In each of your rooms, you should have three primary goals:
1. Depersonalize the room by taking away family pictures, removing everything from your refrigerator and other
similar surfaces, and taking posters and trophies out of kids' rooms.
2. Clear away high-traffic areas of excess furnishings and other belongings, to give the highest impression of
space and comfort.
3. Highlight the primary features of every room, making sure that they have not been hidden or obscured by
furnishings, plants, or other belongings. Such primary features include:
H French doors
H Tubs with jets
Beyond these, keep the following tips in mind when you prepare your house to be sold. Keep your eyes open for
the “rapid fire” section at the end of each room, for quick additional tips to give that final polish to each
It is usually the kitchen and the bathrooms that are most scrutinized when a house is being considered for
purchase. Therefore, they should be your first priorities when you look at the interior of your home before your
prospective buyers arrive.
However, most experts agree that it's not always the most cost-effective decision to completely remodel your
kitchen before selling. Sure, you may get part of it back, but it simply can't be guaranteed that you'll get a
return on all of your investment.
Instead, there are some great little things that you can do as far as minor improvements and general sprucing
up, which will provide a much greater impact on the speed and success of the sale of your home.
There are lots of little things that you can do to the kitchen sink that are quite inexpensive and easy, and
which will make an enormous difference in the overall picture.
For one thing, you'll want to be certain that there aren't any leaks at all. Do a good job repairing leaks, to
ensure that there won't be any unfortunate surprises while the prospective buyers are viewing your kitchen.
Also you will want to remove stains from the sink and surrounding area. Use a good quality cleaning product, and
make the sink and its hardware simply shine and sparkle.
This is almost as effective as replacing it altogether.
Even if you are not leaving your appliances behind, they should be well cleaned, and shiny. This includes a
thorough cleaning of your:
H Coffee maker
This is especially important for anything you'll be leaving behind, such as a built-in dishwasher, but
everything should be cleaned in order to give an overall impression of a sanitary, well maintained, friendly, and
overall pleasant kitchen.
Dirty appliances will inevitably make prospective buyers feel that the rest of the house is dirty as well. Even
if everything was immaculate except for the oven door, that one little patch of grunge will be enough to alter the
feeling that a potential buyer has about your home.
The truth is that a fantastically large number of the 90 million kitchens in America are aged 50 years or more.
This means that they'll need to aim for that classic, but well maintained, and up-to-date appearance, instead of
As long as your cupboards are still in good condition, then you will want to avoid committing a large amount of
money on cupboard surgery.
When it comes to cupboards there are some great little “facelift” efforts that you cane make that will give the
appearance of cupboards that are much newer than they are.
These efforts are:
H Replacing rusty, chipped, or out-of-date hardware
H Putting fresh, white shelf paper down
H Wiping down cupboards to get rid of smudges, fingerprints, and other things that take away from shine.
H Putting a fresh coat of paint on cupboards that simply will not be wiped clean.
It is these few cosmetic differences that will convince prospective buyers that you still have good kitchen
cupboards that are clean and in satisfactory condition.
Whether you're looking at the kitchen counters, shelving, or table, there shouldn't be any clutter in your
kitchen whatsoever. If there is anything that isn't an absolute necessity, get it out of the room altogether.
Think of it as a weight loss for your kitchen. Get rid of floor obstructions, clean out the cabinets, and clear
off the countertop and table.
This will open up your kitchen as far as it will go to give it a much cleaner, roomier appearance. Moreover,
clutter will take away from the appearance of cleanliness you've worked so hard to achieve.
It can even add years to the appearance of your kitchen, taking away from your efforts to keep it up to
The bottom line is: open up your kitchen by removing everything but what you really need.
People want big kitchens. They want room for their own clutter, as well as room to maneuver around. If you can't
show them that, then they will not be impressed with that room at all.
This disappointment will be enough to turn them off the entire house.
The entire kitchen can easily look rejuvenated with a simple fresh coat of paint. Paint can be added to the
walls, ceilings, and cabinetry, taking years off the appearance, and making them look much cleaner.
Aim for neutrals to make the space look big and hygienic.
If you want to give the kitchen a custom look and you have enough room to do so, connect two or three stock base
cabinets and overlay them with a new countertop to create an island. Leave room for the addition of bar stools on
If your cabinets are a bit on the plain side, use molding to give them some spice. Regular panel or picture
molding can redefine flat doors and drawers.
Similarly, elaborate crown molding, placed where your cabinets meet the ceiling, can create an elegant classic
appearance, and is sure to draw positive attention.
Using inexpensive glass mosaics, porcelain tile, natural slate, or a faux paint finish, you can create a custom,
unique backsplash that will add beauty and attractiveness to your kitchen.
Add lighting to your kitchen, and increase appeal, the appearance of size, and overall brightness. Moreover,
lights can be added just about anywhere in a kitchen. This includes:
H Under cabinets
H Above cabinets
H From the ceiling
H From the walls
H Anywhere else that will add to the visibility and overall look in your kitchen.
A spotlight or pendant light is an attractive addition over a kitchen island.
