Lesslie’s Tips for Preparing your House for Sale

Cheap Fixes….Clean and De-Clutter

Hi Lesslie,

I’m thinking of putting my house on the market next month.  Like so many homeowners, we are strapped for cash.  What are some “cheap fixes” that can make a difference?  Natasha M.

Hi Natasha,

Everyone can benefit by some “cheap fixes”.   The first thing of course is to cultivate curb appeal, since without it, prospective buyers may not want to even enter your home.

A great power wash on the exterior will remove all of those old cob webs, and the accumulated grit and grim that builds up over the winter.  The whole house will look clean and brighter.  Probably the key to everything is Clean and Cared For:

On the landscaping, if you have a few extra dollars, it always helps to add some color—but DO NOT buy delicate plants that are going to need constant attention, or plants you will have to replace in two months.   You will also want to buy plants that compliment the style and color of the house that you have.  Look at the areas that you want to spruce up….are they in the sun or shade?  If plants are in a very sunny area, Vinca is an inexpensive plant that is hardy, comes in white and several shades of pink, and will spread out.  Throw some top-soil or amendment around the plants and in the flower (plant) beds.  It makes a garden look cared for and should help your plants.  You can also buy shrubs which tend to be sturdier and easier to care for than the plants in “six packs”, but they will probably cost more.

All, prune your over-size shrubs and greenery.  If the front plants are huge and covering up the windows, they will make the house look smaller, and take away natural light.  Trim them to window height. 

Inside “De-Clutter”.  Give away, pack-up or have a garage sale to get rid of the things that won’t be going with you to your next house BEFORE putting your house on the market.  Remember, “Less is More”.  Clear off counter-tops, shelves, book cases, and remove personal pictures from the walls.  If you’re walls are stained or damaged, it’s always a good idea to paint.  Remove oversize furniture so your rooms will look larger.

Many of us real estate agents have the ability to help a client stage a house, and this can be a great help to you the seller.  Define each space so that buyers don’t have to figure out what a room is or what it is used for.  If a bedroom is being used as a home office, you can always have a sign that says—4th bedroom is being used as Home Office.    

Clean remains the key word.  Go through every room, look under the cabinets in bathrooms and kitchens, and remove grit from the tracks of the sliding glass doors and off the windowsills.  Kitchen and Bathrooms need to be squeaky clean—it speaks for the way the house is lived in and the perception is that you take good care of your house.

96% of all California buyers want light and bright…so keep your drapes open, and remove heavy valences.  Most of the above items have no or low costs.  There is lots more that you can do—feel free to contact me for a more complete list of “Lesslie’s Tips for Preparing Your House for Sale”.


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