Tips for Sellers
1. Repaint The Exterior
Does the house sparkle, or is it looking a little tired? Repainting can make it look like new again. If you don’t want to tackle an entire paint job, at least spruce up the window frames, shutters and front door – and perhaps a faded southern exposure – with a fresh coat of paint.
2. Give The House A Bath
If the exterior seems a more dirty than worn, rent a gas-powered pressure washer from a local tool center and, working from top to bottom, hose down all the outside surfaces.
3. Replace Siding
If your siding shows more wear and tear than a point job can fix, consider replacing it. According to an annual survey of remodeling projects conducted by the trade magazine Remodeling, new siding returns only an average of 70 percent of its cost if the house is sold within a year. But, there’s another consideration: Agents agree that a house that looks good from the outside sells faster and for a better price. Depending on where you live, vinyl, aluminum or wood siding may be the material of choice. Ask a local agent what buyers seem to prefer; and, of course, consider the style of your house.
4. Check The Roof
Missing or torn shingles, sagging gutter and loose downspouts make a house look unkempt. Worse, they can cause costly damage to your foundation, basement and interior walls. Unclog and resecure gutters, repair the roof (check flashing joints), and replace broke downspouts.
5. Clean Windows Until They Shine
This is a must. Scrape off any paint splatters with a razor blade, wash windows with ammonia and water, and then buff them till they sparkle. (And don’t forget to replace any cracked panes.)
6. Put In Window Boxes
Filled to overflowing with red geraniums, ivy and white petunias, window boxes are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to add pizzazz your house.
7. Install Shutters
If your house seems plain, adding exterior shutters in a color that’s one tone lighter or darker can make it more distinctive. Consider a color that matches your trim and doors. Make sure, of course, that the shutters are appropriate to the style of your house.
8. Add Window Panes
Divided panes give a friendly, welcoming feeling and are another way to add interest to a “plain-Jane” house. Getting this look doesn’t mean tearing out your existing windows; you can buy snap-in mullions made of wood or plastic.
9. When It Comes To Your Lawn, Think Putting Green
Use a quick-greening fertilizer (ammonium sulfate, urea or ammonium nitrate). With proper application and watering, you’ll see results in two or three weeks. Professional law-care specialists may have even quicker-acting agents. Check the yellow pages. Trim the edges by cutting into the turf in a straight line with a spade or edger. (Use stakes and a string as a guide.) Get rid of any weeds around shrubs or in flower beds. Re-seed or re-turf any bald spots and keep the grass watered.
10. Lay A Brick Or Stone Walkway
It’s much more attractive than concrete and leads the eye enticingly to the front door. Books such as the Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual (800-431-1246) tells you how to do the job. If you don’t have the time, call a professional contractor.
11. Reseal a Patched-Up Driveway
With asphalt sealant from a building-supply store and a stiff broom, this is a relatively easy do-it-yourself job that leaves your driveway looking spanking new.
12. Change Your Front Door
By replacing a standard flat door with a premium-quality, raised panel solid hardwood one, or a painted pine or fir door, you immediately give your house an added touch of class.
13. Add Distinctive Detail With A Handcrafted Wooden Screen Door
For instance, The Old Wagon Factory in Clarksville, Virginia (804-374-5787), sells Victorian or Chippendale styles. Make sure it’s appropriate to the style of your house.
14. Give Your Door A Touch Of Brass
Install a shiny brass knocker doorknob and kickplate. The message: This is a doorway where you’d be proud to welcome friends.
15. Get A New Mailbox
You don’t want prospective buyer’s eyes to fall on a shabby old aluminum mailbox as they’re waiting for you to answer the door. Get one they’ll notice – admiringly. These days you can choose from any number of handsome styles – charming wooden ones, oversized Swedish ones, etc…
16. Create A Distinct And Separate Entryway
Few people like to enter directly into the living room. If you’re not lucky enough to have a distinct entry, create one by using a bookcase, screen or cabinet as a divider. Add a lush plant for height if the bookcase is low. Or create the illusion of a separate foyer with different flooring (black and white tiles laid on the diagonal, for instance, or even an area rug.
