What is it that makes some houses stand out from the rest as you drive by? Usually it starts with newly mowed and edged front lawn. For extra points fertilize and water it regularly prior to sale so it's lush and green. If necessary have your driveway and paths pressure cleaned. Trim back the bushes and trees so passers by can see the house.
The front door is a buyers first close encounter with your home so it has to feel welcoming. Avoid having a collection of old shoes next to a dusty old mat. Hose down the screen door if it's getting dusty. Lets make the entrance really sparkle. Some colourful flowers on the path or near the front door can be a nice touch.
It's often said by buyers that as soon as they walk inside they can feel if it's the right place or not. Many of us collect and hoard all kinds of things over the years, usually they're items that remind us of pleasant memories. We don't need to de-personalise the home but we do need to maximise our possible market. Right now the trends lean toward a minimalist nature. So as you walk through the house looking at things, if you wouldn't see it in a display home put it in storage.
Some homes have more natural light than others but a common complaint amongst buyers is walking into a dark house. Nobody wants to live in a dark, dingy cave. For inspections have all the curtains and blinds open. Turn on all the lights and replace the energy savers with cool bright white light bulbs.
Smelly homes don't sell. Be sure to have the windows open letting the fresh breeze circulate. Have the fans on slow. Air-conditioners on in Summer. Cooking smells are a no-no. Scent is the closest sense linked to memory.Citrus smells are refreshing. Floral smells are relaxing. Herbaceous smells are usually relaxing but can also be invigorating, especially peppermint. Cedar and other wood smells relax and soothe. Psychologists argue that the best fragrance to use is vanilla because its odour is universally regarded as 'pleasant'.
Styles and trends come and go, so the best way to remain current is to be timeless. Neutral tones never age so use whites and off-white tones for your background and splash colour with paintings, flowers and draperies. People can see that these things can easily be replaced with their own favourite pieces. Conversely, people can be easily turned off by garish colours on walls, bathrooms or kitchens.
Nobody wants to live in a filthy hovel. And because everyone's version of clean seems to be different the best thing you can do is hire a cleaner. Have the windows professionally cleaned inside and out. When tenants leave a rental they often pay a cleaner to do a 'bond clean' in order to get their money back. These services don't miss a thing. Well worth the investment.
The purpose of all this effort is to make a buyer feel better about your house. You want the buyer to be able to linger and take in the feelings they get. Often a couple will want to discuss what they see together without the fear of being overheard by the owner. They don't want to feel as though they are intruding. Whenever possible leave the home before the agent and buyer arrive. If it's not possible, pick the worst room of the house and stay there so the agent can work around you and ensure the buyer gets to spend plenty of time in the best parts of the home.