It goes without saying, a good first impression can help sell your home. But where to start with the list of things to do to get ready! It can be overwhelming, especially if you still live in the home while showings will be taking place. And then there are other challenges if you don't occupy the home during the listing, such as the anxiety to get an offer. 

You can assist your real estate agent or broker when you are showing your home to prospective buyers by remembering that first impressions are the most lasting and the most important to its sale. Your major role as a seller will be to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. The time, effort and limited financial investment involved can give you the competitive edge needed to sell your home when you want - at the price you want. Since the exterior of your home is the first thing a prospective buyer sees, a little time and effort can make a big difference in the impression your home creates. And pay big dividends when the sale is made. Use this check list to make sure your home's exterior looks its best:

  • Lawn is well cut and neatly trimmed around the walks and drive.
  • Flower garden is weeded.
  • All debris is disposed of and toys and lawn equipment are neatly stored.
  • Fences and gates are repaired and repainted, if necessary.
  • The roof, gutters and downspout are in good repair.
  • Driveways and sidewalks are washed down and checked for cracking and crumbling.
  • Cracked windows and torn screens are replaced. Screens, windows and window sills are washed.
  • Doorknobs and light switch covers are cleaned or polished.
  • Doorbell and front lights are in good working order.

If you have planned to paint the house within the coming year, consider painting the house before showing it. A new paint job, well done, will normally enhance the sale value a good deal more than the cost of the paint.  If your home's exterior looks clean, orderly and in good repair, that's the impression your house will first convey.

A spotless interior will reinforce your home's good first impression.  Interior dirt and clutter can obscure your home's good points, so start with a full house cleaning from top to bottom. Store unused or unnecessary items in closets and storage areas or hold a garage sale. Eliminate clutter and your home will look more spacious - an important selling point. Take an inspection tour of your home, observing it as a potential buyer would and consider these criteria:

  • Walls are clean and free of smudges, fingerprints and dents.
  • Woodwork and wallpaper are inspected for problem areas; wallpaper is cleaned and woodwork is waxed.
  • Badly worn furniture is temporarily stored in family's or neighbor's attic or basement.
  • Rugs and carpets are shampooed. Floors are waxed.
  • Loose doorknobs, sticking doors, windows and warped drawers are repaired.
  • Leaky faucets are fixed. Water discoloration in sink is eliminated.
  • Loose stair banisters are tightened and steps are free of objects.
  • Light fixtures are in good working order. Discolored or cracked switch plates are replaced.
  • Closets, shelves and drawers are organized to display spaciousness.
  • Clothing is hung neatly and shoes and other objects are neatly arranged.
  • Bathrooms are sparkling clean. Tub and shower caulking is repaired.
  • Bedrooms are neat. Bedspreads and curtains are attractive.

Here are some last-minute details that will maximize your home's selling potential right before your agent shows the home:

  • The television and radio are turned off or low enough to allow the salesperson and buyer(s) to talk, free of disturbances.
  • Bad odors are eliminated. Air freshener is used before the potential buyer arrives, especially if you have pets or if the house has been closed up for some time.
  • The house has adequate lighting (during daytime drapes are open; at night plenty of lights are on, including the porch light).
  • Wood is stored next to the fireplace. In winter a fire is lit.
  • Magazines, children's toys and shoes are in order.
  • House plants have been watered and look healthy.
  • Fresh flowers are arranged tastefully around the house.

Your real estate broker or agent has the experience and training necessary to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion. And, if you've followed the guidelines provided, you'll know you've already done your part by making sure your home creates a good first impression. 

DeAnna Neises of Chicago Title Company has been in the Title Insurance Industry for over 30 years.  During this time, she has served in the roles of Searcher, Examiner, Residential Escrow Officer, Residential Escrow Manager, Commercial Escrow Manager and now an Sales Executive at Chicago Title Company.  Her motto is: being different and better!  With in-depth experience in this industry, not only will DeAnna easily partner with you and your business needs, but also answer any questions you may have about Title Insurance. Chicago Title has made a durable commitment to this community. We provide title insurance and related real estate services to homeowners, their professional advisers and lenders. Please, ask for us by name when you open escrow.

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