Turn a “Maybe” Into an offer!

If you’re selling your home, it’s time to use some imagination.  Imagine yourself shopping for a home and walking into what you think may be your next home.  You step inside and trip over a pile of sneakers.  This morning’s breakfast dishes are still on the table, a shirt is flung over the recliner and chipped paint is peeling off the hallway walls. What thoughts are going through your head?  If they didn’t take the time to care for these items that you are looking at, what else have they neglected that you don’t see?

The truth is how the home is presented makes a big difference in how quickly, or even whether or not the home sells.  Today’s buyers are savvy enough to know there are many options and if your home is not taken care of when on display, they are going to think that it’s even worse when it’s not on display.  Wouldn’t you prefer a home that was well maintained and cared for over one that looks like a mess?  There’s a distinct possibility that, upon inspection, you could find some serious and costly flaws in need of repair – termite infestation and heating and air conditioning units in poor condition, to name but two possibilities.

Your Realtor will probably tell you the basics: Pick up your clothes, bake cookies, anything to butter up those buyers. However, those tips are just the beginning of the checklist you should follow prior to showing your home. Many nooks and crannies of your home, spots about which you’ve never given a passing thought, can make the difference if you swipe a dust rag or polishing cloth over them. Many aspects of a home which appeal to prospective buyers aren’t even in their conscious awareness. All of your home’s aesthetic elements combine to create an impression which could very well lead to a contract, or not.

Before you begin showing your home, complete as many of the following tasks as you can:


  • Clean behind your appliances, removing dust bunnies.
  • Clean your carpets, either yourself or professionally, if you’re willing to assume the expense.
  • Dust and/or clean your light fixtures.
  • Clean your windows and window coverings.
  • Wash baseboards and walls and touch up scuffs with extra paint.
  • Clean your furniture.
  • Clean your closets. Extra storage space is what helps sell your home and buyers will want to see a spacious closet.  The more clutter, the less space it will feel like.
  • Clean your kitchen pantry and any cabinet space. Buyers will open those too.
  • Dust and vacuum your home thoroughly before each showing.
  • Purchase soap scum and mildew removers for your bathrooms, and use them liberally to help your bathrooms shine. Don’t clean them right before a showing, however; you don’t want your prospective buyers to be overwhelmed by chemical odors. Put an air freshener in a discreet place in each bathroom, and add a decorative element to each vanity. If you don’t have presentable towels to drape over the rods in your bathrooms, purchase some inexpensive but coordinating hand towels.
  • Clear as much clutter as you can from every counter surface; for example, in the bathroom, remove personal items (toothbrushes, combs and grooming supplies, all of which are turn-offs) from vanities. Store appliances you typically keep out on the kitchen counter. De-cluttering creates the illusion of more space (i.e., more counter space).
  • If you have excess furniture in any room, either sell it or store it. Your goal should be to create as much open space as possible, throughout every room in your house.
  • Paint all the walls white or neutral. Those two shades not only open up rooms and make them appear larger; they also appeal to prospective buyers for their versatility.
  • Open up drapes and blinds to invite natural light into your home. If a room tends to be dark, purchase light bulbs with brighter wattage.

The truth is that humans can’t help but make snap judgements about what they see. The impression a home makes in the first few seconds after a prospective buyer’s entry will determine the likelihood of an offer.  Make sure it’s a good one.  For personal advice on fixing up your home or any other questions you may have regarding selling your home, call Helen today at 847.967.0022 or email [email protected].