The Six C's of Merchandising...

How to Get Your Home Market Ready

Curb Appeal

  • How does your property look from the street?
  • Note: If potential buyers do not like the looks of the house from the curb, they become disappointed and often times will not go in the house.


  • Eliminate it everywhere (yards, garage, basement, every room, closets, etc.)

Character and Charm

  • What makes your home special?
  • For example: little touches of decorating like flower arrangement in a room, a fire in the fireplace, freshly baked goodies can all contribute to a special feeling


  • Everywhere and everything. People value cleanliness...both in what they see and smell.

Critique Your Home Objectively

  • How does your home compare to others in the area?
  • What are your property's strengths and potential weaknesses?

Cost vs. Value

  • Spend money in the right places and on the right items to get your home "market ready"

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The top Exterior Items that Make Your Home Look Best

  • Keep your lawn cut, edged and watered. Trim trees and shrubs, removing all dead limbs and debris.
  • Add color to your yard and front porch with flower and/or hanging plants.
  • Arrange outdoor furniture and firewood neatly. Put away lawn equipment, bikes and other toys.
  • Repair any broken areas of your fence, deck, patio, etc. Make sure those areas are clean and in good shape.
  • If needed, repaint or replace the mailbox.
  • Check the condition of exterior items like siding, window sashes, trim and shutters, etc. Clean those areas and/or paint as needed.
  • Give special attention to the front door area, paint or repair as needed. Make sure entry light and doorbell work.
  • Make sure your gutters are clean of debris. Wash or paint as needed. Realign the gutters if they look crooked.
  • Check the roof for shingles or flashing that needs to be repaired or replaced. Is your chimney in good shape? Repair or replace as needed.
  • Replace/Repair broken windows, doors, locks, screens, and/or broken thermal seals. Make sure each looks clean and in good condition.
  • Wash driveways and sidewalks. Patch holes, try to remove any stains, and/or have driveway sealed.
  • Touch up the "little things" numbers, doorbell, etc.

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The Eight Interior Items that Buyers REALLY notice


  • Lighting- Buyers take special notice of light and bright homes. Buy high intensity bulbs and be sure to clean all lighting fixtures.
  • Clean- Buyers notice especially clean homes. Do a "spring cleaning" throughout no matter what time of year it is. Give special attention to the following: windows and screens, the front door, mirrors, all appliances, sinks, toilets, and tub/shower areas.
  • Windows- Buyers notice clean windows, freshly laundered drapes and curtains, clean light fixtures and cold air returns.
  • Flooring- Buyers notice freshly cleaned carpets and waxed floors. Replace or repair any damaged areas of the floor or floor covering. Consider replacing the flooring if it is worn.
  • Space- Buyers notice spacious rooms. Arrange furniture and decorations to improve each room. Remove unnecessary items that do not fit in.
  • Color- Buyers notice color that will blend with their decor and furnishings. Consider brightening things up with a fresh coat of paint. Think neutral, white, off white or beige. These colors make a room look bigger and brighter and these colors will likely blend with buyer's furnishings.
  • Closets, Cabinet and Countertop Space- Buyers notice closet, cabinet and counter space. Organize everything in your closets, cabinets and other storage areas, including basement and garage. Clear off counters in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Details- Buyers pay attention to the tiny details. Fix all of the "little things"...loose doorknobs or cabinet pulls, leaky faucets, towel racks, clean and repair caulk around tubs/showers and sinks.

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Preparing Your Home For Sale

General Exterior Items

  • Review and complete top ten exterior items that make your home look its best.

Basement, Attic, Garage

  • Dispose of everything you are not going to move.
  • Pack all items you will not need until after the move and arrange neatly, so the exterior walls can be inspected.
  • Basement and attic stairways should be well lit and free from clutter.
  • Increase bulb wattage in stairways, basements, attic, and/or garage.
  • Basement and attic stairways handrails must be secure
  • If basement is dark and gloomy, consider painting walls and/or ceilings.
  • Sweep garage and basement floors and/or remove any stains and dirt.
  • Organize tools and garden equipment.
  • Wipe off any dust or dirt from furnace and water heater.
  • Remove any insects and rodents or any signs of them.