17. Make The Floor Spotless
After all, when people wipe their feet, where else do they look? If you use a carpet remnant here, get rid of it. Replace existing carpeting or flooring or simply use a plain sisal doormat.
18. Eliminate Odors
Whether they are from pets or the kitchen, they’re sure to offend visitors. Avoid sweet-smelling sprays or potpourris.
19. Dress Up A Ho-Hum Foyer
Add an elegant overhead light or wall sconces. Choose one decorative element and highlight it: a vase of colorful fresh flowers, a spotlit painting, a large ceramic plate, a framed mirror.
20. Make Sure There Is A Place For Coats And Umbrellas
And not too many coasts and umbrellas cluttering it up.
21. Paint Rooms In Light Colors
White is the most popular color for walls. Especially in small spaces such as entryways and bathrooms, it expands the feeling of a room. “Off-whites with a faint beige tint give a particularly warm feeling and are flattering”, suggests Ira Schachner, a New York-based architect.
22. Decorate Rooms In Tones Of One Neutral Color
Harmonizing draperies, walls, furniture and accessories makes a room look less busy and therefore larger. Conversely, competing bold patterns do exactly the opposite.
23. Rent Space At A Mini-Storage Warehouse
And fill it with bulky, unnecessary pieces of furniture; junk from your closets, garage and attic; extra chairs from the dining room; your knick-knack collections – anything that adds clutter to your house.
24. Have A Yard Sale
Or, get rid of clutter – from the basement to the attic – by holding a yard sale, and make little extra money too!
25. Place Mirrors In Strategic Spots
This is especially effective in very small spaces like entryways and bathrooms. Make sure there’s something beautiful reflected in the mirror. If your kitchen or dining room has open shelving, mirrored backs on the cabinets where you display glassware and china expand the room.
26. Keep Walls Simple And Elegant
An excessive amount of small pictures dotted around a room tends to make it feel crowded. Instead, group small pictures or choose a single large one. Interior designers agree that it’s often better to look at one image, for instance, a scenic painting hung over a mantel. Fill holes when you remove nails from the wall. (If you notice one just as an agent is about to arrive, a little white toothpaste will do the trick.) Remember this, LESS IS MORE!!
27. Clean Off All Counters And Tabletops
Clutter throughout the house gives the impression that there’s just not enough room for everything. While there’s no need to make your place look sterile, at least aim for simplicity.
28. Put In Higher Wattage Bulbs Throughout The House
The brighter the rooms, the larger they look.
29. Store Half Your Kid’s Toys In The Attic
This is a chance to involve your kids in the house sale. If they’re reluctant to part with some of their favorites, perhaps they’ll be agreeable to doing it just while you’re actually showing the house.
30. Take The Leaf Out Of Your Dining Table
By shrinking your table and removing extra chairs, you’ll expand the space.
31. Add A Skylight To A Small, Dark Room
To a bath, a hallway, even a small kitchen. A fixed one will cost $500-$600 installed.
32. Make Traffic Flow Smoothly
Often there will be at least three people touring your house. If they’re constantly bumping into furniture or having to walk single file, they’ll feel cramped. Arrange furniture differently; clear paths. There’s a legal concern here, too. If a prospective buyer trips and gets hurt in your house, you’re liable. Protect yourself with homeowner’s insurance an umbrella (or excess) liability coverage – insurance in $1 million multiples that kicks in when the limits on homeowner’s insurance are exceeded. It’s cheap and everyone should have it.
33. Get It Professionally Cleaned
You may not have time to do a thorough cleaning. It’s worth the money to call in a professional to scour behind the refrigerator, under and in the stove – in other words, a top-to-bottom overhaul.
34. Clear Work Surfaces
One of the first things people look for in a kitchen is counter space. Clutter on counters can give the impression there is no room to work. Put away most small appliances, although it’s okay to leave out a toaster.
