If you are preparing to sell your home, you probably have a never-ending to-do list. The extra work in preparing your home may be well worth the effort in terms of the final selling price. The amount of work and money you should put into readying and possibly upgrading your home may be out of your control. It will likely depend on the state of the housing market and the homes in your area.
When Preparing to Sell Your Home, Remember First Impressions Matter.
Start on the outside of your home. Make sure your home’s landscaping and overall exterior are clean and well maintained. An unkempt exterior gives the impression that a home’s interior will look the same way. Your home should have enough curb appeal to lure potential buyers into scheduling a viewing of the interior. If you can afford it, experts recommend investing 10% of the value of your home in landscaping. Many experts believe that you can get around a 150% return on investment if your landscaping dollars are used effectively.
If you can’t afford to invest 10% of your home value, there are smaller, less expensive ways to improve your landscaping. Spruce up the outside of your home by trimming back overgrown bushes and plants and keeping the lawn mowed and weed-free.
Also, consider adding pops of color in your landscape with plants and flowers either in your garden or in planters. When choosing colors, do not go overboard with too many of them. Select colors that complement the color scheme of your home’s exterior.
When addressing your home’s exterior structure, start from the top. Rooves can accumulate dirt, moss, or algae. When they don’t look their best, potential buyers may begin to question the age and condition of the roof. They may also wonder if the cosmetically poor condition of the roof is an indication of more problematic issues.
If you are looking to save money and put in some sweat equity, you can find comprehensive instructions here. Remember, don’t use a power washer to clean your roof as doing so can damage your shingles. Also, keep in mind that getting up on your roof can be dangerous for the inexperienced. Therefore, if possible, it’s recommended you hire a professional to get the job done.
Once your roof cleaning is complete, tackle the siding on your home. Is the siding on your home looking dull and dingy? Power washing your exterior can get the dirt, grime, and mold/mildew off to reveal the brighter siding underneath. A thorough cleaning of your siding can subtract years from the perceived age of your home.
Lastly, consider how your neighbors’ homes look from the outside. If they have invested a great deal of time and money into the exterior of their home, then you may want to think of ways to make your home look just as good. If your home lacks curb appeal in comparison to your neighbors, it will deter potential buyers from putting in an offer. People usually don’t want to buy the worst looking home on the block.
As they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
Getting a Potential Buyer to Your Front Door is a Major Feat So Make the Entryway Area Attractive.
As the Buyer’s agent is working on the lock to gain entry into your home, potential buyers will have plenty of time to check out the immediate area around the front door. The door should be clean and in good condition. Fixtures such as lighting, knobs, handles, and locks should be in working order without rust or significant wear. Look to replace any of these fixtures that may have seen better days.
Sweep debris off the front porch or steps. On snowy days, be sure you take the time to clear walkways, porches, and steps. Removing snow and ice is for safety purposes, but it is also an indication of the amount of care you put into your home.
Preparing to Sell Your Home Also Requires a Thorough Evaluation of the Interior.
To avoid last-minute negotiations or losing out on a potential offer due to surprise preexisting conditions of your home, consider hiring a home inspector. An inspector can identify any hidden issues and allow you to address them before putting your home on the market. Problems could involve mechanicals or issues within the walls that aren’t readily noticeable.
Depersonalizing Your Home’s Interior Allows Potential Buyers to Envision Themselves Living There.
As buyers tour your home, they attempt to imagine themselves and their belongings in that space. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to do that.
That funky wallpaper or brightly colored paint in your kid’s bedroom may not be a buyer’s style. They actually might find any bold wall colors or patterns distracting. Their focus turns to the walls, and they overlook some of your home’s attractive features.
Therefore, consider neutralizing any bold colors or patterns you have on the walls. Neutral colors will appeal to a broader range of buyers. Buyers can also more easily envision their color style on the walls.
The International Association of Home Staging Professionals states that painting your walls is the home improvement task with the highest rate of return. A 2012 HomeGain survey found that interior painting had, on average, a 107% return for home sellers.
Depersonalization also means removing any personal photos on the walls, shelves, or other surfaces. It’s difficult for others to imagine themselves and their family in the home with your personal photographs displayed everywhere.
Attempt to Maximize the Space in Your Home Visually.
A cluttered home with cramped floor space is a turn off for most home buyers. It makes your home appear much smaller than it actually may be. If it is perceived to be smaller, the price may become unattractive for the buyer. This could lead to negotiations for a reduced selling price. Jay DeCima, the author of Start Small, Profit Big in Real Estate, states that a cluttered home can reduce the sale price of your home by as much as 10%.
As you prepare to sell your home, make sure decluttering is also on your to-do list. Storing or donating items will help you create more space that attracts buyers. Similar to paint colors, the less personal stuff you have lying around, the easier it will be for potential buyers to envision their belongings in your home. Donate or dispose of items you no longer need or rent a storage unit if necessary to get your extra belongings out of your home.
Although it’s tempting to do so, don’t stuff these items behind closet or cabinet doors. Potential buyers will likely be checking out closets and other storage spaces.
When removing items to be stored or donated, be sure to include larger or extraneous pieces of furniture to increase floor space. Too many furniture pieces can make the area look much smaller. On the flip side, keep enough furniture in your rooms so the purpose of the room is clear.
Minor Renovations or Upgrades Can Make a Difference When Preparing to Sell Your Home.
Think of small things you could renovate or upgrade that could have a significant impact. Here are examples of smaller projects you could take on to make the interior of your home more attractive:
- Update your kitchen cabinet hardware.
- Patch up holes in the walls.
- Replace cracked tiles.
- Fix leaky faucets.
- Remove or paint over any scuff marks on walls, doors, or baseboards.
- Address plumbing issues such as leaky faucets and running toilets,
- Upgrade outdated lighting fixtures
- Regrout tiled areas
Also, fix any damage caused by your pets. If buyers notice any pet damage, they will likely believe there are more pet-related issues they aren’t readily seeing.
Although it may be a bit costlier, consider updating flooring that has seen better days – particularly old, outdated carpeting.
Don’t Forget the Unfinished Spaces in Your Home.
As you’re preparing to sell your home, it’s easy to overlook these spaces. These areas include the garage, the basement, and other storage areas. Organize, sweep, dust, and brush away the cobwebs. Although they may not be living in these spaces, they will likely be storing items here.
If possible, clear out most of the items you keep in these areas. Doing so will give potential buyers a better sense of the storage space available in your home.