Tip #1 – First Impressions

When prospects drive up to your home, you want the first impression to be a good one. That will happen as long as they don’t see anything that detracts from your home’s appearance. The prospective buyer won’t look for things that are “right”, but will immediately notice things that are “wrong”.

  • Keep your lawn trimmed, edged, watered, and fertilized. Beds around flowers and shrubs should be cultivated or mulched.
  • If you have no flowers, you may want to plant a few for some added color, or have a planter near the front door.
  • Bushes should be neatly trimmed.
  • Keep sidewalks swept.
  • Always keep the garage door closed.
  • Be sure garbage cans are not visible from the street, and that there is no rubbish anywhere on the grounds. Even children’s toys on the lawn can give an unkempt appearance.
  • Keep your fences and gates in good repair.
  • During winter, keep snow and ice removed from driveways, sidewalks, and porch. Clean any dirt, mold, or mildew from exterior walls, windows, and eaves.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Most important, remember that the front door welcomes the prospect, so make sure it is freshly painted. Consider adding a seasonal decoration for a warm, inviting touch.

Tip #2 – Details Matter

Believe it or not, the kitchen and bath are the rooms that traditionally sell houses. Although most experts agree that it is not cost-effective to remodel a kitchen in anticipation of selling, there are ways to put the kitchen and baths in “show” condition.


  • Repair leaky faucets.
  • Remove stains from the kitchen sink, counters, and appliances.
  • Clean the interiors of the oven, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Dirty appliances can convey an impression that will extend to the rest of your house.
  • Clean cabinet doors and touch up any scratches or marks.
  • Make your kitchen seem roomy. Remove most items from the counters and pack away any unnecessary or extra items that were in the kitchen cabinets.
  • Make sure that dirty dishes are kept out of the sink and off the counters.
  • Be aware of cooking odors. This morning’s fresh bread in the oven will smell great, but last night’s cabbage might not be so appealing.
  • Clean out the cabinets and the pantry. Remove items you seldom use and organize what’s left.


  • Replace stained or torn shower curtain.
  • Clean tile grout. Repair or replace caulking and grout in tubs and showers, if necessary.
  • Make sure that all fixtures are polished and free of water marks.
  • Clean out the inside of the medicine chest and any cabinets.
  • Organize the linen closet and remove unnecessary items.

Tip #3 – General Suggestions

  • How the rest of your home is presented to the buyer is also important. The buyer will be looking closely at every room, and probably in every closet, too!
  • Keep up with minor household repairs. Fix squeaking doors, tighten loose doorknobs, touch up chipped paint, replace missing hardware on cabinets and repair leaky faucets (inside and out).
  • Have all curtains, drapes and carpets cleaned.
  • Clean any blinds.
  • Dirty walls, or worn and scratched woodwork, will reduce the appeal of your house. A little liquid cleaner can work wonders on scratched and dry woodwork and paneling.
  • Consider cleaning your walls with liquid cleaner or applying touch-up paint where necessary.
  • Sparkling windows highlight your walls and ceilings and let more light into your rooms.
  • Repair ripped or torn screens.
  • Keep your curtains and draperies open to let prospective buyers see how cheerful your house can be.
  • Clean the fireplace.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor if they notice any unpleasant smells when they enter your home. Often we are unaware of cooking and pet odors in our own homes. Room fresheners and potpourri in various rooms will help give your house a welcoming, fresh smell.
  • Make sure your home is free of insects. Call an exterminator, if necessary.
  • Make sure all smoke detectors are operable. Install smoke detectors if you have none.

Tip #4 – Avoid Clutter


  • Make your closets look larger by removing or packing items that can be stored elsewhere. Donate old clothing to a local charity. Neat, well organized closets show that there is ample space.
  • Remove excess furniture and other items that you seldom use. It will give a feeling of more space in your home.
  • Packing away some of your collectibles, picture frames, or knick-knacks will also add to the feeling of space.
  • Keep newspapers, toys, and other articles picked up.


  • Sell, give away or toss unnecessary articles. Consider storing necessary items not being used.
  • Organize tools by hanging on peg boards and put items on shelves.
  • Clean the exterior of your water heater and furnace.
  • Make sure that the furnace, air conditioner, and any other major systems are accessible for easy inspection.


  • Sell, give away or toss unnecessary articles.
  • Clean any oil from cement floor
  • Install a strong overhead light, if necessary.


  • Straighten it up and throw or give away anything you aren’t going to move.
  • Make sure it is well-lit and your energy-saving insulation is apparent.

Tip #5 – Sell It or Store It

Now that you have cleaned your home from top to bottom and decided what items can be removed to give a feeling of more space, what do you do with everything? Now might be a good time for a garage sale. Those items you are not going to sell or give away should be stored. Sometimes a friend or neighbor will loan you their basement for a few months. Or, you can consider renting a unit at a local storage facility. A month’s or more rent for a local storage unit could easily be offset by a higher selling price.

Tip #6 – Investing In Quicker Sale

There are some home improvements that are more costly then the quick fixes listed above. Discuss the following suggestions with your Montana Westgate Realty, Inc. agent to decide if they are necessary. Often, the money spent will be well worth it if your house sells quickly, or if it gets you a good price for your home. You may also want to check with your accountant to see how the expenses of fixing up your home before selling will affect your tax return, if at all.

  • Consider painting the exterior of your home, if it needs to be painted. If you don’t paint it, you may lose some potential buyers who are unable to visualize what your home will look like if it is freshly painted. A neat and clean appearance outside will convince the buyers that the home is well maintained. If you are considering changing the color, take into account the colors of other homes in the neighborhood.
  • Clean, paint, or stain all exterior doors to your home.
  • Check your roof and replace it if in poor condition or if it leaks.
  • Consider painting any interior walls and ceilings for the same reason that you would paint the exterior. Keep prospective buyers in mind by choosing light, neutral colors.
  • If you decide to replace wallpaper, try not to choose unusual designs. Simple designs and neutral colors will appeal to a broader range of prospective buyers.
  • Buyers generally pay a lot of attention to carpeting and other floor coverings. If cleaning your carpets did not eliminate dirt, stains, or odors, consider
    replacing all or part of the carpeting. New carpeting can make a tremendous difference in the way your house shows.
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