- Just pack up unused items, kitchen things, or furniture; move them to a storage unit; boxes are still clutter.
- Do any expensive repairs or remodeling; save your money for later repairs when they are requested by the buyer(s); if you charge up your credit cards or get new loans to do remodeling, you could adversely affect the purchase of your next home.
- Use scented sprays around the house. They might smell nice, but buyers will think you’re trying to cover up bad odors.
- Let your pets prevent buyers from visiting your house. If the dogs can’t be put outdoors, buyers will skip your house and won’t come back later.
- Keep the drapes and blinds closed; let the light in. Nothing turns off a buyer more than dirty carpets, clutter, and dark rooms.
- Do not cook any strong smelling foods inside. Fish, curry and similar will linger around for days.
- Do not talk to the other agent if you are around. You could divulge something that weakens your position for negotiations.
- Do not contact the other agent directly for feedback. That is your agents job.
- Do not hang around unless agent says it is OK! Potential buyers want to see things on their own and you being there hinders that. They want to discuss things openly and need to be able to see themselves in the home. If you cannot leave home, step outside when potential buyers come.
Do's and Dont's from HGTV
Consult your real estate agent before prepping your home for the market. If you just start making changes, you may be focusing on things that are not as important as others.
Make sure your agent will have a strong online presence. The majority of house hunters begin their search on the Internet and then narrow down which ones to actually visit.
Be certain your agent is knowledgeable about the area. He or she should have a good understanding of the local community, schools, recreation and politics to share with potential buyers.
Feature professional color photos of your home. This is as important for the Internet listing as it is for the printed brochures. The brochure should also include a detailed floor plan.
Have a clear understanding of the selling process. Familiarize yourself with the typical marketing time in your area, what to expect with a home inspection and any hot-button items that could be of concern. Also, be familiar with the contract process, attorney review, mortgage contingency, deposit escrows and closing time frames.
Don't just go with the agent who tells you your house is worth the most. Conduct some research to verify the pricing, and consider looking at the competition.
Don't just assume that the agent who sold you your house will be a good fit on the selling side.Interview more than one person to find out what each has to offer.
Don't ignore offers that don't meet your asking price. By not countering even low offers, you could easily discourage what may ultimately be a good offer.
Don't assume that your agent works full-time. Many do not, so be sure to ask.
Don't just accept everything your agent says. Get it in writing. Make sure he or she offers a written marketing plan with which you agree. Also, understand that once you sign, you are locked in to a legal contract for the term agreed upon
- Have your carpets cleaned professionally (the front yard, the front door, and carpets are the top 3 things buyers see first and remember forever; it is an inexpensive investment).
- Paint rooms where the paint has faded or is damaged.
- Put away as many personal belongings as possible (family photos, trophies, collections, knick knacks, souvenirs). The goal of selling is for the buyer to envision the house as theirs and to not think they are intruding in your house.
- Clear off the kitchen countertops (even if it means putting the toaster or coffee maker in a cupboard every day) (buyers like to see lots of counter space in a kitchen).
- Pack up unused kitchen items (dishes, appliances, junk drawers, pots & pans) (this will create open spaces in your cupboards which is very appealing to buyers).
- Start using up canned goods in your pantry (they’re heavy, they take up space, and who wants to carry them when you move?).
- Clear out and clean out under the kitchen sink (all buyers look under sinks for water damage; make it look fresh and clean and uncluttered there).
- Clear out the crammed closets throughout the house (again, open space is very appealing to buyers; they also want to easily see how deep your closets are).
- Put away extra furniture or bulky furniture (this gives an illusion of more space).
- Clear out or throw away unused items in garages, attics, and sheds.
- Polish sink faucets and handles and make sure there are no leaks.
- Patch up any nail holes, wall cracks, or other wall damage.
- Repair or replace broken floor tiles.
- Make sure doors, closet doors, and windows can open easily (no creaks!).
- Be aware of odors (from pets, smoke, cooking, etc.) Have a friend come over and give you an honest sniff test.
- Keep the front yard and back yard tidied up. sweep the front walk, mow the yard, pick up dog waste, clean the pool; plant flowers and bushes out front to create curb appeal. Don’t bother with trees; mature trees are too expensive and small trees don’t add much to the appearance.
- Keep the front door polished and clean; add a nice doormat.
- Make sure the front door lock works easily. How embarrassing to have the buyer’s real estate agent fumble to open the door.