I created this blog to have a place to share information, ideas, thoughts, and experiences, not necessarily just about real estate, but also life in general.

November 11, 2012

Improve Your Home's Appeal.

Improve Your Home's Appeal
First impressions are important when a prospective buyer walks in to preview your home. I read somewhere about the 60-second rule: That's all the time you have to get a winning first impression.

Something to ask yourself too: “What would I like to see if I were considering buying this house?” Stand across the street and look at your house from the buyer’s standpoint, seeing the house for the first time. You’ll be amazed how many creative ideas will come to mind.

Here are some ways to improve your home’s appeal. You may have already done them, but take a look as you may have overlooked something.

  • Buy a new welcome mat for the front door.
  • Tighten and clean all door handles.
  • Paint the front door. Or at least, clean it or apply fresh varnish.
  • Place potted flowers near the front door.
  • Replace dead plants and shrubs with fresh ones that add color and brighten your lawn and landscaping.
  • Keep the grass cut and apply fresh mulch or decorative bark to flower beds.
  • Store tools, garbage cans, hoses, and other items neatly in the garage or shed when not in use.
  • Trim all trees and shrubs that block the view of the house.
  • Replace rotted boards and posts in decking and fencing.
  • Apply fresh paint or Use outdoor stain, sealants, and protectants to brighten up bleached decking and fence
  • Make sure doorknobs aren’t loose and all doors latch properly.
  • Clear patios and decks of barbecues, charcoal, utensils, etc.
  • Clean windows inside and out.
  • Powerwash home's exterior.
  • Make sure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.
  • Add low voltage outdoor lighting in the front and backyard to enhance landscaping and prevent accidents on dark walkways.

  • Keep entryway flooring spotless
  • Replace broken, worn or outdated knobs and hinges on doors and cabinets.
  • Upgrade old or worn curtains with new. Mini-blinds and vertical blinds are preferable to heavy drapes.
  • Keep extra furniture to a minimum. Remove or replace worn or dated furniture and keep the traffic areas clear. Too much furniture will visually reduce the size of the room. Too many pictures on the wall will do the same.
  • Limit pictures, photographs, wall hangings and knick-knacks to a minimum.
  • Keep all windows and sills clean. Use razor blades to remove paint, decals, etc.
  • Make sure window screens and vent screens are in good repair.
  • Dust regularly and watch for cobwebs in corners and on light fixtures.
  • Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans.
  • Shampoo carpets. Check tack stripping in corners of carpeted rooms for gaps. Consider stretching carpet where it’s loose.
  • Replace yellowed, worn, cracked, broken, or missing faceplates for switches and outlets.
  • Paint any room that needs more than a little touch up. If you aren’t sure, take down a picture from the wall and look at the room again.
  • Preferable colors of interior paint are: antique white, bone, frost. Stay away from pure white or eggshell as well as darker colors.
  • Keep all woodwork spotless. Use ‘Liquid Gold’ or a similar wood restorative to make cabinets and trim look new. 
  • Clean and organize cabinets, closets and bookshelves.Make sure all cabinets close properly and all drawers operate smoothly.
  • Keep bookshelves neat and organized. Try to eliminate clutter. Don’t hesitate to box up excess magazines, videotapes, CD’s, albums, personal collections, etc.
  • Display fresh flowers from the garden, florist, or supermarket in several rooms. Avoid strong potpourri and other air fresheners.
  • Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking, discolored grout).
  • Keep counters clean and clear. Anything not used daily in the kitchen should be stored out of sight. The more space you have available on the counter, the larger and more inviting the kitchen appears.
  • Keep fireplaces clean. Replace old grates and screens that are worn or unattractive.
  • Replace broken tiles and worn countertops.
  • Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.
  • Keep bathrooms spotless and smelling slightly of cleaning products. Tilex, Lysol,
  • Always keep counters clear. Put away bath toys, shampoo bottles, etc. Keep daily toiletries in a basket that can be stored underneath the sink or in a cabinet.
  • Have pets out of the way as much as possible. Even iguanas, parakeets, and aquariums distract a buyer from focusing on the house. Also keep in mind that many buyers may have allergies to your pets. Visible cat boxes and pet beddings should be placed discretely.
  • Get rid of unwanted or seldom used items through garage sales and donations. Or, move them to a storage unit off site.

I've compiled this list over the years from many sources. This is the final one I use when I prepare my client's home before it goes on the market. There's so much more you can do, but these should give you a good start.


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