When presenting your home to prospective buyers, first impressions are crucial. Buyers begin judging your home the moment they see it, and generally they prefer homes that are well maintained, clean and clutter-free -- homes they can picture themselves living in. That is why home improvements -- particularly if they address the anticipated needs of buyers -- can boost your home's salability and sale price. 

Here are a few proven, cost-effective tips that will help your home look its best

(Note: Some of these suggestions may not apply in your case): 

Exterior 

  • Mow and rake the lawn, trim hedges, weed and edge gardens
  • Add fresh mulch to gardens and beds, create new beds to add dimension to the yard
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveway, pick up any litter at the street
  • Clean out the gutters, remove or repair torn window screens
  • Plant extra flowers for color, or place potted plants beside the front door
  • Clean or paint front door, polish door hardware
  • Ensure doorbell & entry door handles & locks work 

Interior 

  • Place all valuables, jewelry, cash, etc.. in a safe and secure place
  • Clean and tidy the entrance, clear stairs and halls, store all excess furniture
  • If you have a lot of keepsakes and photos, box and store some of them
  • Brighten interiors with fresh, light-toned paint & well placed wall hangings
  • Brighten rooms by installing high wattage light bulbs and turning them on before all showings
  • Shampoo carpets, clean and wax floors, secure any sliding rugs, etc..
  • Clear off kitchen countertops -- removing appliances if necessary -- to make them look spacious
  • No heavy fragrances or incense - A clean home with a fresh, lemony scent is the most appealing
  • Organize and clean out closets and garages to make them look larger
  • Clean and freshen bathrooms, put out clean towels, minimize clutter
  • Clean mirrors and windows so they sparkle and be sure to open all blinds prior to showings
  • If you're not using it and it doesn't help showcase the space, box it up and neatly store it
  • Perform necessary minor repairs and touch-ups to walls, windows, fixtures, etc.   

Tips For Showings And Open Houses 

  • Make sure you let agents key into the lockbox so that I have a record of their showing
  • Be absent so buyers feel more comfortable  - they'll take more time with the place to themselves
  • If at all possible, remove pets from the property, or crate them or keep them outdoors 

These are just a few ideas to get you started. I know what today's buyers are looking for and can provide more ideas that will maximize your home's appeal.  Remember, a few easy and inexpensive improvements can produce big returns on your investment