35. Add Storage
To free up counter space, give everything a place. To ease crowded cupboards, get an overhead rack for saucepans. Add a movable cart with butcher block top if there’s room. (You can take it with you.)
36. Clean Out Drawers
Crammed, messy drawers and cupboards) will simply trigger too-little-storage fears.
37. Fix Lifted Corners On Plastic Laminate Countertops
Hold a heat gun, set on “low”, about 6 inches above the surface to warm the glue on the laminate; once it feels tacky, remove heat and roll down the edge with a seam roller. If the laminate still pops loose, scrape off all the old adhesive, then resecure the edge with contact cement, applying it to the underside of the laminate and to the substrate, per manufacturer’s directions.
38. Replace Or Refinish Cabinet Doors
Today there are specialists who offer facelifts for cabinets. Look for them in the Yellow Pages. Choose new doors (or repaint old ones) in a light color. Or, you can send out wood doors for a polyresin coating.
39. Change Cabinet Hardware
High-quality drawer pulls and door handles can transform your outdate cabinets. You’ll find a good selection in such mail-order catalogs as Renovator’s Supply (413-659-2211), or look in a top-of-the-line hardware store.
40. No Room For Pets
The kitchen, of all places, should be free of any evidence of pets. That means litter boxes, rubber toys and food dishes. Remove at least temporarily while real estate agents and prospective buyers are visiting.
41. Tone Down Hard-To-Change Elements
You may not want to make the investment in new ceramic tiles or flooring. But you can paint the walls white to simplify the look of your kitchen.
42. Make Enamel-Coated Appliances Look New
Remove stains with undiluted bleach and a stiff brush. Hide any nicks with appliance touch-up enamel, then polish with a soft cloth and auto body polish.
43. Have Appliances Refinished
Coppertone or avocado appliances may been all the rage at one time, but they certainly aren’t now. Don’t buy new ones; have them refinished with white instead. Look in the Yellow Pages under “Porcelain”; some of the same companies that refinish old bathroom fixtures also redo appliances.
44. Add Task Lighting For Work Areas
In addition to bright overall lighting, illuminate work surfaces with separate under-cabinet lights.
45. Bring Light In
An open, airy look is desirable throughout the house, and especially in the kitchen. If you have full curtains or shades, consider removing them all together. What with cooking oils, smoke, etc, no frills is best. At most, add a light colored valance.
46. Clean Up Ceramic Tiles & Grout
Use a strong, anti-mildew cleaner such as Tilex or a solution of white vinegar and water, and a stiff brush. Try household bleach on grout stains; scrub and scrub until you succeed.
47. Repair Cracked Or Loose Ceramic Tiles
A cracked or chipped tile, especially in a highly visible spot, can ruin the look of an entire room. If you have matching tiles, it’s worth re-placing the sore thumb.
48. Recaulk Faulty Joints
Caulking is the sealant where the bath joins the wall. Damaged caulking looks messy and, more importantly, can cause leaks and water damage. Replacing it can take less than an hour; do-it-yourself books such as Reader’s Digest or local do-it-yourself stores like Home Depot or Lowes can show you how.
49. Neutralize An Out-Of-Date Color Scheme
If you’re stuck with maroon or flamingo-pink tiles, downplay them by painting the walls white or cream, and putting out white towels.
50. Buy A New (White) Shower Curtain
Avoid patterns; they make the room seem smaller.
51. Shine Up Chrome Fixtures
Use a stiff-bristled brush dampened with white vinegar. Never use a metal cleaner or an abrasive. Dry and polish immediately with a cloth.
52. Remove Stains From A Porcelain Sink
For common stains, use a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. For stubborn stains, line the surface with paper towels and saturate with household beach. After 30 minutes, remove the towels and rinse with water.
53. Reglaze A Badly Chipped Enamel Sink Or Bathtub
A professional job, which can be done on site. For $150-$300 (sink), $300-$400 (tub), will get the best results. It takes from 3-5 hours and needs another 48 hours to cure.
