To sell a house, one must show a house, and this means putting your best foot forward. The more effort that's put into making a house look its best, the faster it will sell.
"A house that shows immaculately clean and in good condition is going to sell much quicker. If not, it's going to sit on the market for a while," said Elizabeth Gray-Carr, a Realtor with Prudential C. Dan Joyner Co. Inc., in Anderson, S.C. "Make it look as good as possible inside and out."
Getting rid of any visible clutter is highly recommended as well.
"Don't leave medications and foods on the countertops. People want to picture their things in the home and that's hard to do if there's clutter everywhere," said Sandy Jordan, a realtor with Simpson Realty in Anderson. "Get rid of things you don't readily use. Put up the coffee maker and the toaster where it's within reach when you need it."
Box up off-season clothes and anything you can get by without for a few months.
Pet and smoke odors are a big red flag. If nonsmoking potential buyers are blasted with the stink of stale cigarettes upon first entering the house, it's safe to assume they'll no longer be in the running once they walk out the door.
Help lessen smoke odors by washing the walls, adding a fresh coat of paint or simply taking the curtains down. Very rarely can pet odors (especially cat urine) be eliminated. In fact, those allergic to cat dander might find themselves affected by a house long after the animal is gone.
First impressions mean a lot, and usually this is formed during the initial drive-by. Obviously, the outside appearance needs to be impressive enough to get people to the front door.
Tips for improving curb appeal include keeping the grass cut, painting or washing the exterior of the house, checking the gutters and chimney and washing the windows inside and out.