1. Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines, and also any bills or personal documents. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to free up space and make closets seem roomier.
2. Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior. A tidy home also creates an impression of being well-cared for.
3. Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Vacuum and Mop floors. Dust baseboards. Clean fans. Clean (or hire someone to clean) the stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave. A clean house makes a better first impression and puts buyers at ease because they can see the home has been well cared for.
4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpets and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows. Candles tend to mask smells, but the elimination of odor sources is best.
5. Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements or other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs. Adding complimentary lamps can help eliminate dark corners as well. A home-staging professional can help with suggestions, if needed.
6. Make any minor repairs that you have been putting off. A home in dis-repair can create a bad impression and bring in low offer prices. Small problems, such as sticky doors, broken handles, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they'll give the buyer the sense that the house isn't well maintained.
7. Tidy your yard! Curb appeal is one of the most important parts of a buyer's impression of the home. To go for great curb appeal, cut the grass, edge the walkways, rake the leaves, trim the bushes. Finally, blow the sidewalks and driveway clean of debris. Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door. Make sure door numbers a clean and clear. Polish or replace the front door knob, if needed. Put a pot or two of flowers near the entryway to add color.
8. Patch any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
9. Clean your gutters. Make sure roof is clean, and clear of leaves or debris.
10. Clean out the garage! A garage that is stuffed with stored items gives an impression that the home lacks decent storage. If needed have the garage door serviced, and keep the receipt...it is a nice touch when any service done to the house has a receipt or invoice that you can pass along to the new owner of the home.
*Based on an article from REALTOR® Magazine Online. Copyrights 2005.