• Trim all trees and shrubs that block the view of the house.
• Remove any dead plants, flowers, and shrubs.
• Keep walkways, paths, sidewalks, and gutters free of weeds and debris.
• Mow the lawn weekly during the spring, summer, and fall. Mow as necessary during the winter. Spot seed or patch brown spots with sod.
• Plant flowers and shrubs that add color and brighten your lawn and landscaping.
• Use redwood compost, decorative bark, etc. as dressing around the base of plants, shrubs and trees.
• Keep tools, garbage cans, hoses, toys, and other items stored neatly in the garage or shed when not in use.
• Repair any cracks/corrosion present in gutters and touch up with matching paint.
• Check for broken or cracked shingles or roofing tiles. A pre-emptive roof inspection with repairs can save a lot of headaches later.
• Check for worn, corroded, or rusted flashing around vents and chimneys. Spot clean and use protective paint on all areas to match.
• Watch for worn or missing tape around pipe vents on roof. Reseal with Cal-Pico tape as necessary.
• Clear patios and decks of barbeques, charcoal, utensils, etc.
• Check for rotted boards and posts in decking and fencing. Add support for weak fence posts by adding ‘sister posts’ or consider replacing posts.
• Use outdoor stain, sealants, and protectants to brighten up bleached decking and fence.
• Power wash the exterior.
• Add low voltage outdoor lighting in the front and backyard to enhance landscaping and prevent accidents on dark walkways.
• Increase the wattage of bulbs in light fixtures to the maximum that is safe.
• Keep entryway flooring spotless and have a mat outside for wiping feet.
• Vacuum often.
• Keep all windows and sills clean. Use razor blades to remove paint, decals, etc.
• Keep all woodwork spotless. Use ‘Liquid Gold’ or a similar wood restorative to make cabinets and trim look new.
• Dust regularly and watch for cobwebs in corners and on light fixtures.
• Paint any room that needs more than a little touch up. If you aren’t sure, take down a picture from the wall and look at the room again.
• Preferable colors of interior paint are: antique white, bone, frost. Stay away from pure white or eggshell as well as darker colors.
• Replace worn or dated furniture and keep traffic areas clear. Too much furniture will visually reduce the size of the room. Too many pictures on the wall will do the same.
• Keep bookshelves neat and organized. Try to eliminate clutter. Don’t’ hesitate to box up excess magazines, videotapes, CD’s, albums, personal collections, etc.
• Visit model homes, designer showcases, and furniture showrooms for more ideas.
• Remove old curtains and drapes.
• Display fresh flowers from the garden, florist, or supermarket in several rooms. Avoid strong potpourri and other air fresheners.
• Professionally clean all appliances, counters, backsplashes, cabinets, and floors.
• Replace broken, worn or outdated knobs and hinges on cabinets.
• Make sure all cabinets close properly and all drawers operate smoothly.
• Replace or reface if practical; stovetops, ovens, fan hoods, and other appliances that are avocado, pink, blue, yellow, or brown.
• Keep counters clean and clear. Anything not used daily in the kitchen should be stored out of sight. The more space you have available on the counter, the larger and more inviting the kitchen appears.
• If linoleum is cut, pitted, worn, or a loud and a busy pattern; replace it with a neutral and subtle-patterned sheet.
• Consider upgrading linoleum.
• Always keep counters clear. Put away bath toys, shampoo bottles, etc. Keep daily toiletries in a basket that can be stored underneath the sink or in a cabinet.
• Strip out and replace old grouting and caulking at the slightest hint of discoloration.
• Make sure faucets don’t leak and replace any fixtures that have lost their finish.
• Strip old wallpaper and paint.
• Keep bathrooms spotless and smelling fresh.
• Consider replacing old shower enclosures, curtains, etc.
• Keep curtains open to let in more light.
• Keep extra furniture to a minimum.
• Limit pictures, paintings, photographs, and wall hangings.
• Put toys and extra clothing in boxes and store in garage.
• Keep as many items as possible neatly stored in rafters, cabinets, or boxes.
• Try to make the garage – one, two, or three car – appear to accommodate that many vehicles, even if it’s full of stored items and boxes.
• Remove unwanted or seldom used items often through garage sales and donations.
• Keep fireplaces clean. Replace old grates and screens that are worn or unattractive.
• Make sure window screens and vent screens are in good repair. If screens are not necessary for certain windows, remove and store them in the garage.
• Make sure doorknobs aren’t loose and all doors latch properly.
• Replace yellowed, worn, cracked, broken, or missing faceplates for switches and outlets.
• Patch and paint settlement cracks on a regular basis.
• Pets must be kept out of the way as much as possible. Even iguanas, parakeets, and aquariums distract a buyer from focusing on the house. Also keep in mind that many buyers may have allergies to your pets. Try to keep the property as hypoallergenic as possible (i.e. remove excess cat hair, dog hair regularly, visible cat boxes and pet bedding, should be placed discretely during the sale, etc.)