- Make your house spotless. -- Go the extra mile when it comes to cleaning. Not just simple vacuuming and dusting. Scour every inch of your house. Leave nothing for the buyer to clean up after they buy!
- Offer a home warranty. -- Whether you personally like or use warranties, it's just a small added plus to put a would-be buyer's mind at ease. Who wouldn't want assurance that if the refrigerator breaks a month after moving in, it's covered?
- Include appliances with the house. -- Speaking of refrigerators, including all appliances with the house will be one less thing the buyers will have to worry about or purchase after they move in. Many first-time home buyers don't have appliances to move with them. So by including them in the sale of your house, you'll be that much more attractive!
- Well-done, neutral paint in all rooms. -- Neutral doesn't have to mean beige. And while it's true some buyers will love the purple or bright pink paint on the wall, that group is much smaller than the pool of buyers who prefer neutral shades. It means they won't have to paint upon moving in. Again, taking a task off their plate, which is always a point scored for your house!
- Well-manicured lawn and landscaping. -- Of course this is season-dependent. You're of course not going to plant flowers in the winter. But spring and summer? You betcha! You don't have to spend a fortune...just get some inexpensive annuals, or some interesting green plants. Or, if you don't have a flower bed in the front of your house at all, use containers to brighten the space and attract the buyer's eye as they pull into your driveway! Most of all though, keep the weeds to a minimum (meaning zero, if possible) and the grass cut.
- Fence in that yard. -- Have a backyard? Consider putting a fence up. Or, better yet, offer to put a fence up upon an accepted offer. That way you're not out the money up front, and end up with a buyer who doesn't care about a fence. But I've known many buyers who must have a fence, whether it's for pets or children, and who were turned off by an otherwise great house because they didn't want to deal with the expense and hassle of putting in a fence themselves. Instead, they chose a home that was already fenced.
- Smell that? No? Perfect! -- Absolutely eliminate any and all unpleasant odors from your house! Hire a professional company if necessary to get rid of smoke or pet smells. The last thing you want is for a buyer to walk into the home and instantly turn around and walk out because the smell is overwhelming. I've seen it happen! A buyer walked into an older home, was only inside two minutes, and walked right back out. The musty smell was enough to turn this buyer off. You can also add pleasant smells, such as air fresheners or freshly baked cookies. But since it's hard to predict what smells will appeal to what people, it's at least safe to be odor-free.
- Outdoor living space. -- These days outdoor living space is almost as valuable and important and what's inside! Many buyers are looking for decks and patios. If you have one, great! Just make sure it's in good condition! Make any repairs necessary. Apply a fresh coat of stain or sealant. Consider staging it with outdoor furniture that's bright and inviting (you can take this furniture with you or leave it with the house).
- Closets -- Every buyer is looking for huge closets. So yours are on the small side? You can at least make them appear larger by not having them crammed with tons of stuff! You're moving anyway, so go ahead and pack up at least half your clothes (and possibly other belongings...see #10). Make sure your closets are neat and organized. Buyers will be looking in them.
- Stuff, stuff, and more stuff -- Buyers don't want to walk into a house that's full of clutter. Even if to you it is valuable collectibles or treasured memories...to a buyer, it's just "stuff." As with your clothes, go ahead and pack up most of your "stuff." Store it in the garage, or even better, off-site (a relative's basement, a storage unit, etc.). Just keep a few things around to provide some sort of decoration and interest. Your realtor can help you pare down and choose which things to keep and which to pack up. Remember, at this point you're trying to appeal to buyers...not display all your favorite things.
These are just 10 things you can do to impress buyers that walk through your front door. There's more, of course, and certainly, you don't even have to follow all of these suggestions. Just try to think like a buyer. You've been living in your house for however long now. You're used to the smells. You like the pictures on the walls, the paint colors, and the stuff you've chosen to display. But will a buyer? Or will a buyer be turned off enough to walk out and not put in an offer?
Sure, you can't please everyone. And there's no point in trying to do that. But you do want to appeal to the largest possible group you can. And the list above will help you do that.
Best of luck selling your house quickly and for the largest possible profit!