The Five Easy Fixes that Make Your House Sell
When you’re ready to sell your home, it can be a bit overwhelming. Finding a new house and organizing your move is difficult enough. But then there are the questions that come with making your house more attractive to buyers—should I make home improvements? How much should I throw out? Will buyers be turned off by my paint choices? Is my house out of date?
The good news is a good realtor can answer all those questions. Sometimes, the advice we give is surprisingly simple. Here the top five easy fixes I recommend that can help your house sell faster, and for top dollar.
#1—Declutter—Do whatever it takes to make your home seem open, airy and spacious. Get rid of oversized furniture by selling it, giving it away, or hauling it to a temporary storage unit. Now is the time to cull your closets down to the barest essentials. Box up seasonal clothes you don’t wear. Have the kids cull down their toys. Donate old books. Sell old CDs and DVDs. Put away all the items you might store on your bathroom counters, such as shaving cream, medicine bottles or blow-dryers.
If you use your garage for storage, stop that. Get rid of every item you’ve stored there, and take it to a storage unit. Start parking your car inside, so buyers can see it used for the purpose its intended. If you have time, have a yard sale.
When people open your closets, or go into your basement or garage, they need to appear, clean, appealing and functional. When they walk through your rooms, they need to see the space and the features they offer, and not be distracted by your possessions.
#2—Depersonalize—Your home stops being “yours” the minute you put the for sale sign in your yard. From this point on, people will tour your house, hoping to make it theirs. They need to be able to see themselves in your space. It’s important to make your home appealing, and dare we say it, generic.
Luckily, this is a fairly easy and inexpensive task. Start with taking down all your photographs, and strip your personal items from bulletin boards and refrigerators. Take posters and decals off the walls in your children’s rooms. If you have any highly personal or bold colors on the walls, you might want to change those out to neutrals. Take down all inspirational or religious symbolism. If your shelves are crammed with books, take out at least two thirds and accessorize them instead. Replace old towels and bathmats with crisp, fresh ones. Put away mementoes, family heirlooms and craft projects.
#3—Clean, clean, and then clean some more. Even if you feel you do a great job week to week keeping your house tidy, grime can still build up where you least expect it. After you’ve decluttered and depersonalized, it’s usually well worth the price to hire a cleaning service to come in and to what we refer to as a “spring cleaning.” They’ll clean the things that often get neglected—scrubbing baseboards, getting the cobwebs and dust bunnies in the corners, wiping down cabinets and light fixtures, cleaning the carpets under the furniture, and scrubbing tiles and tubs and fixtures until they gleam. Kick in some more, and they might even scrub down the basement and the garage, as well. These little details can make any home shine that much brighter, and usually costs around $200 to $300 for a whole house detailing.
#4—Clean your windows. This may seem a little silly, especially if you’ve cleaned your windows within the last year. But squeaky-clean windows can make a shocking difference in how your home shows. Clean windows make a house look bright, light, and well maintained. That can translate to more dollars for your bottom line.
#5—Mind your curb appeal. Is the yard full of weeds? Do branches from nearby trees crowd your roof and windows? Is there mold or rot on the siding? Are the bushes in your landscaping overgrown? Now is the time to get the house power washed, freshen exterior paint where you can, and get rid of overgrown trees and bushes. Invest in some fresh plantings and mulch. It will pay you back with dividends.
And I’ll leave you with my final, super secret realtor’s staging tip for curb appeal: paint your front door. Choose a bold or a cheerful color like barn red, or robin’s egg blue, or a color that easily coordinates with your house. If your knobs are pocked or rusty, replace them with stylish new fixtures. And if it’s warm, put out some bright pots of flowers to coordinate. Nothing says, “this is a nice place” to a potential homebuyer than a well-tended, well-staged front door.
If you’re looking to sell your home, I will be happy to come by and make a list of specific recommendations for getting your home ready to sell. Just call me at (502) 376-0492 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.