Most buyers start their search online, so it’s important that your first impression counts.  A few general things first…

1. If you know something needs to be fixed, fix it.
2. Clutter is your enemy. Box it up and store it in the garage.
3. The idea is that you’re just trying not to give a buyer anything to object to. When it comes to decor, think vanilla.

Exterior
• Sweep all walkways and especially area around the front door
• Use a broom to remove any cobwebs from eaves & door frames
• Make sure driveway and entryway are free of clutter
• Remove any leaves or fallen branches from the roof
• Mow the lawn and keep curbs & sidewalks edged
• Pick up any “landmines” left by the dog
• Pull weeds from flower beds and put down fresh mulch or pine straw
• Plant fresh flowers/landscaping out front
• Trim shrubs & other landscaping
• Remove any lawn ornaments, old potted plants, toys, fallen branches, etc from yard
• Pressure wash your home, driveway, deck, dock, or any other hard surfaces
• Paint exterior as needed
• Make sure pool is crystal clear
• Wash windows and window coverings
• Replace any missing or broken window screens
• Make sure all exterior lighting works
• Patio should be neat, outdoor furniture in good shape
• Make sure all doors open, close, and lock smoothly

Interior
• Remove anything a buyer might consider to be clutter; souvenirs, non-decorative items, papers, magazines, mail, anything with a logo or brand name.
• Tidy up anything on shelves
• Remove personal items from nightstands, end tables, dressers, etc.
• Remove any excess furniture that may be constricting space
• Replace any burnt out light bulbs (same type, all incandescent or all CFL)
• Replace any broken blinds
• Beds should be made
• Patch and paint walls where necessary
• Paint walls light, neutral colors
• Clean blinds, window sills, & curtains
• Dust everything, vacuum, & clean floors
• Organize Closets
• Remove posters from kid’s rooms
• Pick up kid’s toys & books. Keep them organized in cute baskets or bins
• Make sure no items under beds are showing
• Keep blinds/drapes open to let in natural light
• Move any furniture that obstructs windows
• Nice place setting or flower bouquet in dining room
• Straighten all chairs & furniture
• Fluff and arrange furniture pillows

Bathrooms
• Hide any personal hygiene products
• Scrub Toilets
• Clean showers, baths, mirrors, & counter tops
• Make sure towels are on a rack
• Make sure only clean, unused, & matching linens are in view
• Toilet lids should be down
• Counter-tops should be clear of anything personal
• Close shower curtains
• Keep trashcans empty
• Hide any plungers, scrub brushes, aerosol cans, etc
• Remove all loofahs, robes, & scales

Kitchen
• Remove refrigerator magnets, calendars, report cards, etc
• No food items left out (decorative bowl of fruit or flower vase is ok)
• Remove knives, soap, sponges, & cutting boards from view
• Put away counter-top appliances except for one or two for perspective
• Make sure your exposing as much counter-space as possible
• No dishes in the sink
• Hide the paper towels
• If possible, place garbage can somewhere out of view

Just for photography (It only takes an hour or two, then you can go back to normal life)
• Move vehicles from driveway and away from front of the home
• Close garage door
• Place trash cans or anything that isn’t attached to the home in the garage
• Remove any yard signs
• Water lawn 4 hours before shooting. Even a brown lawn will look better
• Clean shinny appliances very well or they’ll show up smudged with flash photography
• Remove trashcan from kitchen & bathrooms
• Open all blinds with a decent view. Exception would be some bedrooms & some bathrooms
• For security reasons, hide any valuables, jewelry, firearms, etc.
• Turn ceiling fans off. They create motion blur
• Turn all inside lights on. It will help balance light in most areas
• Turn all TVs & computer screens off
• Hide all evidence of pets
• Remove small rugs unless they are a focal point (kitchen mats, bath mats, interior door mats, etc)
• Conceal chords & cables! Unplug them if you have to unless they’re a light
• Close shower curtains unless custom shower, then half way open
• Remove toilet paper from roll or use full roll. No partial rolls
• Put hoses, hose reels, or sprinklers in the garage
• Put any grills/smokers in the garage
• Remove pool-crawler from view & hide other pool equipment
• Turn on pool fountains/features
• Hide large kids toys like Playskool kitchens, arts & crafts tables, etc
• Remove décor with visible names of children
• Replace personal photos with non-specific art & décor
• Hide moving boxes & storage containers

About the author

Adam Silk

Adam Silk

Realtor, Seller Representative Specialist

Adam, a 13 year veteran of the Northeast FL real estate market has built a vast portfolio of repeat & referral residential clients through superior work ethic and a dedication to earning long-term business. He has earned both the Previews International and Elite Realtor Network designations as evidence of his consistent multi-million dollar production and outstanding service.

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