When selling your house you want to make a good impression on potential buyers. There are entire shows devoted to this on the Home and Garden Network. It is important and can be expensive. Here are a few cheap or free tricks I have used that helped to improve the value of my home before selling it.
Make sure your house smells good
This is not about an industrial cleaning job. A clean home of course is a good idea. The problem is that if there is an overt chemical smell to the house it can put off potential buyers. You want a house that smells like a normal clean house or potential buyers will wonder what you’re hiding. Clean the house and then bake some cookies. The smell of cookies or fresh bread will make you house smell like a home.
Lighten the house
Light sells. You want clean and sparkling windows to let in as much outdoor light as possible. You also want high watt light bulbs to make the house as light and airy as possible. Consider buying new bedspreads that are fresh and bright. For goodness sake, make the beds properly. Like it or not people will be judging your care of the home on these things and you want to put yourself in a positive light. Psychologically, a person who makes a nice neat bed before showing the house is also likely to be someone who has taken care of the house.
Have a few plants
You do not have to be a master gardener to have a few nice plants. Make sure to keep the lawn mowed and trimmed. People have most likely driven by the house to get a look before ever saying anything to the real estate agent. You want to have the exterior on display at all times.
Have a landing spot
Put a table or chair at your front entry to the home. Real estate experts agree that this is a welcoming touch that seems to trigger buyers to want a house from the moment they walk through the door. This is nothing more than a place to drop the mail and your keys, or perhaps leave your shoes but for some reason it works.
When potential buyers are looking at a house that is being lived in they expect a certain about of living to be going on in the home. As a minimalist, I am a rare breed. When I sell a home, I actually borrow stuff from friends to put in the house. Most people are the exact opposite and they tend to over clean. A room that obviously belongs to a child should be neat but there should be toys around. You want people focused on the house and not talking about the poor child who has nothing to play with! Bring in baskets, a toy box, or whatever else is necessary to make the room look tidy. I actually had a friend who would bag up all the toys and put them in the trunk of her car. It was not until the one day she did not do this that an offer was made on the home. People expect a certain amount of clutter; give it to them.
Originally Published for Yahoo! Finance.