Selling for Top Dollar

Selling your house for top dollar

Your home is the star performer in this show. Even the best marketing and promotion efforts will fall short if your home isn’t appealing to potential buyers. There are a number of things to consider when getting your home ready for market.

Contact Lisa Povlow


Get Your Home Ready for Sale

Here’s how to be certain your home will be its most appealing to a potential buyer and maximize your chance of selling for top dollar:

1. Pricing
2. Cleaning
3. Access
4. Pre-Sale Improvements
5. Curb Appeal
6. Home Warranty
7. Pre-Sale Inspection


1. Pricing

It is very important to price your property at a competitive market value right when you list it. The market is so competitive that even over-pricing by a few thousand dollars could mean that your house will not sell.

An overpriced home:

  • Minimizes offers
  • Lowers showings
  • Lowers agent response
  • Limits financing
  • Limits qualified buyers

2. Cleaning

A home for sale can never be too clean. Few things are as important to your sales effort as insuring that your home is clean and orderly when buyers come calling. Most people are turned off by even the smallest amount of uncleanliness or odor when buying a home. A spotless home makes a strong impression on a buyer. While some level of dirt and clutter is endemic to life in the home, the fact is that the less “lived in” your home looks, the better it will show to buyers.

Home Cleaning Checklist:

  • Kitchens and baths
    Clean all kitchens and baths thoroughly and keep these areas spotless during the selling period.
  • Rugs and floors
    Shampoo rugs and vacuum frequently during the selling period. Consider refinishing stained or discolored wood floors.
  • Windows
    Wash all windows and keep these clean during the selling period. Wash all screens.
  • Cut down on clutter
    Consider removing some furnishings and personal possessions if any rooms seem cluttered. Clean out messy closets. Tidy up children’s rooms and play areas and try to keep these areas clean during the selling period.
  • Garage and basement
    Clean out the garage and basement. Organize stored items neatly and remove clutter. Sweep both areas clean.
  • Clean up outside areas
    Neatly store any ladders, lawnmowers, or other tools and equipment. Make sure that bicycles and children’s toys are stored in an appropriate place. Wash the exterior of the home is your siding is dirty.
  • Check your landscaping.
    Make sure your yard is well tended. Keep the grass neatly mowed and edged. Check your shrubs and plantings to see if they need to be weeded or trimmed.
  • Maintain a fresh, pleasant scent in the home.
    Purchase some potpourri or scented candles to use when the home is shown. Consider keeping firewood on hand during the winter if your home has a fireplace.
  • Hire a Professional
    Making sure your home is clean is a crucial step in the marketing process. It’s also a very time-consuming process, one that many people don’t have the time or motivation to tackle properly. Hiring a cleaning service is almost certainly worth the cost if you don’t have the time to do the work yourself. It may even make sense to arrange for regular cleanings during the selling period.

3. Access

Top selling agents will not show your home if both the key and access are not readily available. The greatest way to show a house is to have a key readily available.

When your home is being shown, be sure to do the following:

  • Keep all lights on, including exterior lights by your front door
  • Keep all drapes and shutters open
  • Keep all doors unlocked
  • Leave soft music playing
  • Take a short walk with your children and pets
  • Let the buyer be at ease and let the agents do their job

4. Pre-Sale Improvements

The goal with pre-sale improvements is to make the greatest possible impact with the smallest investment. Each of these ten projects can be completed at a reasonable cost and all contribute considerably to a home’s saleability.

10 Reasonably-Priced Projects:

  • Interior painting
    Paint is your best improvement investment for getting a greater return on your money. A fresh coat of paint can really brighten the interior of your home at a reasonable cost, especially if you do the job yourself. Choose neutral, popular colors that will appeal to most buyers.

  • Exterior painting
    An old, peeling coat of exterior paint can really ruin the curb appeal of your home – and turn off potential buyers before they even get through the door. A new paint job can work wonders to restore a home’s outward appearance.

  • Repairs
    You will probably have to repair any broken or malfunctioning household systems before you close anyway, so why not do it upfront before the problems detract from your sales effort?

  • Flooring
    Damaged or stained wood floors can really make a home look shabby, but with a relatively inexpensive refinishing job they can look as good as new. If your carpet is worn, dirty, outdated, or an unusual color, you may need to seriously consider replacing it.

  • Quick kitchen fixes
    The kitchen is a critically important part of your home to most buyers. A dated or unfashionable kitchen can really hurt a home in the marketplace. While a full (and expensive) kitchen remodel is unfeasible, any small and inexpensive projects that jazz up the room are probably a good idea. Painting cabinets, replacing hardware, changing faucets, and installing new flooring are all reasonably priced projects that can make a huge difference in the look of your kitchen.

  • Replace old linoleum floors
    If your kitchen, laundry room or bath has old or unattractive linoleum it may be worth replacing the flooring. The cost is generally reasonable and the impact on the room can be significant.

  • Add landscaping
    Installing some well-selected plantings can really improve the look or your yard and curb appeal of your home. Avoid costly projects involving earthmoving or extensive plantings. Instead, select shrubs that will look their best during the anticipated selling period. If the time of year permits, choose plants that will be in bloom when buyers are viewing the home.

  • Lighting maintenance
    Check all of the lighting fixtures in your home and replace any that are not working or are dated and unattractive. Make sure all fixtures have working bulbs and that all light switches are in operating order.

  • Fix “sticky” doors.
    Check all of your interior doors. Do they open easily and close all the way? If not, have them planed or adjusted so they function properly.

  • Fix “sticky” windows.
    Check all of your windows. Do they open and close easily? Do they lock properly? Are there any cracks or broken panes? Fix any problems and make sure that all windows have screens.

5. Curb Appeal

The first impression a buyer gets of your home is from the curb. Your front yard immediately reflects the inside condition of your house to the buyer. If a buyer does not like the outside, they may not stop to see the inside.

Tips to improve your curb appeal:

  • Sweep front walkway and driveway.
  • Pressure-wash the front walkway and driveway to make them look new.
  • Remove newspapers, bikes and toys.
  • Park extra cars away from the property.
  • Trim back the shrubs.
  • Apply fresh, clean paint throughout.
  • Clean windows and window coverings throughout.
  • Keep pet areas clean.
  • Keep plumbing and all appliances in working order.
  • Maintain all sealant (window, tub, shower, sink, etc.) in good condition.
  • Make sure roof and gutters are in good condition.
  • Mow, trim and edge the lawn more frequently
  • Plant flowers.

6. Home Warranty

Offer a Weichert Home Protection Plan. Beyond the cosmetic, this warranty adds appeal by assuring potential buyers that essential utilities and appliances won’t present unexpected expenses. To learn more of the details, you can ask Lisa Povlow, your Weichert Sales Associate.

7. Pre-Sale Inspection

Since the buyer is probably going to have an inspection anyway, why not find out about any problems upfront so you’re not taken by surprise a few weeks before the closing date? A pre-sale inspection can also help protect against potential seller liability. If the inspector didn’t find a problem it is a reasonable assertion that the seller did not know about it either.