Showing Your Home

First impressions are lasting impressions

When you are selling your home, remember that the first impression is made immediately when a buyer sees the home’s exterior, and/or as soon as they enter. Oftentimes, this impression is based entirely on how the house looks from the outside or within the first few seconds of entering the home.

Even if a buyer has seen multiple photos of your house or has been inside before, they may still have additional questions about the exterior, and the exterior of your home often affects how buyers will view the interior, whether this perception is accurate or not. With this in mind, here are four key tips for preparing your home’s exterior for selling:

  • Make sure your front entrance is clean and inviting;
  • Paint or update any faded or worn areas, such as your front door;
  • Consider painting shutters, trim, and any other outside features showing signs of wear;
  • Add vibrant plants, outdoor accents or decorations, and put down some fresh mulch.

Accentuate the positive

There’s a saying in real estate: “How we live in a home and how we sell it are often two different things.” With that in mind, try to view your house “through the buyer’s eyes” as though you’ve never seen it before. Try to see your home with a fresh perspective and arrange each room to accentuate its best attributes.

Here are a few things you can do to give your home that fresh feeling for prospective buyers:

  • Keep windows, surfaces, and floors clean;
  • Repaint faded or dirty walls in a neutral color;
  • Repair worn woodwork;
  • Steam clean carpeting or replace it, if necessary;
  • Repair loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers, broken light switches, and other minor defects.

Preparing your home for showing

In addition to the tips above, there are a few additional actions you can take to prepare your home for showing. For the interior:

  • Review the house room by room;
  • Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house;
  • Clear as much clutter as possible from the kitchen countertops;
  • Clear refrigerator fronts of any messages, pictures, etc., because a sparse kitchen helps buyers mentally picture their own belongings in your kitchen;
  • In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items and coordinate towels to one or two colors only;
  • Rearrange or remove some of the furniture to make rooms feel more spacious;
  • During showings, turn on all lights and lamps throughout the house.

And here are a few additional things you can do to prepare the exterior of your home for showing:

  • Trim landscaping to reveal architectural details;
  • Check gutters and roof to make sure they are swept and cleaned;
  • Look at all plants — prune bushes and trees, and keep plants from blocking windows;
  • Keep the lawn freshly cut and fertilized;
  • Clear patios and decks of any dirt, natural debris, and all small items, such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, and toys.

Looking at your house “through the buyer’s eyes” as though you’ve never seen it before should help illuminate any small fixes or updates you can make, which may have a big impact. Any time or money spent on these items will eventually put more money in your pocket in the long run, improve the listing photos of your home even further, and could even lead to a faster sale.