General Interior Items

  • Entry area should be spotless
  • Entry closet should appear roomy. Remove out of season items and add extra hangers.
  • Eliminate cooking, smoking and pet odors.
  • If there are smoking odors, have furniture, drapes and carpets cleaned.
  • Arrange the furniture and discard unused items.
  • Are there any cracks or holes in your walls and are there any water stains, cracks or peeling on the ceiling? If yes, you need to repair and paint.
  • If there are pet stains, carpet and padding may need replacement.
  • If planning to paint or replace carpet, stick to the neutral colors.
  • Wash all windows.
  • Window screens should be in good condition and free from holes.
  • Make sure all lighting fixtures and ceiling fans have working light bulbs. They should be cleaned.
  • Increase the bulb wattage in the basement and in dark rooms.
  • Clean all carpets or replace if carpet is worn and dated. Especially if there are pet and/or smoke odors.
  • Clean all wood floors, tile floors, and vinyl flooring.
  • Get rid of cluttered closets.
  • Consider moving larger pieces of furniture into storage.
  • If the season is appropriate, open windows and let the fresh air into the home.
  • Look up and around in each room for spider webs or dirt.
  • Have your fireplace cleaned and make repairs if necessary.
  • Make sure all doors are in good condition.
  • Make sure all windows are in good condition and work, windowsills are clean, and window treatments are working properly. Make any necessary repairs.


  • Clean and organize storage space.
  • Avoid clutter and store small appliances.
  • Clean ventilating hood and exhaust fan.
  • The sink, cabinets, appliances and counter tops should be clean and fresh.
  • Wash and organize cabinets.
  • Polish the chrome on the sink and clean the tile grout.
  • Make any repairs to the appliances that are not in good working order.


  • Check all faucets. Repair or replace any faulty faucets.
  • All surfaces should be spotless. Clear off vanity counter tops.
  • Replace worn shower curtains.
  • Remove and neatly store all personal care items from sight.
  • Remove all prescriptions from sight.
  • Clean and organize drawers, linen closet and medicine cabinet.
  • Clean and repair caulking and/or grout.
  • Polish sinks, fixtures, toilet and shower/tub.
  • Clean the shower doors.
  • Make sure sinks and shower/tubs drain properly.
  • Tighten all toilets.

Living Areas

  • Have walls, ceilings, light fixtures and ceiling fans in top shape.
  • Repair any damages that may have caused ceiling or wall stains and repair and paint the damages.
  • If repainting, stick with neutral colors.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs.
  • Be sure all lighting fixtures and switches are in good working order.
  • Clean and/or wash all floors.
  • Remove stains from flooring.
  • Clean and organize closet and cabinet space.
  • Sweep and clean fireplace.
  • Make sure all windows and doors are free from defects and broken thermal seals. Repair or replace as needed.

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Showing Your Home

Guidelines to Follow Before Buyers and Real Estate Agents Visit Your Home

  • Leave the property 10 to 15 minutes early and return after the agents and buyers have left. You want the agent and the buyers to feel relaxed and to take their time when looking at your home. If you happen to be at the home during a showing, try to remain in an area of the home that is not actually being shown by the agent. Do now allow buyers into your property without a real estate agent.
  • If at all possible, keep pets outdoors and/or caged/chained when the home is being shown. It would be best if you could the pets with you during any showings.
  • Put money and other valuables in a safe place.
  • Remember, delightful aromas add ambiances to your home. Try using potpourri or air fresheners.
  • Before leaving your home for a showing, do a quick check. Make sure rooms are neat, no dirty dishes in the sink or on the countertops, all toys are in an organized fashion, bikes, wagons, and skateboards are out of the way etc.
  • When evening showings occur, have your home well lit. Be sure to turn on outside lights, both in the front and back of your home.
  • Open all of the drapes and shades, turn on the lights, and play soft music. Remember, you are trying to make the buyer FEEL at HOME!

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Open House

Sixteen Steps to get Ready for Your Open House

  • The front and back yards should be freshly cut, trimmed and all debris cleared.
  • Remove any unnecessary items from the front of the home.
  • Remove any dirt or mud from sidewalk and driveway.
  • The front door should be open and welcoming.
  • A colorful container of fresh flowers would be a wise investment for the front entry area.
  • If snow exists, be sure to clear the walkway from the parking area to the front door.
  • In colder months, a fire in the fireplace will create ambiance.
  • Take extra time to be sure kitchen and bathrooms are spotless.
  • Be sure all lights work in your home including closets, basement, garage and attic.
  • Turn on all drapes and curtains.
  • Turn on lights in closets.
  • Organize your closets and have some opened.
  • Doors and windows should be easy to operate.
  • Remove valuables from sight.
  • Turn on soft music on the same radio station in each room.
  • It is very important to leave during the hours of the open house.

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