I've seen a lot of homes for sale in 10 years of staging. Based on my experience, these are my top 5 Focus Points you need to conquer if you plan to sell your house in the future.
1. Home Inspection Report. Be proactive! Don't wait for your buyer's inspection report to divulge problems. Invest in a professional home inspection. Start working on the repair projects before you want to sell.
2. Curb Appeal. Your buyers have to see your house to appreciate it. Stand at the street and take a good hard look at what your buyers will see on the approach. Update landscaping, remove dead trees and low limbs. Manicure your yard to perfection! Exterior paint faded and chipped? Fix it.
3. Updates. Now is the time to invest in new appliances if yours are old. Update light and plumbing fixtures. These are relatively inexpensive when compared to the bang you get for your buck when selling. Worn and soiled carpets must be replaced. Paint, paint, paint your interior. Paint is the least expensive of updates. Appliance, paint and carpet allowances are relics in today's market.
4. Garage Maintenance. Often overlooked, garages are a top amenity for buyers. Clean it up and clear it out. Scrub shelves and countertops. Remove grease stains. Painted garage floors entice buyers and look great in MLS photos. Rent off premises storage for household overflow. Don't pile what you are taking to your next house to store in the garage.
5. Edit. Begin to sift through through your belongings. Sell, share and/or donate extra furniture, accessories and clothes. Rooms need to appear large and spacious. We are selling square footage and it must show to be appreciated!
Remember that 2013 is a unique buyer's market. If potential buyers don't like what they see, they simply move on to the next house. You hire a mechanic to fix your car and get your hair cut and colored by a professional. Your house is one of your biggest investments. Spend the money! Hire a professional stager, organizer, and contractor for advice and to get the work DONE!