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For Sale by Owner Articles • Owners.com - How to Prepare a Home to Sell

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When potential buyers look at your home, they are imagining themselves living there. You want your home to be as appealing as possible to them. Things that you may not notice do matter to a buyer. You don't want the buyer to question how well you've taken care of your home.
Remember you are competing against other home sellers. You want the buyers to visualize themselves living in your home, not someone else's.
The nose knows 
You've probably lived with your pet so long, you aren't aware of the odor. The same if you smoke. But as soon as a buyer walks in the door, the odor will be apparent and is often a permanent turn-off. To eliminate bad odors be sure to shampoo carpets, clean drapes, bathe pets, clean cat litter box, and empty trash cans and ashtrays. If you're selling an empty house, it often picks up a mildew odor from being closed all the time. Be sure to air it out well before a buyer comes by. If you actually have mildew, that's a sign of a serious problem and you want to correct that immediately.
Add pleasant odors such as potpourri, flowers, or an air freshener. But make sure these odors aren't overwhelming either.
Less is more 
Your home will look much larger and more attractive if you clear out the clutter. You want buyers to see your home, not your everyday life. By cleaning out the house now, you won't have to worry about that when you move. Hold a garage sale, donate, or store excess furniture. Clean out closets and cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen. Clear countertops so buyers can see all the space that's available. If you have a lot of artwork on the walls, remove some of it to make the room appear larger. Clear the fireplace mantle, end tables and coffee tables so there are only 1 or 2 larger pieces on each surface.
Spic and span 
Give you home a top to bottom scrubbing. Wash all the windows and floors, clean appliances, dust furniture, clean bathroom fixtures and countertops. Shampoo carpets and remove spots. Clean out fireplace. One of our successful sellers who made sure his home was spic and span said cleanliness was a key factor in making his new home selection:
Unfortunately, the owners of most of the houses I looked at in (state name removed) hadn't taken the time to really get them in shape to sell. The one I purchased was by far in the best condition to sell. -- Rusty Allen, Richmond TX.
Make necessary repairs 
Buyers will flush toilets and turn faucets on so make sure they are in good working order. Caulk windows as well as tubs, showers and sinks. Replace burnt out light bulbs. Un-stick painted shut windows. If necessary, apply a fresh coat of neutral paint to the interior and replace the carpets. It's not worth it to do a major remodel, but the smaller expenditures are well worth the cost if it means a quicker sale that enables you to move on with your life.

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