54. Fix Leaky Faucets
You may have become accustomed to a dripping tap, but it will scream “neglect!!” to a prospective buyer.
55. Install Brushed Chrome Or Oil Rubbed Bronze Towel Rails, Faucets And Other Hardware
Luxurious extras like these are real crowd-pleasers.
56. Clear Away Clutter
This means on top of the toilet, on countertops, inside the medicine cabinet, on the walls. Buyers don’t really want to see your personal toiletries on display.
57. Secure Wallpaper
Glue down curling or loose wallpaper with seam sealer found at most hardware stores.
58. Give Magazines & Books A Proper Home
A beautiful basket is perfect.
59. The Sweet Smell Of Home
Be sure to use smells that compliment each other throughout the house. Two contrasting scents may not create a mix that is pleasing.
60. Replace The Toilet Seat
Choose white, of course.
61. Install A Fan
Check the ventilation; if it’s inadequate, have a fan put in. It’s worth the expense.
62. Establish a Focal Point
It pulls a room together. If you have a fireplace, that’s a natural. Group furniture around it. An impressive wall of books or a piano are good too. Play up a focal point with light or color to distract from possible shortcomings.
63. Group Furniture
Couches, chairs and tables scattered haphazardly around a room give it a cluttered and disorganized feeling. Instead, think of arrangements that encourage conversation and conviviality. Pull the pieces of furniture toward one another in a group to give the space a more airy feeling and more walking room.
64. Rejuvenate The Floor
Strip, rewax and buff a waxed wood floor. A polyurethane floor may not need stripping, just waxing and buffing.
65. Silence A Squeaky Floor
For an easy, temporary repair, locate the offending boards, and squirt some powdered graphite lubricant in to the seams between them. Step on and off the boards to work the powder into the joint. Simply repeat the application if the floor starts making noise again.
66. Flatten Out Wrinkles In Wall-To-Wall Carpet
Use a carpet layer’s tool called a knee-kicker, available from tool rental centers or carpet stores.
67. Get Rid Of Old Pressed-wood Paneling
Real estate agents have been heard referring to houses with “paneling disease.” If the wall you uncover is less than perfect, try a painting technique such as sponging to cover any uneven surfaces and give a soft, elegant look.
68. Add Architectural Detail
“Crown moldings, chair rails and tall baseboards can transform a boxy living room,” says architect Ira Schachner.
69. Put Away Your Collections
Religious and political mementos are particular no-nos. So are animal rugs and, gasp, big-game trophy heads. But don’t overdo family photos, either.
70. Revive An Old Couch And Chair With New Slipcovers
Or simply flip the cushions (if you haven’t thought of this trick already). A colorful throw or pillows can also hide a multitude of sins on dad’s favorite old chair.
71. Revive The Whole Room With New Window Treatments
And there are inexpensive alternatives; neutral-colored sheers or mini-blinds.
72. Disguise A Bad View
Don’t put up heavy curtains to cover it; people will naturally be curious to see what’s behind them. Instead, put a beautiful green plant nearby that stops the eye short of the construction site beyond. A simple no-sew valance might do the trick .
73. Have The Tabletop Refinished
The table is usually the focal point of a dining room, so make it gleam.
74. Dress Up The Table
Buy a handsome runner or white tablecloth.
75. Hang A Swag Over A Bare Window
It will add warmth and some visual interest.
76. Use A Centerpiece
Perhaps a vase of fresh flowers or a bowl of ripe fruit.
77. Add A Slight Lived-In Look
Briefly light the wicks of candles so they don’t look like props you never use.
78. Make The Most Of Your Chandelier
Let it highlight your tabletop. Wash bulbs and dust it regularly.
79. Splurge On New Bed Linens
Even when you buy the expensive designer version, this is a relatively low cost way to create a big visual effect. Concentrate on the part that shows, and don’t forget accents. The best part is that they go with you!
80. Make The Flooring Soft
Softness underfoot always conveys a feeling of comfort. “Wall to wall carpeting is the most popular bedrooms flooring,” says renovator Suzanne Bragham, author of Housewise. It’s warm, easy to maintain and inviting to bare feet. Since wood, tile and cement flooring are also gaining popularity, a large area rug can really tie a room together.
