Tips for Home Sellers

Make the Most of that First Impression

A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch welcome prospects. If it’s autumn, rake the leaves. If it’s winter, shovel the walkways. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of your home, the better. If your front door makes a really poor first impression, replace it. This is the first thing they see, and that will set the tone for the rest of the home tour. If the front door is all right, just make sure it’s freshly-painted and clean. keep your lawn trimmed and edged, and get rid of any clutter. Better yet, drive by and try to look at your home’s exterior as if for the first time. If anything seems like it might hinder a buyer, correct it.

Invest a Few Hours for Future Dividends

Here’s your chance to clean up in real estate. Clean up in the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. Fresh wallpaper adds charm and value to your property. Prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look, “with a little work.”

Check Faucets and Toilets

Bathrooms are very important to any home sale, since buyers look at them very closely. Fix any leaky faucets and make sure the toilet doesn’t continuously run. Be sure everyone picks up their towels, and cleans the basins and tubs after use. New shower curtains are a must, and special “guest” towels that are only displayed during showings add a memorable touch as well.

Don’t Shut Out a Sale

If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect’s mind. Don’t try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily plane them away. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closing.

Think Safety

Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps: roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as non-perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.

The Nose “Knows”

You may absolutely love smoked fish or liver and onions, but it can be a real turn-off for some people. While your home’s for sale, try to prepare foods that don’t leave a lingering odor in the kitchen. Model home decorators know a little cinnamon potpourri simmering on the stove is a great way to give any kitchen a fresh, welcome scent.

Make Room for Space

Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They’re looking for storage space, too. Make sure your attic and basement are clean and free of unnecessary items.

Go Back to Wide Open Spaces

This is the time to clean out your closets, get rid of the clutter, and even remove some furniture if it makes your house look cramped. Actually, it’s good for you because it gives you a jump start on your move. Hold a garage sale to get rid of those things you don’t need, or store boxes and furnishings you won’t be using while your home’s on the market. The more open the rooms and the less packed the closets, the bigger your whole house will appear.

Make Your House Sparkle

It’s a well-known fact – clean houses sell faster. Make sure you have cooperation from everyone in the family to keep their own personal spaces neat and clean. Bathrooms sell homes, so let them shine. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers. For added allure, display your best towels, mats and shower curtains. Remember, you never know when the right person is going to come along, so your house needs to always be spotless. That way, you can be ready for a home tour at a moment’s notice.

Create Dream Bedrooms

Wake up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a spacious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must.

The Kitchen Is the Heart of the Home

The kitchen is the most used, and often the most important room in anyone’s home. Women are often the ultimate decision-makers in what home to buy and the kitchen is the key to whether they like your home. Make sure your kitchen is always spotless, free of dirty dishes, and inviting. People even draw conclusions about the condition of the entire house just by looking at your oven. If your refrigerator stays with the home, make sure it’s sparkling as well.

Make it Bright and Cheery

Dark rooms have little appeal, so be sure to turn on as many lights throughout the house during a home tour as possible–whether it’s dark or sunny outside. If the weather’s cold and rainy and you have a fireplace, a warm toasty fire is also a nice touch.

Avoid Crowd Scenes

Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter a home filled with people. Rather than giving your house the attention it deserves, they’re likely to hurry through. Keep the company present to a minimum.

Watch Your Pets

Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you’re showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. So do everybody a favor: Keep Kitty and Spot outside, or at least out of the way.

Think Volume

Rock-and-roll will never die. But it might kill a real estate transaction. When it’s time to show your home, it’s time to turn down the stereo or TV.


Be friendly, but don’t try to force conversation. Prospects want to view your home with a minimum of distraction.

Don’t Apologize

No matter how humble your abode, never apologize for its shortcomings. If a prospect volunteers a derogatory comment about your home’s appearance, let an experienced Real Estate Agent handle the situation.

Keep a Low Profile – Or Go Shopping!

Many realtors and potential buyers would prefer that the seller not be present during a showing, to avoid limiting the buyers’ conversation or making them uncomfortable. Children and pets should also be absent or out of the buyers’ way during a showing, if at all possible.

Don’t Turn Your Home into a Second-Hand Store

When prospects come to view your home, don’t distract them with offers to sell those furnishings you no longer need. You may lose the biggest sale of all.

Defer to Experience

When prospects want to talk price, terms, or other real estate matters, let them speak to an expert – your REALTOR®.

Help Your Agent

Your REALTOR® will have an easier time selling your home if showings are scheduled through his or her office. Offer to keep an eye on the brochure box attached to your sign and make sure it is always filled with flyers. Try to accommodate prospective buyers when they want to see your home.