your house? Go for curb appeal
I am getting set to show my house. Are there some
things I should know to help the process along? What should I wear
when I show it? -- Suzy Q.
There are plenty of strategies for putting your best foot forward
at show time, ranging from minimal to maximum effort. The more work
you do and the more thought you put into the process, the better
chance you'll have of selling the house quickly and for a better
Let's start with some simple things.
Curb-appeal strategies that aren't particularly expensive
include neatly trimming the lawn and hedges and planting new annuals
for a spot of color. Be sure to keep them amply watered. Make sure
all lawn tools, toys, wrappers, garbage cans, recycling bins and
the like are picked up and put away. Clutter, both outside and inside,
is a turnoff.
Clean the front porch or entryway and all front shutters.
Make sure the front door is clean, since it represents both a first
impression and a portal to what may be a new home for the buyer.
Whisk away any cobwebs. Close your garage door and any gates. Clean
all windows inside and out. Vacuum carpets. Remove area rugs to
better expose hardwood floors, if you have them.
If you've got pets, keep them out of the way or usher
them off to a relative's or friend's house if possible. Even if
you can't detect a questionable or strange smell in your house,
one may seem apparent to a first-time visitor. So bake a cake or
bread, or light a few scented candles. These give the place a homier
feel as well. Take the trash out just before the showing.
Open the blinds, and turn on all lights in areas you
want to be highlighted. Turn on the air conditioning or open windows
to get in fresh air. Turn off music or TVs, clean the kitchen and
all dishes, keep stairways clear, make all beds, and make sure the
toilets are clean and the seat covers are down. Kids' rooms should
be picked up. (Not always an easy task.)
If you want to expend a little more effort, remove
all unnecessary articles from rooms, basement, attic, closets and
utility areas. If the place is heavily furnished, even consider
storing some items temporarily. Buyers want to see ample living
space and picture their items and decor there. Repaint faded walls;
Fix those loose knobs and doors, and cabinets and
windows that stick. Launder curtains and bedspreads. Clean your
patio furniture and arrange it so it looks attractive from an inside
view. Mend fences.
What should you wear? That may not matter because
you should probably not be there when the place is being shown.
Head to a coffee shop, bookstore, neighbor's house or gym, if you
can. If you must be home, stay out of the way. Don't follow the
buyers and agent around. Dress casually, but not too casually. In
more-expensive homes, a little more-professional dress may be appropriate,
but your garb is really a minimal concern. More importantly, let
the agent ask -- and answer -- all the questions. She knows where
to find you.
Just think declutter, clean up and freshen up, and
you should do well. Good luck.