Want to sell your home for more money? Most often, a home properly prepared, will sell faster and for more money. Most people read “properly prepared” and think “this is going to cost me a lot” – but it doesn't have to.
Start With the Exterior
First impressions count. That's why your yard needs to be inviting. Trim back the bushes and trees, especially if they block views from the windows or make your home difficult to see from the street.
- Keep the lawn mowed, preferably on the diagonal.
- Plant colorful flowers along the walk or by the front door.
- Wash the exterior windows.
- Paint or replace the front door and buy new hardware, if yours is worn
- Power spray the house to get rid of dirt and cobwebs.
- Buy a new welcome mat for the front steps.
- Paint or replace the mailbox.
- Ensure your house numbers look clean and in good condition
- Wash or replace a front porch light fixture.
Remove Excess Clutter and Furniture
Many homes contain too much furniture. You may benefit from removing 2 to 3 pieces of furniture from each room. Less furniture will make the rooms appear bigger. You can pay about $100 a month to place the furniture into storage Remove personal photographs from tables and walls. A few personal photo’s are OK, the idea here is that you want the potential buyer to see themselves in the house…not you. Patch holes in the walls or hang non-personalized artwork over the existing nails.
- Pack up your bookcases (you're going to move anyway).
- Clean out the closets and store non-essential items.
- Rearrange your kitchen pantry, kitchen cabinets and bedroom closets in an orderly manner.
I know, I know, nobody really lives that way – but it sends a message to the Buyers that the home is really well cared for.
Thoroughly Clean the House Before Selling
You can hire a professional cleaning crew or do it yourself – just make sure your place is spotless – top to bottom. You would be surprised the positive comments I get from buyers when the furnace room and storage areas are clean and tidy!
- Rent a carpet steamer and clean the carpets. You may find they do not need to be replaced.
- Dust the tops of your doorways and window frames.
- Polish all wood / ceramic flooring.
- Wash all light fixture coverings and ceiling fan blades.
Updating the Kitchen on a Budget
Kitchens are the most important room in the house. It's the heart and soul of the home. Even if a buyer is not much of a cook, the kitchen is still where family and friends tend to gather.
- How worn are your countertops? Consider replacing if necessary.
- For wood cabinets, stripping the finish and re-staining or painting will save you more money than re-surfacing the cabinets.
- Buy new knobs and / or pulls for the cabinet doors. If you have 40 or so knobs on your kitchen cabinets at a cost of about $5 per knob, your total outlay for new hardware will be about $200. New hardware can transform the appearance of your cabinets.
- Replace a worn kitchen faucet for about $100 to $200.
- Buy new kitchen sink basket strainers for less than $25 each.
- Consider installing kitchen pendant lights over the sink.
Painting the Interior
This is not the time to get creative. If your walls are tired and worn, or paint colors are crazy, consider new paint. Probably the highest ROI you can make just prior to selling.
- Choose a soft neutral color and paint every room the same color.
- The ceilings really pop if they are a lighter color than the color of the walls. Lighter colors also make the ceilings appear higher. Do yours need painting?
Freshening Bathrooms on a Budget
- If you have wallpaper in the bathroom, it should be removed. You can rent a steamer to remove the wallpaper or strip it yourself.
- Consider replacing the toilet and sink / vanity, especially if they are stained or particularly outdated.
- Is your bathroom bright? If not buy a two-light wall fixture or a light bar for over the sink.
- If the tub is stained, hire a professional to refinish it, much more cost effective than replacing.
- Replace water-stained shower doors or clean them with a lime dissolving detergent.
- Buy a new shower curtain and tie it back with ribbons.
- Hang fresh towels and lay down a new bath rug.
- Store away all personal items – keep the counters clear.
- Just be careful, by the time you get all of this done, you may like your house so much you decide not to sell it!