Making Your Home Look Its Best

Showing Your Home

The experts put their heads together and came up with a list of tips to help you get your home ready to rent or sell. What does it take to make your home's first impression its best impression?

  • The first three weeks are the most critical time to market your home. This is why it is important to have the home ready to show and priced properly. You will have more activity in this period because buyers who are in the market have seen existing houses and are anxious to see anything new on the market.
  • If your home shows poorly or is overpriced, you may not get another chance to make a good impression. Remember the competition is fierce. You are competing with every other house in your price range that is currently for sale -- new and pre-owned.
  • Air out the house. You may be the last person to notice any peculiar odors in your home but visitors may, so search out offending odors coming from a kitty litter box, dog bed, mildew in the shower, or maybe cigarette smoke.
  • Wash all the windows. Windshield washing solutions work best in winter. Clean the window sills and bottom of wood jambs. Wipe down the blinds. Replace any broken or cracked windows or mirrors. In the winter, remove and store screens. In summer repair and wash screens. Let the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay shine in!
  • Call on yourself and pay special attention to how your front entrance looks. Does your door need to be painted? Does the doorbell work? First impressions make a big difference.
  • Now is the time to clean the carpets! If it has been over a year since the carpets have been cleaned do it now. Vinyl floors should be waxed or polished. Hardwood floors should be reconditioned if they need it.
  • Light and bright is right. Replace burned out lights, put bulbs in every socket, keep shades and drapes open during the day. Buyers like bright and cheery, especially in the winter months.
  • Make your bed! Mom was right, now is the time to be sure all beds are made and clothes are picked up.
  • Clean out those closets. Pack up everything you haven't used in the last year. You are going to have to do it anyway and storage areas look larger when they aren't cluttered.
  • Store extra furniture. Too much furniture or furniture that is too large for the room makes a house appear smaller.
  • Really look at your kitchen as if you are a new buyer. Keep the oven clean, put new drip pans under the burners (don't cover with foil). Clean around the seal of the dishwasher door. Check for offensive odors. If your counter space is limited, put unnecessary items away.
  • Freshen up the bathrooms by putting out new towels and mats. Replace your shower curtain if needed and clean and polish ceramic tile.
  • Clean out the fireplace and dispose of ashes. Put in fresh logs.
  • Keep children's toys out of the way. Be sure the yard and front entrance is free of toys and litter.
  • Impress upon the family the importance of keeping the house neat and clean.
  • Have a garage sale. Moving time is time to get rid of as much extra "stuff" as possible so do it before you try to sell your house. If your garage is very small remove the clutter or park your car outside on the street when the house is being shown.