1. Fresh exterior paint. If the home has siding or trim and you can see wood “bleeding” through flecks of paint, then the property needs to be painted prior to marketing it for sale. This should include the trim and fascia!
2. New carpet. There are a handful of things that all buyers despise. Old or worn carpet is usually first or second on everyone’s list!
3. Remove wallpaper. Buyers tell me that wallpaper makes a home seem “dated.” And it is a chore to remove! I have seen painters who would almost tear up when asked if they would take wallpaper down, repair the walls and paint.
4. Turn up the lights! A builder showed me a trick once: Put high-wattage bulbs in a house to brighten it up for sale. They make everything seem to “pop” compared to under lit rooms or rooms where bulbs are burned out.
5. Change air filters and vacuum the vents! If your seller has pets, this is a must!
6. Remove litter boxes and anything that screams “pets.” Now, I am a pet guy. I have a dog and a cat. Not to show partiality to either, but nothing will kill a sale quite as fast as an odorous kitty litter box. And if door jambs and the woodwork have been gnawed by Fido, encourage the seller to fix or replace them prior to listing.
7. Fresh interior paint. The interior of a home shows best when walls are a neutral color, feature no more than two different colors, and have trim and baseboards that are painted a fresh white. I have been in houses where I could stand in one spot and see six different colors of paint! That is too busy for buyers to deal with, and it will make the house sit longer. Remember that dark colors make a room feel smaller, whereas lighter colors make a room feel larger.
8. Pressure wash. You have seen it, I am sure: the side or back of a house that was “green.” I always encourage my sellers to pressure wash the exterior of the house. If needed, pressure wash the side of the neighbor’s house, too! (Do so only with their permission, of course.)