So, you feel like you’re mentally ready to list your home—but is your home ready to be listed? Before you start taking photos and opening your doors to buyers, you’ll want to make sure the interior and exterior is as sell-worthy as possible. By now you’ve probably already established your asking price and factored in any major renovations. When it comes to sprucing up your home to sell, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars. Simple home improvements can transform a room and look expensive (even if they’re not). With thoughtful planning and elbow grease, you’ll be on your way to listing and selling.
Purge, deep clean and tidy up
First, the obvious stuff: Start by throwing out or donating unwanted items, both big and small. Less furniture and knick-knacks can open up a space and make it feel bigger. If you really can’t part with items, rent a storage unit and keep them out of sight until you’re ready to move.
Deep clean the entire house, spending extra time on the bathrooms and kitchen. Organize pantries, closets and storage areas. Remember, potential buyers aren’t just visitors dropping by. They’re going to open up doors and cabinets, as well as peek at that backroom in the basement. The more storage space they can see, the more storage space it will feel like. Bonus: Getting rid of clutter now will make it easier when it’s time to pack up and move out.
Make a good first impression
Consider the outside of your house as your “first impression” to potential buyers. There’s no denying humans are prone to making snap judgments based on first impressions, so make sure every outside feature is presentable, from a clutter-free walkway to a newly painted front door. Trimming bushes, planting flowers, adding outdoor lighting and even getting a pretty new doormat can add to your home’s curb appeal. Changes like these will make for a warm, welcoming first impression, and your interested buyers will be excited to see what’s inside.
Small fixes make a big difference
When renovating your house, it’s not always certain how much money you’ll earn back from a massive renovation, but small renovations always pay off. Now’s the time to make all those repairs you’ve been putting off. When a buyer is walking through your home, it’s easy to hear a leaky faucet or spot a torn window screen. By fixing small repairs like these, you’ll put the buyer at ease and give the sense that your house is in great condition. A home inspector will eventually look at every inch of your home, so it’s best to take care of these issues now, particularly any safety or structural problems you know about. This will make the overall buyer-seller process smoother in the long run.
Other simple repairs to consider:
- Repair running toilets
- Re-caulk tubs and showers
- Replace light bulbs
- Upgrade a ceiling fan or light fixtures
- Touch up molding and wall paint
- Fill cracks in the wall
- Fix broken windows
- Upgrade your outside house numbers
- Repaint shutters
- Fix fences
- Clean gutters
- Weed gardens and rake leaves
- Fix squeaky doors and cabinets
- Replace the hardware on doors and cabinets
- Pressure wash driveways, decks and sides of house
Think before making any last-minute big overhauls. If you’re crunched for time and money, consider affordable renovations like adding modern bathroom fixtures instead of remodeling the entire bathroom. Even adding just one stainless steel appliance, like a dishwasher, to your kitchen will make the room feel more updated.
Put your personal taste aside
All types of people are going to be coming through your home, each one with different decorating tastes and strong opinions. To appeal to a wide range of buyers, you’ll want to err on the side of design caution. Some buyers have trouble seeing past a bright pink wall (or at the very least, get distracted by it). Paint walls in neutral colors like whites, beiges and grays. A fresh coat of paint can really transform a room. Personal souvenirs and loud items, like animal print rugs, are best stored away, whereas tasteful artwork and mirrors can liven up and enlarge a space.
Use your sense of smell
You may have grown accustomed to pet smells, smoke or mild mildew, but your buyers will definitely be deterred (especially if they’re allergic). Don’t simply mask smells with an artificial room spray; get to the root of the smell and eliminate it by cleaning carpets, installing air purifiers and scrubbing away mildew. If the problem is extreme, like mold in your HVAC system, get a professional to clean it. Before an open house, fill your home with pleasant natural smells, like vanilla or citrus, or even bake a batch of cookies.
Stage your home sweet home
When it comes down to it, buyers want to walk into a home that feels, well, homey. Staging yours will help with both photos and walk-throughs, and it’s been proven that staged homes sell faster and for more money.* There are simple things you can do yourself: Putting out flowers, a bowl of fruit and crisp white towels in the bathroom can add hints of freshness. Candles, luxurious linens and a set table are a few ways to add coziness. You want your buyers to imagine themselves and their family living there, and your buyers want to imagine a better life than the clutter they have back at home. Once your home is sparkling and staged, be sure to take photos during the day when there is the most natural light. By getting rid of clutter, making small repairs and adding simple design elements, you’ll turn your house into a home, and you’ll be ready to list and sell it with confidence.