Some people say the within the first minute of entering your home, most buyers decide not to buy it based on some things that seem trivial. Do you want to know what they are?
1. The outside of the house: Cost= plants, paint, hard work and time--maybe a new door mat
You want the outside to match the quality of the inside.
to do....repaint the outside window trim; repaint the front door; fix the eaves and downspouts by straightening, cleaning and securing them; clear and trim the yard; place some plants along the walk up to the entrance. I had an amazingly beautiful house, like a show home inside but they forgot about the Christmas lights hanging over the front door---in July!
2. Odours : Cost:= soap, water, elbow grease, air freshener USED MINIMALLY
You want the house to be odour free, not to be known as 'the cat house' or the 'smelly house'
to do...clean everything top to bottom; get rid of items that have trapped odours--maybe old furniture, pet items, old drapes, old books; place air fresheners or scented candles in areas where odours remain BUT don't go overboard. One of my listings had so many air fresheners my eyes watered when I entered.
3.Clutter: Cost= storage bins, garage shelves, hard work, letting go
You want the buyers to visualize THEIR stuff in the house and they cannot do that if it is full of YOUR stuff.
to do...buy cheap storage bins for clothes, toys, books, treasures; install shelves in the garage to clear floor space elsewhere; empty the medicine cabinets and sink surfaces so that everthing can fit into a box under the sink; clean the kitchen of rarely used appliances like blenders and oven toasters; take the pictures off the wall--you can put them back up when people are not viewing--; throw out some of the furniture that you plan to get rid of 'some day' ... do it now. One of my clients was a gourmet cook, her kitchen had one of every gadget ever invented. She did an amazing job of presenting her home, people often asked me if anybody really lived there, however, each time before I showed her home she made a sweep through her kitchen and loaded all of her gadgets into the trunk of her car before I got there. It sold the house, well over asking price!
4. Out-of-date looks: Cost= light fixtures, light switches, plug faces, cabinet handles, internal door handles, closet pulls, paint
You want your home to look up-to-date but maybe you are not in the position for a full kitchen or bathroom renovation. Make the best of what you have.
To do...update the light fixtures, paint the walls, put on new switch plates for lights and plugs, replace the handles on the cabinets, the internal doors and the closets, if possible replace the thermostat cover in each room for a surprisingly powerful effect even if the furnace is old, it looks great; touch up small spots where paint has chipped or peeled; try to repair flooring or other areas that show wear. A friend of mine came from a family of carpet professionals, he showed me how a very tiny pair of nail scissors can be used to CAREFULLY trim away small spots of stained fibers or long threads pulled out by the cat. Check with the manufacturer before trying this.
5. Uninviting feel: Cost= time, a plant, a painting, a magazine--Architictural Digest is always a win, maybe a mirror
To do....go out to open houses and see what professionals have done to stage show homes. Check out the colours of paint used for walls and trim; the layout of the furniture and how it may give the illusion of more space; notice the design touches like a plant over here, wide open window coverings, a magazine on the bed, or a throw blanket over the chair arm and then copy a few in your home. Notice how they will often choose one accent colour and have an item of that colour in every room of the house to create a feeling of flow and unity. I had a condo with a 'den'. It was more of a large closet to tell the truth, however, we took out the storage boxes and the cat litter box, placed a large mirror at the end of the room , added more light with a couple of small desk lamps, put in a computer, computer desk and a transparent plastic chair with a few unique items on the desktop. SOLD!
There is a science to presenting your home in the best possible way, but if you try to see your place with fresh eyes or ask a friend to walk through with you to spot problem areas that you have become used to and don't notice any more you will go a long way to reaching a great look. Potential buyers look with a very critical eye on every aspect of your home. Sometimes it is the smallest flaw that will put them off. If you can see it, be sure they will see it too! Take time to fix it up before you show your home and you will decrease the selling time and increase the value! Good Luck !!
PS In addition to being a REALTOR, I am an Accredited Home Stager and provide free consultation to my clients
(Investopedia Andrew Beattie)