Presenting your property at its very best can make a huge difference in the response of prospective buyers. Obviously remodel and expensive decoration will increase the value of the house, but there are other inexpensive, simple things that can put a little polish on what is already there.
First impressions are the most important part of any sales strategy. If a buyer drives up to the property and is unimpressed from the beginning, it will take a lot to change their minds. Where as, if they approach the house with a good first impression, they are more likely to be pleasantly surprised rather than critically analyzing everything they see. The outside of the house functions as more than a protection from the elements, it embodies the sense of the house itself.
The lawn should be well mowed and edged, the shrubs neatly trimmed, and the windows clean. You would be surprised how much clean windows can brighten a place. Flowers or other nice plants can really improve the lawn appeal as well. Even if they are a meager effort, it makes the property appear that someone has cared for it. Fifteen to twenty days before putting the house for sale, fertilize and water the lawn and plants well so that they have a chance to revive if they are looking weak. Obviously all junk or construction materials need to be cleaned up and hauled away before showing the house, and any oil spots or stains on the driveway should be cleaned. A swimming pool is a huge asset to a house, so why not let it really make a difference by making sure it is very clean and the water looks nice.
Cleaning the exterior can help make the house look much better if you cannot afford a new paint job. Hose the exterior off from top to bottom and then maybe repaint the trim to really make a difference. The porch area should be cleaned up and repainted if possible, and the door should open and shut easily.
Once you have made it past the front door with the potential buyer, the interior should be completely clean and spotless. A fresh coat of paint on the walls, new paint on the door trim, oiled door hinges, and replaced light bulbs are a good start and will really serve to brighten up the place. It is completely worth it to spend at least $100 on someone doing a very thorough cleaning and also paying for a good carpet steaming. The bathroom needs to shine. All dirt build up, mildew, or anything else should be cleaned from the floors, walls, and tub surround. People love clean bathrooms, and it doesn't take much more than a little elbow grease to make it clean. Remember that most buyers are affected most by the kitchen, bathrooms and closets. Focus on making these rooms as amazing as possible, and the others will not matter so much.
By using a few of these ideas, you can really impact the sale value of your house without getting into a huge remodel project that might gamble away your money on the market. By just making it clean and neat, buyers will be much more responsive.