By Debbie White 

When selling your home, the quicker the better. But before putting your house on the market there are a few simple things you can do to ensure it makes a positive first impression when potential buyers come looking. These 10 tips won’t take you much time or cost much money but they will give your home a more welcoming appeal.

1. Look at your house from the outside in.

How does your house look from the street?  Start by putting away all the extra stuff in the yard (lawn equipment, toys, junk, etc). Next, make sure the lawn is mowed, gutters are clean, and in the summer put out a few containers of plants to welcome guests into your home. Pay attention to little things, like if your mailbox is rusty replace it with a new one. A new mailbox isn’t very expensive but it can make a huge difference!

2. Walk into your home and look at the entryway.

First impressions are very important. Is your front closet crowded? If so, pack away out of season clothes, or perhaps move some of those shoes to the bedroom closets. If it’s summer, pack up those winter boots and coats. Buyers want to see that there is room for their stuff!  People in Southeast Alaska often take off their shoes indoors.  If you have room for a chair for would-be buyers to sit in while they do it your home will be more convenient to show. To go a step further, consider a bench that can also be used for storage!

3. Shed some light on things.

Still using compact fluorescent bulbs? While that’s admirable, this is the time to show how bright and cheery your home can look. Start by bumping up the wattage, and while you are at it clean those light fixtures and wipe the fingerprints off the switch plates too.

4. We all have way too much stuff.

You are getting ready to move, so why not get a head start on packing? If you don’t know where to start, go through and pack away everything you could live without for six months.  You are getting ready to move anyway, so get started early! You will have more time to carefully label your boxes this way. What if your house is still too crowded? Then think six weeks instead of six months.

5. Rearrange your furniture.

Would moving the couch to another wall make a room look larger? Should your furniture showcase a view rather than the television? If you do not feel comfortable with these decisions, ask your realtor for advice on staging your home. You want to show clear passage from room to room without obstacles. And be sure to pay special attention to stairs and hallways.

6. Time to clean.

Now that you’ve made some room it is time to get your home clean. Windows and mirrors should sparkle and walls should be smudge-free. Repaint if you must, but use neutral colors when doing so. Next have your carpets professionally cleaned, wash all bedding and clean the trim and baseboards.

7. Kitchens: The “Heart of the Home.”

Pay special attention to the kitchen, the “heart of the home.” Your counters and sink need to be spotless. Put away small appliances you rarely use, wipe down your cabinets and appliances, and consider packing away items here as well. While your home is being marketed, avoid cooking foods with strong odors that linger. Buyers WILL look in the refrigerator, oven, and inside cabinets, so these things must be ready for inspection.

8. Up close and “personal”

Bathrooms are very personal but even still are open to scrutiny by buyers. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance in this personal space. The hard surfaces will sparkle when clean. Soft items like shower curtains, towels and rugs should be freshly laundered. If the rug is worn, replace it! You can take it to your new place.

9. Don’t forget the garage!

Your garage should have good lighting, a freshly swept floor and should be organized. If you are storing boxes in the garage, stack them neatly but don’t block passage for inspection.

10. Make a list, check it twice.

Once you have done all these things, you can make a short checklist to prepare for showings!  Getting your home to this point will take a great deal of effort, and keeping it ready for showings requires a team effort by everyone living in the home. It will all be worth it in the end, because if you follow these tips your home will sell faster and for more money. Good luck!