Depending on the look of your kitchen, there are many different window treatments that can add to the appeal of
Wood blinds, roman shades, or Venetian blinds are all great shades to add style, and keep out the glare of the
sun when it moves to that side of your house.
If you have a more “country” or “crafty” kitchen, then lace, or kitchen curtains can be very warm and pleasant
additions to add appeal.
Anything that you can do to your bathroom is a great way to add value to your home. However, before you jump
into a project, have a good look at the actual problems and issues, instead of simply doing things so that you can
say “this is a new toilet”.
Bathrooms are tricky places, and as much as you want to maximize their appeal – as they are a main selling point
in the house – you also don't want to get stuck with a project that won't pay off when you sell your home.
Also, if you do dive into a task, you risk running into unexpected problems when it's too late to go “back,” and
then you may be stuck with some unfortunate unexpected expenses. Such costly surprises should be avoided if at all
Instead, take a similar tack to what you did in the kitchen, and aim more for cosmetic improvements than actual
renovations and overhauls.
Have a look at your bathroom fixtures before you “attack” them. Ask yourself the following questions:
H Are the fixtures or their seals damaged, cracked, or leaky?
H Is the style of the fixtures greatly outdated?
H Are the fixtures stained, grungy, or dirty?
If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions than consider the following plans of action.
H Replace or repair seals or fixtures that are damaged, cracked, or leaky
H If you are replacing fixtures, don't go too expensive, but make them attractive to enhance or at least match
the appearance of your bathroom
H Go over all of your fixtures with a quality bathroom cleaner to remove any stains, buildup, grime, or other
types of dirt. Your bathroom must sparkle.
Moisture is inherent to any bathroom, and yet it can be a real pest for creating a grimy appearance, encouraging
mold or mildew growth, damaging your decorating, and creating other problems.
Look around your bathroom, and ask yourself the following moisture-related questions:
H Are any of the finishes moisture-damaged?
H Are there visible waters stains on any surfaces?
H Is there any mold growth on any surfaces?
H Is there any paint blistering or peeling?
H Are there any swollen, buckled, or rotten surfaces?
H Is any of the grout or caulking chipped, cracked, or peeling?
If you have answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then go over the following plans of action that may be
ideal for your bathroom issues.
H Find out if any of the moisture is coming from building leaks, plumbing leaks, or high levels of humidity. Fix
the cause of the moisture if at all possible.
H Repair or replace the damaged or deteriorating parts of your bathroom.
H Remove any visible mold growth with a quality cleaning product that is specific for that purpose.
H If possible, keep the window open to increase ventilation and release excess humidity.
H Replace or repair grout and caulking, and maintain it to prevent water from escaping.
To be certain that the plumbing and electricity are up to snuff in your bathroom, ask yourself the following
H Is the water pressure satisfactory?
H Do the pipes make a banging noise (known as water hammer)?
H Do the drains flow slowly?
H Are there any unusual noises or smells in the drains?
H Is the electric wiring safe and adequate?
H Is the lighting good enough to light the area?
If you are faced with any of the above issues, consider the following techniques to better the situation:
H Install water pipes with a larger diameter to allow for greater flow, or use pressure balancing valves
H Provide your plumbing an air cushion to get rid of the water hammer
H Make certain that your drainage system is sufficiently vented, and that the proper traps have been
H Unclog any drains that used to drain more quickly, and are now slow to flow.
H Have an electrician inspect your electric wiring. Have the wiring upgraded for safety reasons, if
H Update the lighting in the bathroom so that it is adequate for the space.
Your bathroom should be cleaner than brand new whenever someone comes to view the home. This includes the floor,
walls, mats, tub, toilet, sink, and counter.
Counter space should look as large and clear as possible. This allows the people viewing the home to see it when
it looks the biggest, cleanest, and most hygienic. It also de-personalizes the space, so that they can imagine the
space for their own uses.
Other than the kitchen and bathroom, the front entry may very well be the most influential, as it will be the
area of the interior of the house making the first impression – the lasting impression.
As this will be the very first part of the interior that the prospective buyers will see, you might want to
consider a fresh coat of paint on the walls and/or door.
Additionally, you'll want to make sure that the floors are extremely clean, to give an overall fresh and
sanitary feel to the house.
You'll want to make the front entry a place that has lots of light. Keep all of the lights on, and open up any
blinds to maximize the light. The brighter the entry, the more welcoming and appealing the home.
Aside from the kitchen and bathrooms, the bedrooms are the most closely observed areas of your home. Therefore,
be certain that the bedrooms are especially presentable.
The beds should all be made, and as wrinkle-free as a 5-star hotel. The entire space should be free of all
clutter and overly-personal items, to allow the largest appearance, and to permit the prospective buyers to imagine
themselves and their things in the space.
Even the closets of the bedrooms should be tidy and organized, with as little extra stuff in them as
Any extra furniture should be removed from the bedrooms to give them a larger appearance.
Keep all surfaces clean and clear. Tuck extra little items away while potential buyers are viewing your home.
Every little bit will count towards the overall clean and larger impression.
These rooms should be clear, with only enough furniture in them to make them feel welcoming. Any extra furniture
should be taken away.
The surfaces should be free of photographs, knick-knacks, and other personal items, and should be unscrupulously