81. Tone Down The Kids’ Rooms
It’s easier than you think! You want buyers to see beyond the Pokemon and Brittany Spears posters. By simplifying the decor, you’ll help those prospects imagine how they could use the room. For those blemished walls, fill holes and repaint them if necessary.
82. Put Away Kids’ Toys
Storage options are endless! Brightly colored plastic crates store great under a shelf or bed. Baskets on shelves help hide extras and can be accessed easily without a cluttered look.
83. Clean Out Your Closets
Of course people will look in them, so do now what you’ll have to do in any case when you move. Jam-packed, messy closets will make people worry that there isn’t enough space. Invest in a closet organizing system; pack out-of-season clothes away. Make the closet look as if there’s room to spare.
84. Bookshelves, Coat Closets And Kitchen Cupboards Too
Don’t forget to sort through them all. If there are things you just can’t part with, but are taking up too much space and not often used, like the ice cream maker, a short-term storage unit is an inexpensive alternative.
85. Trim All Hedges & Shrubs
Prune all dead tree branches while you’re at it.
86. Plant Anew
Replace overgrown, leggy foundation planting that are typical of so many homes.
87. Mend Fences
Replace wobbly posts, mend broken sections, repaint if necessary.
88. Beautify A Plain Wall Or Fence
Select a climbing plant that will bring color to the area and also cover up an unsightly space; morning glories are always a good choice. Check with your local nursery for season appropriate plantings.
89. Plant Colorful Annuals
While neutral may be the byword with interiors, in the garden you can afford to be bold with color. A mass of red impatiens looks dramatic in a shady spot; zinnias provide a pleasing riot of color in a sunny one.
90. Show What The Garden Is Like In All Seasons
If you have established perennials or bulbs and it’s not their blooming season, have pictures available for the prospective buyers.
91. Demonstrate How The Garden Can Be Used
Showcase an outside eating area with attractive outdoor furniture. Invest in a new umbrella. Arrange two chairs invitingly under the shade of a tree.
92. Allay Worries About A Pool
No, a pool is not usually a selling point. Some people worry that it will be too expensive and time-consuming to maintain. Set the record straight by providing a fact sheet with all the pertinent details, including specific costs and upkeep routines.
93. Plant A Tree
Founder’s oaks don’t grow overnight, of course, but you can get a decent sized tree professionally planted to beautify a barren landscape.
94. Banish Rusty Swing Sets
Shiny painted ones are fine. Trash old, decrepit lawn furniture too.
95. Remove Oil Stains From The Garage Floor
Try a commercial degreasing liquid (available at most hardware stores). If that doesn’t work, take a tip from Fixing Your House To Sell (Time-Life Books): Make a thick paste of 1 part TSP (tri-sodium phosphate), 6 parts water and enough talcum powder to thicken; spread a 1/2-inch-thick layer on the stain and cover with plastic sheeting held down with duct tape. Allow the paste to dry (12-24 hours), scrape off, then rinse with clean water.
96. Store Junk Overhead
Don’t put all the junk you cleaned from the home in the garage. Stack items neatly on shelving or in attic storage.
97. Make The Basement Spotless
Functional, well organized, clean, not an after-thought. Give the impression that everything is impeccably maintained. Repair any windows and cracks in walls or floors.
98. Clean The Furnace
Wipe down the furnace and water heater with a damp sponge. They’ll look newer. (Turn the furnace off first, for safety’s sake.)
99. Make Sure You Have A Healthy Basement
Check for radon and asbestos. An invisible and odorless radioactive gas, radon exists in dangerous levels in 10 million American homes. It can be detected quickly and easily with a do-it-yourself test kit.
This page contains information about Selling Real Estate, Real Estate Agent and Tips for Sellers in the Saint George Utah area. This information is also applicable for ST George Utah, Washington Utah and Cedar City Utah.