In the changing market, it is more important than ever to focus on presentation. We have always felt presentation is key to sell for top dollar – even in a strong sellers market. Now, there is no question that you need to put in some time and money to make your home shine before listing it.The longer your home sits on the market the more homebuyers will negotiate. Here are a few easy home improvements you can do that will make your house more appealing to potential home buyers and help sell your home fast. These are in no particular order since every home is different!
1. Paint Your House
This cannot be emphasized enough, but painting the inside of your home with a fresh neutral color that is consistent throughout the home is a must. It is the best bang for your buck to refresh your home. For example, your kids’ rooms may have very unique colors that they had insisted upon at one time, but not every potential buyer is going to enjoy that purple room as much as your kid does. You’ll want to put a fresh coat of paint on those walls so anyone touring your home can envision themselves living in your space.
Everything you’re doing to prep your home for sale is making your home look its very best and allowing potential homebuyers to envision themselves in every room of your house. Your kid’s room might be their office, so you do not want rooms to serve one purpose. It becomes hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in a home with bold colors that do not reflect their taste or dictate what a room should be. Neutral does not mean boring, it just means unobjectionable. It will also help staging furniture look its best to highlight the spaces in the home.
Alternatively, painting the exterior of your home may be the best solution to getting your home sold faster. If your home’s color has faded, the paint is chipping, or you have an ‘eclectic’ color; you may want to consider getting your home painted a more contemporary color.
2. Upgrade Your Mailbox or Mail Slot
(if you have one)
You never have a second chance to make a first impression. Your mailbox is likely one of the first things a buyer will see, whether it’s at the end of your driveway or next to your front door. This quick fix is inexpensive, fast, and something most people can do on their own.
Or, you could upgrade to a mailbox that allows USPS to deliver large packages to your mailbox instead of your front door. And we all know packages that are apparently visible to any passerby have a better chance of not being taken.
3. Enhance Your Curb Appeal
Landscaping is not optional! Make sure your lawn is freshly trimmed, all dead debris is picked up, and fresh mulch is placed around your shrubs, trees, and plants. If you don’t have trees and plants, buy some. If your lawn is looking in pretty bad shape, you may want to consider laying fresh sod to heighten your curb appeal immediately and leave a lasting impression on homebuyers.
If you don’t already have decorative plants bringing color to your front driveway and entrance, a few well-positioned potted plants are inexpensive and inviting for buyers (online and in person).
4. Clean, Declutter, and Stage Your Home
Nothing turns potential homebuyers away faster than an unkept and cluttered home. Decluttering and/or staging your home is a must if you want to make your home look its best.
Empty or reduce capacity in your closets and cabinets. Take unnecessary or oversized furniture to a storage unit. If your stuff is in the way, that makes it much harder for buyers to see themselves in your space.
A deep cleaning is a must before any open house or home tour takes place. If you have a cat or dog (or both), you probably don’t smell them anymore. However, people that don’t have pets are acutely aware of homes that do, simply because it’s a scent they’re not used to. Wash all linens, clean old carpets (particularly in the basement), and fresh paint will mask the rest.
5. Fence in Your Backyard and Refinish or Powerwash Your Deck
Some improvements are not specifically to increase value or make money on the improvement. A number of smart projects are intended to make the home more appealing to more buyers simply to spend less time on the market. This is one of them. You will likely get a 67-75% rate of return on these projects, but you remove objections from buyers. Most buyers buying a single family home want a fenced in yard for privacy, kids, and/or pets.
6. Fix Your Light Switches and Update Your Fixtures
Was your dining chandelier installed more than 10-15 years ago? If so, it likely needs an update. Replace any light fixtures in your home that indicate a place in time (other than today). Tastes change and lighting is a constant source of feedback.
People touring your home will play with your faucets, open your drawers, test ALL your light switches, and check your water pressure in showers. If your primary shower offers a trickle of water, this is best addressed before you list your home since it could indicate a problem with the plumbing. If you have a light switch that doesn’t work (or an electrical outlet), now is the time to get it fixed. Light switches that do not work signify to homebuyers that your house may have electrical issues. It may be something much more simple, but at that point, you may have already lost that potential offer.
Be sure to replace all your burnt out light bulbs to make sure every room in your house is bright and inviting. Furthermore, all your interior lights should be the same color temperature for consistent lighting throughout your house. Natural daylight bulbs can be jarring and unappealing. Updating your light fixtures, ceiling fans, and even your hardware on doors and cabinets is an easy and cost-effective way of increasing the perceived value of your home.
7. Get a New Front Door or Update It
Front doors and door hardware see a lot of wear and tear. If the door is damaged or in poor condition – replace it. If it just has some chipping paint or looks dated, repaint it and update the hardware.
8. Update Your Kitchen Appliances for a Fresh Look
Stainless steel appliances are always a great way to go. There are affordable options and new appliances appeal to first-time homebuyers. If you have any other type of appliance, it might be a good idea to replace them. If you already do, there is a good chance your appliances probably need to be updated or repaired anyway. Typically, larger appliances like fridges and stoves should be replaced every 10 years, while smaller appliances it’s recommended to be replaced every 5 years.
9. Paint Your Cabinets
It’s possible that you already have beautiful cabinets but many homes have older, beat up cabinets in wood finishes (particularly dark finishes) that buyers find unappealing. We are not suggesting every kitchen needs white cabinets, but old cherry cabinets with inexpensive hardware take us back to an era of home building that no one looks for today. A quick coat of paint and new hardware can give your kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanity enough of an update to avoid a full renovation.