Sheryl Allen
Coldwell Banker Realty

25 Easy Improvements To Help You Sell Your Home

1. Wash all windows inside and out. Curtains/drapes should be fresh and attractive.

2. Open all drapes, pull up shades and let the light in.

3. Get all bugs and flies out of all light fixtures. Wash fixtures and bulbs.

4. Put higher watt bulbs in all fixtures for better lighting.

5. If you can't get rid of stains in toilet bowl, buy a new one. This applies to all bathrooms, including the one in the basement that is seldom used.

6. If possible, send all cats, dogs, parrots, hamsters, and pet monkeys to your brother-in-law from the day the house goes on the market until the day it is sold, and get rid of the odors that are left behind. Over 50 percent of home purchasers are either allergic to, afraid of or simply dislike animals

7. Clean all rubbish out of all fireplaces, particularly the ones you haven't lit in the last three years.

8. Put two coats of off-white paint over the chartreuse, purple or any dark colored walls, also, if walls are dirty, one coat of white paint will work wonders.

9. Remove every bit of grease from the inside of the oven or ovens and burner trays.

10. Fix the front doorbell, storm door and front entry. (First impressions are lasting.)

11. Shampoo the carpets.

12. Put new washers in all dripping faucets.

13. Throw away the torn shower curtain and put up a new one.

14. Remove junk from the attic, basement, closets and tool shed and have a successful garage sale. Contribute whatever remains to the next garbage pickup.

15. Organize closets.

16. Turn off all blaring music and TV sets while the house is being shown. Soft music is more desirable.

17. Water all dying plants or get rid of them.

18. Adjust all doors, including closets and windows so they can be opened and closed.

19. Dust, clean and scrub everything, attic to basement--that means EVERYTHING.

20. Replace broken tiles on walls or floors. Re-paste loose or dangling wallpaper.

21. Make beds and keep all clothes out of sight.

22. Keep kitchen countertop and sink clean and clear.

23. Secure all banisters and handrails.

24. Remove all posters and adhesive from walls and doors.

25. Paint the basement floor and walls if needed. If basement shows signs of any water or structural problems, a structural engineer's report is suggested

Maximizing First Impressions

Exterior and Curb Appeal
Experts say most buyers make their decision at first sight.

General Exterior
Prospective buyers will react well to signs your home has been meticulously maintained.

  • Manicure landscaping: mow, edge and water lawn, trim hedges, weed and fertilize flowerbeds, and prune trees.
  • Keep driveway clean and free of parked cars, and keep the garage door closed.
  • Repair or replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
  • Minimize cracks or crumbling on walkways, walls, or steps, and keep them clean and free of obstructions like toys or snow.
  • Items from RV's to waste cans left out can contribute to a cluttered or busy appearance. Make sure that from the street, your property appears clear.
  • Inspect appearance of interior window coverings from the curb.
  • Repair any peeling paint or loose caulking on windows or other areas.
  • Take steps to eliminate insect or rodent pests.
  • Pick up after your pets or neighborhood animals.

While agents work the lockbox for a key, buyers have idle time to notice details.

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door and frame.
  • Consider adding pots of flowering plants in the entryway if weather permits.
  • Eliminate cobwebs and groom doorway area windows, porchlight, or decorative glass.

Interior Appeal 
Once inside, experts say most buyers are reaffirming their curbside decision.

Clean, Clear, Light and Bright

  • Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. Hiring a cleaning service may pay for itself by adding to a buyer's perceived value of your home.
  • For a sleeker, more spacious look, consider placing furniture from crowded rooms in storage.
  • Clear kitchen counters of everything other than perhaps a few very pretty items. Ask yourself, in a model home, would a professional decorator put your choice of items out on the counter?
  • Remember: closets will be opened! Keep closets, cupboards, and even your attic orderly and neat. Since you are anticipating a move anyway, consider holding a garage sale or boxing and storing unused belongings.
  • If necessary, repaint or clean/replace dingy, soiled or strongly-colored walls, and window and floor coverings with a light, neutral shade. Bright rooms look bigger, and neutral colors help buyers envision their own furnishings and decor.
  • Repair dripping faucets, burned-out light bulbs, or cracked windowpanes.
  • Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, and tiles.

Warm and Homey

  • Subtle scents of potpourri in bedrooms or baths and fresh baked cookies or cinnamon in the kitchen can make your home more inviting.
  • Keep an attractive set of towels in each bathroom to be brought out only for showings

Showing Your Home

Planned showing appointments will allow you time to prepare. But oftentimes, the window of opportunity to expose your property to a motivated buyer can be small. So every time you leave your home, make sure it is ready for an unexpected showing.

General Preparation
When preparing your home, think about the techniques used to show builders' model homes or what you might do to prepare for honored guests.

  • Review pointers from "First Impressions" checklist, particularly regarding cleanliness, clutter, and repairs - interior and exterior.
  • Create as light, cheerful and serene an environment as possible.
  • Open drapes and light lamps including those in closets, basement or attic.
  • Add a welcoming touch by filling candy dishes and putting out fresh flowers.


  • Make beds, put clothes and toys away, keep decorator pillows orderly.
  • Turn blinds so slats are uniformly open. Put on light if room is dark.


  • Put out a clean hand towel, fresh soap and soapdish.
  • Put commode lid down and ensure tissue supply is adequate.
  • Potpourri dish can provide a nice sight and scent.


  • Put away last minute dishes and conceal countertop articles.
  • Simmer a few drops of vanilla on stove.

Dining Room

  • Arrange inviting centerpiece.
  • Consider setting the table with fine china and linen.
  • Light chandelier.

Living Room/Family Room/Den

  • Straighten pictures on walls.
  • Adjust couch cushions and throw pillows.
  • Dispose of newspapers and drink containers, and polish tabletops.
  • Light fireplace in winter


  • When exiting just before buyers arrive, turn around at front door and see what the prospect's first impression will be. What is the first thing you notice from that vantage point? Is it an asset?