When you’re thinking about selling your home, the current condition is an indicator of how well it’s been taken care of. With your house, there are several things you can do that fit within most any budget that will put your home in the best light possible and get the price you’re looking for. Here are some things you can do on your own that will command top dollar.
Declutter- It’s time to clear those shelves and stands. You want your home to appear larger than it is with a clean, airy feeling and getting rid of, or at least storing, all those gadgets, knick-knacks and other things you’ve collected over the years. When buyers walk into your home they’ll see more space and less of your trip to the beach last summer.
Personal Items- Depersonalize the interior of your home. This means taking down and storing away all those pictures posted on your refrigerator. In fact, you’ll want to go through every room and remove and store any pictures of you, your family and friends. Buyers want to imagine living there and seeing someone else’s pics makes that envisioning process a bit more difficult.
Clean It- You can do this on your own but maybe you should think about hiring a professional cleaning crew. From ceiling to floor, clean, clean, clean. Get rid of cobwebs, steam clean carpets and shine those wooden floors. Make your kitchen sparkle and provide lots of lighting. You don’t have to install new lighting fixtures, but you can up the wattage on the bulbs you use. The brighter, cleaner the better.
Inventory Your Furniture- As we collect furniture and accessories over the years at some point a room simply feels too crowded. You want open spaces, not intimate ones. If your living room, for example, has a sofa, two accompanying chairs, and a coffee table. Store the chairs and table in a storage unit. You’ll be surprised how open the space suddenly feels. In the dining, reduce the numbers of chairs around the kitchen table.
Sparkly Windows- We mentioned how important it is for a clean house, but if you have screens on the windows, remove them and have your windows professionally cleaned. Don’t replace the screens but store them. That allows more light inside the home and freshly cleaned windows look great.
Paint- You can do this on your own or you can hire a professional painter, but one of the biggest bangs for your bucks is freshly painted walls. Stick to neutral colors and if one of your favorite rooms in the house is the den with its deep, rich red walls, not everyone is a big red fan. Stick to tan or beige or some similar color.
Odors- Be careful what you cook. If you’re thinking about frying up some bacon and eggs for breakfast, that smell will linger. Check for any other odors as well. Note that our sense of smell fades fast the longer our noses are at work, so what you think might be a clean smell simply may mean you’re used to it already. Some real estate agents suggest baking bread in the oven for a welcoming fragrance. Or, if you’ve never been much of a baker, there are scented candles that give off the same fragrance. And speaking of candles, those too can offend some if the odor is irritating. Flowery, fragrant odors are to be avoided.
Outside- And speaking of cleaning, consider power-washing the exterior of your home. If it’s been a while since your exterior has been painted, consider it. At a minimum, freshen up the trim with new paint. Then take that power washer and hit the sidewalks, porch and driveway. In the backyard, do the same with the deck and outdoor entertaining areas.
Landscaping- You want a nice, clean and manicured lawn. Keep the shrubs trimmed and lawn mowed and watered regularly to keep that lush, green appearance. Some color is also an attraction so think about planting new, colorful plants. Be careful, though, as too much landscaping may not look so attractive as it looks like more work for prospective buyers.
These suggestions are both the easiest and most cost-effective “improvements” you can make to your home when preparing to sell. If you want to take it a step further and hire a professional stager who will stage your home for a showing, that’s a fine choice also. Just remember that the things they’ll suggest are many of the same things you read here today.