1. Let there be light. Time to clean your windows and blinds. Here is an idea: Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to eight parts water, plus a drop or two of liquid dishwashing liquid, for a green window cleaner. Spray on and wipe with newspaper to avoid streaks. (Washing on a cloudy day also reduces streaking.)
Showing tip: Remove heavy drapes with lighter shears or blinds during the warmer months to give a room a brighter, lighter feel for prospective buyers.
2. What's that smell? Smells can turn off a buyer very quickly. Here are some things to check to make sure there are no offensive odors to turn away any prospective buyer: Take your garbage out regularly. Wash the inside of the can with warm soapy water and possibly vinegar to rid of any smells that may have stuck to the can. Run some lemon, orange or grapefruit rinds through your garbage disposal to freshen up the sink. Check the drip tray underneath your refrigerator, wash out any standing water from defrosting. Clean out your refrigerator! Wash the inside of the fridge with a baking soda and water solution, leave a box of baking soda in the fridge. Boil lemon juice in your microwave and add it to your dishwasher to eliminate bad smells. You can also pour this down your drains throughout the house. Wash all your bedding in your home. Vacuum the mattresses. Vacuum all your furninure. Animal odors are also a problem. Keep pet bedding washed and litter boxes cleaned regularly. Cleaning carpets, vacuuming regularly and keeping your home clean will make your home inviting.
Showing tip: There are several types of house warmers you can purchase. Choose a light homey smell. Remember smell is a first impression to a prospective buyer!
3. HVAC. Replace your filters frequently. Clean the return air vent as well as all other vents. Improve energy efficiency by vacuuming grates, coils, and condensers in your furnace and a/c. Showing tip: This is a good time to have your HVAC checked out by a licensed technician to make sure every thing is in order.
4. Wash the walls. Grease, smoke, and dust can adhere to walls and make even the best decorating look dingy. Wash walls using a general-purpose cleaner with hot water. Start at the top of the wall to avoid drips and in a corner so that you wash one wall at a time. Rinse the mop head frequently in clean water. And don’t press too hard because flat latex paint won’t absorb too much water.
Showing tip: Resist the temptation to spot-clean walls since it will make the rest of the wall look dingy. *This may be the time to repaint a room a neutral color if it is dingy or wall color is not appealing to prospective buyers.
5. Declutter: Go through each room and look for things you can live without. Box up and store items you want to keep, sell items you don't want at a garage sale or donate to a charity. Showing tip: This is a good time to stage your home. Remove personal items and pictures. Remove bulky furniture to make each room appear spacious. You want prospective buyers to imagine themselves in your home, not distracted by your pictures, furniture and personal belongings.
6. Outside: Trim bushes and trees, weed flower beds & add mulch if necessary. Mow lawn, edge around driveway and sidewalks. Reseed grass areas if needed, pick up dead branches and debris in yard left from the winter. Repair any rotten wood on the house, touch up paint, wash mold or mildew from siding. Check your garage doors to ensure they are in working order. Showing tip: This is a good time to plant some spring flowers for color while sprucing up your curb appeal.
If you are unable to do some of these things yourself, it may be to your advantage to hire professionals. You want your home to be the best showplace to be competitive in your price range!