“You never get a second chance at a first impression.” We’ve all heard this expression before. And now, while you are preparing your house to sell, it should not be far from your mind.
Buyers are searching for a “home” a place in which they will feel comfortable, secure, and happy, a place in which they can imagine settling down and raising their family. Make sure that everyone if the family fully understands what is involved and is committed to the home selling process.
Below is a checklist of some items that can be done to encourage a positive response to your house from the outset. Within minutes of pulling into your driveway, buyers have formed an impression that they will carry with them through the rest of the showing, and beyond. Keep in mind, this impression will not only influence whether or not they make an offer, but also what they consider to be the value of the property.

1. Curb Appeal.

           How does your landscaping measure up compared to the rest of the neighbourhood?  Your lawn should be freshly cut and watered, hedges trimmed, plant some flowers and keep gardens and flower beds weeded. Make sure the driveway and walkways are clean and clear on any obstacles. If you have a pool, keep it sparkling and leaf-free.

House Exterior:
            When you view your house from across the street, does it appear weathered or faded?  If so, it’s probably time to treat it to a fresh coat of paint.  This is usually a sound investment; new paint can do wonders to increase a home’s perceived value. Examine the roof closely, checking for any loose shingles and make any minor repairs. Clean gutters of any debris. 

The Front Door and Porch:
                 The front door and surrounding area should look particularly fresh and welcoming, as this will be the buyer’s first up-close impression as they enter the house.  If you paint nothing else, at least give the door a new coat.  Replace the doorbell if it is broken and polish the door fixture until it gleams.  Wash the mail box.  Keep the porch swept and buy a new plush door mat.  All of these little things will contribute to the overall effect of a well cared-for and welcoming home. Ensure the lock works smoothly and the key fits properly. 


2. Depersonalize.

This should be one of your first steps when you begin preparing your house to sell.  Over the years, a home inevitably becomes tattooed with the owners’ lives, covered with touches that have made it that special place for you.  At this point, however, you want buyers to recognize it as a property they could make into their unique place.  When a homebuyer walks into a room and sees these personalizing touches—such as photos on the walls or trophy collections—their ability to picture their own lives in this room is jarred, impairing a positive emotional response.  So, your first step will be to remove all the family photos, the trophies, collectible items, and souvenirs.  Pack them all together, so you’ll have everything you need at your disposal when it comes time to personalize your new home. For the time being, rent a storage space and keep these items there.  Do not simply transfer these items to another place in your house.  Do not hoard them away in a closet, basement, attic, or garage, as the next step in preparing your home is to minimize clutter—and these areas of your house will all be targeted.


3. Remove all clutter.

The next step on the list is to purge your house of the excess items that have accumulated over the years.  This is the hardest part for many people, as they have an emotional investment in many of these things.  Try to stand back yourself and see your house as a buyer might. Use a system to help you decide: get rid of all items, for example, you haven’t used in the past five years, and pack up everything that you haven’t used in the past year.  A garage sale is an easy way to dispose of any unwanted items you may have.


4. Inside the House.

Once you’ve cleared the house of excess items, you’ll have room to work on other areas. Take care of little maintenance tasks you never seem to have time for. Go through the house, room by room, and make a list. Repair leaky faucets, oil squeaks, make sure windows and doors open smoothly and change burnt out light bulbs. A fresh coat of paint on the walls is an inexpensive way to freshen up a room. Label left over paint cans for the new owners. 

Odour Check:
         Begin by airing out the house.  Be careful if you have a pet.  You may have become used to the particular smell of your cat or dog.  Make sure litter boxes are kept clean.  Keep your dog outdoors as much as possible.  You may want to intermittently sprinkle your carpets with carpet freshener as well. 

Keep it Clean:
         Make sure everyone in the family helps to keep the house clean and ready for showings. Don't forget that beds are made and dishes are done before leaving the house.

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