Home Exterior (Use my 15ft rule: The first 15ft outside your front door sets the level of expectations for what’s inside.)
1. Keep the yard mowed and the leaves raked at all times. (Hire a landscape team, local teenager, or your neighbor)
2. Use bright yellow flowers or plants to dress up your yard, walkway and patio.
3. Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unsightly patio furniture or decor, and trash from the yard.
4. Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios, and other extensions of the house should be kept uncluttered, swept, and in good condition.
5. Paint all entrance doors. Add a brass or silver kick plate to the door bottom to draw attention to the front.
6. Make sure the garage door opens easily and quietly. Fix and paint the garage door if necessary.
7. Clean and shine all hardware and accessories indoors and out. (Door knobs, knockers, kick plates, lamps, and mailbox.)
8. Trees and shrubs should be trimmed and pruned. Consult with a professional when you are in doubt as to what should be removed.
9. Place a new welcoming doormat.
10. Make sure the front doorbell is working.
11. If applicable, make sure the front screen door works and is free of noise.
12. If you are in a safe neighborhood, do not have non professional excessive cameras and security gates. They send the message that you are in an unsafe area.
Home Interior ( Overall Goal: Depersonalize and Help to Paint and Inviting Picture)
13. Place a vanilla scented plug-in into the kitchen outlet or bake some chocolate chip cookies 20 minutes before the visit. Place them as a treat.
14. Highlight all separate dining areas with a table set for dinner.
15. The kitchen should always remain spotless.
16. Remove all excessive appliances. Box them up and put them with your items stored for moving.
17. Make sure all light bulbs and fixtures are working. Ample lighting is important to expanding the space.
18. Remove old area rugs.
19. Remove all refrigerator magnets and anything on top. Make sure the inside is cleaned and free of old food.
20. Remove all personal photos from the walls, furniture tops, and closets. Pack them away and place with your stored moving boxes.
21. Make sure that the bed is made and the linens are clean and free of any pet debris.
22. Organize your closets. Remove excessive clothing and items. Only use 50 to 60% of the available space.
23. Remove all over sized furniture when possible. If you can’t get rid of the California bed, then make sure that no other furniture surrounds it in average sized rooms.
24. Make sure there is proper lighting. Too dim of a room can make the room seem small. Install lighting where none are present.
25. Do not leave towels around and wipe down the sinks and shower after each use.
26. Re-Caulk the tub if the caulk is not bright white.
27. Repair or replace broken tiles in the shower/tub.
28. Replace old shower curtains and clean new ones.
29. Put out fresh towels and decorative soaps.
30. Replace old discolored faucets and toilet seats.
Throughout the House
31. Open the draperies, pull up the shades and let the natural light in. This helps show the true colors of your walls and expand rooms.
32. Prior to a home showing turn on room lights, set mood music in the main room. Light classical or Phillip Phillips “Home” song. Works great if you have a home audio system.
33. Make sure all rooms have been de-cluttered.
34. If the home comes with a fireplace, highlight it. Make it a focal point of the room.
35. Keep your home dusted and vacuumed at all times.
36. Replace any room carpet that does not clean up well.
37. If possible, remove your pets from the premises. Maybe a friend or family member will watch your dogs while your home is up for sale. Some buyers avoid pets.
38. Have a home exit plan ready for when a “Show Home Request” comes in. The shorter notice you require, the more showings you will get.
39. Air out your home with natural outside air at least an hour before showings if possible. If not possible, then use a light air freshener like Febreze.
40. Put all personal family photos and religious items away.
41. Paint all interior walls a neutral color (Taupe). Always avoid any stark or sharp colors.
42. Patch up any nail holes, hanging picture holes, or door know dents. Then see step #41
43. Since the maid won’t do it…Wash all windows inside and out. If it’s in the budget go ahead and hire a professional window wash company.
44. Use plants in transitional areas of your house. Use bright flowers in the various rooms.
45. If you have a large attic or garage. Make sure it is clean and orderly. It needs to showcase the ample storage area.
46. Hide or remove all excessive electrical cords. Exposed cords creates the thought of “Not enough outlets”.
47. Open doors to areas you want buyers to see. Don’t expect them to know where your under cabinet hidden wine storage is. Maybe showcase it with a counter stand.
48. Repair or replace any loose banisters and handrails.
49. Ensure there are no corner cob webs and where in the house. Especially homes with high ceilings and alcoves.
50. Clean all light fixtures, ceiling fans, and A/C vents. This includes changing your air filters. Buyers do check.
Bonus Tip: If possible, hire a professional stager. They will help accomplish this 50 item list for you and make many more suggestions. Additionally, it goes without saying, but make sure to hire a well qualified realtor to get you the traffic you need to your showcase home.