, put debris in covered trashcans, and power wash any algae.


Install outdoor lighting that properly illuminates your entrances, walkways, and drive.  Turn on all those outdoor lights when your home is being shown.


Put potted flowering plants by the front door.  Give shutters a fresh coat of paint.  A window box full of flowers is an inexpensive way to add an accent of color to your home's exterior.


Pick up tools and toys from the yard.  Put garbage cans in the garage and shut the door.  Make sure the garage is swept, and try to remove any stains from the floor.  A painted floor adds tremendous value.


Paint your mailbox and lamppost.


Clean gutters and downspouts.  Straighten and paint if necessary.


Depending on the season, hose down the house, walkway, and driveway at least once a week.


Repair cracks and pull weeds from walkways and the drive.


Carpeting has a major impact on the look of your home.  If yours is badly worn, outdated or stained, consider replacing it.

Hardwood floors add to the beauty and value of a home and deserve special attention.  If you live in an older home, check for hardwood floors under the carpeting.  You may be able to pull up the carpeting and refinish by simply cleaning and waxing the floors to create a classic fresh look.


Please contain your pets.  They may be cute to you, but possibly an annoyance and distraction to Buyers.  Maybe ask friends to care for your pets or put them to their kennel when your home is being shown.   


Take a picture - it will last longer.  If flowering surrounds your home or fruit-bearing trees, low-maintenance landscapes, and herbal or flower gardens, be sure to take pictures when everything is in full bloom.  Photographs are proof of the breathtaking view of your lawn and garden and tell prospective buyers the full story of your home - no matter the season.

Landscape to perfection.  Edge between your lawn, drive and walkways, remove dead leaves, limbs and other debris from your lawn, trim trees and hedges, prune evergreens and shrubs, put fresh mulch around trees, shrubs and hedges, put away lawn equipment and gardening tools.


Weed and cultivate flower gardens, repair fences and gates, and give them a fresh coat of paint if necessary.  Mow your lawn.  For more lushness, be sure to water, mow and fertilize it regularly.  If you are an absentee seller, make arrangements for lawn care.   


Remove that RV or unlicensed vehicle with the flat tire from the driveway.  Arrange for storage to open up your driveway and home.


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