If you own or administrate a home that you would like to sell by auction, then you should understand the best way to prepare the property in order to draw top bids. Below are several ways you can prepare the home to increase its appeal to would-be bidders and obtain maximum value for the property:
Paint the interior
A fresh coat of paint does wonders for a neglected home. It increases the feeling of cleanliness, and it also adds a distinctive, fresh smell that helps project to possible buyers that you care about the property. Be sure to choose a light, neutral color; darker colors make the spaces appear smaller and lessen the airy feel you want to portray. In addition, don't feel obligated to re-paint all the spaces; choose strategic locations such as great rooms, kitchens and bathrooms for the most impact.
Remove weeds and troublesome landscape features
A weed-infested yard or flowerbed is an immediate turn-off to many buyers before they even set foot in the home. Removing weeds is a low-cost preparatory step to take, though it can be time-consuming if the problem is extensive. In some cases, it is most-efficient to simply clear away all existing shrubbery if it is tangled with weeds. A bare area will not deter bidders from pursuing a home they like, unlike a disastrously overgrown landscape.
If you wish to spice up the landscape, choose annual, brightly-colored, flowering plants to place in cleared-out beds in the days leading up to the auction. They cost little, provide a nice splash of color and aren't going to require any maintenance for a short period of time.
Power wash the exterior
As with the interior, a dirty exterior can also be a negative for some prospective buyers, and it may even lower the bid amounts. However, unlike painting the interior, an exterior paint job will likely cost far too much in dollars and time to make it worthwhile, except for perhaps a few small "touch up" areas.
Instead, consider renting a power washer from a local equipment rental agency. Spray the most visible areas of the home's exterior: driveway, sidewalk, front side and areas that are easily seen from the street. In addition, if the property contains a wooden fence, you can revitalize the wood by removing the gray, weathered layer with the washer. Just be sure, when using the washer, not to spray underneath siding or into other crevices where the water stream can cause damage.
Remove garbage and other debris
Most people know it is important to remove obvious trash that might be lying around the property, but it is also a good idea to dispose of other distracting items. Old cars, wood piles, sand or dirt hills and anything else that doesn't belong in the yard should be removed prior to the auction. These items also shelter pest insects and animals, which are another negative if present during the auction or preview period.
Lighten the interior
As mentioned, painting brightens the inside of a home, but you will also want to take other steps to bring light inside. Remove all drapes, and consider throwing out mini-blinds, especially if they are dirty or have broken slats. It is to your advantage to open the house to as much exterior light as possible, even if that means taking away all window coverings; remember, selling a home requires a different type of preparation than readying it for occupation.
Remove and neutralize odors
A musty smell may be overlooked, but prospective buyers will have a hard time getting past an offensive odor. If the home contains carpeting that retains the smell of pet wastes, for example, then you will want to get rid of the odor before proceeding with an auction. The use of ozone generators can help remove stubborn smells, but be sure to get rid of odor sources first; otherwise, the smell will return shortly. Keep in mind that some sources of odors are difficult to find, so be prepared to search in crawlspaces or attics for animal carcasses, as an example.