Michael Citrenbaum


Getting ready to sell your house


Lighten the load:

You are moving soon, you hope, so now is the time to clear out the junk. I’ve had more than a few clients get a dumpster in their driveway and fill it as part of the moving process.

Other clothes that you don’t like anymore or have outgrown can be donated in many places.  Purple Heart will come to your house, Salvation Army and Green Drop you can deliver to. Old but good toys can be donated to shelters, and neighborhood groups. It can be hard to find a place to give good used toys to. I go to a place at 63rd and West Chester Pike on the edge of Upper Darby and West Philly. They are glad to get them.

So now that you have cleared away the old clothes, non-seasonal clothes, old toys, new toys and so on, you are more than halfway there!

Clean around the front door, outside. A lot of people don’t use the front door every day but buyers will. Clean up the cobwebs, cracked and peeling paint, remove the dirt; even paint the door if it needs it.

How to prepare for an open house at your house

Sweep and clean all the floors and vacuum the carpets. Put down stuff on the carpet that smells nice when you vac it up especially if you have pets. No one likes wet dog smell. Check the walls and ceilings for cobwebs, too. It helps to wash the windows; start with the large ones like screen door windows and sliders.

Clean the litter box; if you have unusual pets that may scare or startle potential buyers, consider covering their aquarium so they are not easily seen.

Doing the dishes should be a no brainer but also clear the counter tops. Put away the drain board, the soap dispenser and the sink sponge. Make it look like you don’t live there. Clean the oven and stove top.

If the top of the stove looks beat up, consider replacing some of the parts so it looks better. Set the kitchen or dining room table for dinner. Dress it up nicely.

 Make the house smell nice; candles, potpourri, cookies baking. I had a client once that would use a ;counter top bread maker and start it up before an open house; it made the house smell great but made me hungry!

Now that the house is empty of the extra or currently unneeded possessions, cleaned and perfumed you are ready for the details.

For showings and open houses, the temperature should be comfortable for the season. Heat it up or cool it down. You want people to spend time in the house and those people want to be comfortable. Turn on the lights, make sure the light bulbs are bright. Turn on closet lights too. Invite the natural light in. Curtains and blinds should be open unless the view out of the window is better not seen. Put a rug at the front door so people can wipe their feet when they come in.

Medications: put them in hiding. Do not leave your medications in the medicine cabinet or on top of the dresser. Don’t leave money or jewelry laying around. If your drawers are opened be sure nothing can be seen easily that could be stolen. 

Realize that lookers will open doors and cabinets and will walk into rooms.

After the open house is over, check the doors and windows the be sure everything you want locked is locked. Lookers will open doors and windows. Your Realtor should do that at the end of the open house but always check to be sure.

Your Realtor should be walking around the house when people are there, but they can’t be everywhere so help out by putting things out of sight.

Now you are ready to have your house give a great first impression!

Making other physical changes to the house like painting, or new carpets should be determined on a case by case basis. Houses after all are individuals; every one is different.