First impressions are important when you put your home on the market. Consider that most buyers will spend just a few minutes in a house before deciding to make an offer, so invest your time and money wisely by following these seven DIY tips:
1. The neighborhood. As potential buyers drive up to your house, do they see a well-kept neighborhood or a ramshackle mess? If a neighboring yard is unsightly, diplomatically offer to help clean it up.
2. The approach. Are your driveway and front yard neat and tidy? Consider resealing the asphalt driveway, power washing the concrete driveway and washing the front of the house. Get rid of weeds, trim the shrubbery, plant attractive annuals and add mulch. Install new exterior light fixtures, a new mailbox and new house numbers. If the paint is peeling, you may have to bite the bullet and paint the house-just the front.
3. The entry hall. What do buyers see the minute they open the door? Remove the clutter and consider repainting. Flowers and a guest book are great additions.
4. The kitchen. Many buyers want to see the kitchen first, so keep the route from the front door to the kitchen clean and bright with no distractions. The kitchen should be spotless and odor-free.
5. The bathroom(s). Make sure all bathrooms are clean. Display matching towels, pretty soaps and a new shower curtain. If the medicine cabinet is old, dirty or rusty, put in a new one. Replace the toilet seat. Now is the time to paint, recaulk and get rid of any mildew.
6. The closets. Every buyer wants lots of closet space, so make sure yours are organized and not filled-a half-full closet looks luxurious. You'll have to pack all of your stuff eventually, so be smart and do it now.
7. The rest of the house. You never know which room will pique a buyer's interest. Repair and paint as needed in the garage, basement and laundry room. Remove clutter as well as personal items like family pictures, diplomas, religious items, etc.
By Dan Fritschen
Dan Fritschen is the founder of project planning website RemodelOrMove.com and the author of five books on home remodeling.
This article is excerpted from USA TODAY Home magazine. The special publication contains articles on home decor, home improvement, style and entertaining. Find it at magazine newsstands across the USA and Canada or at home.usatoday.com.