Your main goal when selling your home, is to sell it quickly at the highest price while investing as little as possible in renovations. With a limited budget and a little effort, you can greatly increase your home”s appeal by focusing on what prospective buyers can see on the first visit.
“If they don”t like what they see outside, they”ll never walk inside, curb appeal can often mean the difference between a house sitting for months or selling in a few weeks.
The view from the street can net you more traffic than you might think. Seventy-four percent of all home buyers use the Internet to shop for a new home, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors.
Here are a few tips from professional home estimators to help you prepare your house for sale:
First impressions count when it comes to selling a home. A majority of buyers will not even get out of their car if they do not find the exterior appealing. The best way to improve your exterior includes:
- Repairing and/or replacing trims, shutters, gutters, shingles, mailboxes, window screens, walkways, and driveway.
- Painting siding, trim and shutters, and lamp and mail box posts.
- Pressure washing vinyl siding, roofs, walkways, and driveway.
- Washing windows.
2. Tidy lawn and landscape
Home buyers associate the condition of your lawn and landscape with the condition of your home interior. The best way to enhance the yard includes:
- Mowing and edging your lawn.
- Seeding, fertilizing, and weeding lawn.
- Trimming and/or removing overgrown trees, shrubs, and hedges.
- Weeding and mulching plant beds.
- Planting colorful seasonal flowers in existing plant beds.
- Removing trash especially along fences and underneath hedges.
- Sweeping and weeding the street curb along your property.
3. Create an Inviting entrance
The front door to your home should invite buyers to enter. The best way to improve this includes:
- Painting the front door in a glossy, cheerful color that compliments the exterior color.
- Cleaning and/or replacing the door knocker, locks, and handles.
- Repairing and/or replacing the screen door, door bell, porch light and house numbers.
- Placing a new welcome mat and a group of seasonal potted plants and flowers.
4. Reduce clutter and furniture
A buyer cannot envision living in your home if they cannot see your house. A home filled with clutter or even too much furniture distracts buyers from seeing how they can utilize the space your home offers. If you have limited storage space, you may want to consider renting a temporary storage unit to place items you wish to keep. The best way to improve your home includes:
- Removing clutter such as books, magazines, toys, tools, supplies, unused items from counter tops, open shelves, storage closets, garage and basements.
- Storing out of season clothing and shoes to make bedroom closets seem roomier.
- Remove any visible damaged furniture.
5. Clean, clean, clean
The cleanliness of your home also influences a buyer”s perception of it”s condition. The appearance of the kitchen and bathrooms will play a considerable role in a buyer”s decision process, so pay particular attention to these areas. The best way to improve this includes:
- Cleaning windows, fixtures, hardware, ceiling fans, vent covers and appliances.
- Cleaning carpets, area rugs, and draperies.
- Cleaning inside refrigerator, stove, and cabinets.
- Removing stains from carpets, floors, counters, sinks, baths, tile and grout.
- Eliminating house odors, especially if you have pets.
6. Make minor repairs
The small stuff does count, especially with first time home buyers. Without dismissing the importance of repairing major items such as a leaking roof or plumbing, you do not need to spend money on replacing these items. Instead, focus on the minor repairs that make your home visually appealing. The best way to improve your home includes:
- Repairing ceilings and wall cracks.
- Repairing faucets, banisters, handrails, cabinets, drawers, doors, floors and tile.
- Caulking and grouting tubs, showers, sinks and tile.
- Painting ceilings, walls, trim, doors and cabinets.
- Tightening door handles, drawer pulls, light switches and electrical plates.
- Lubricating door hinges and locks.
7. Showcase the kitchen
The heart of any home is the kitchen. If you are going to spend any money on renovations, this is the one area where you will see the greatest return. Even with a modest budget, focusing on a few key areas can make a great difference in getting the asking price for your property. The best way to showcase the kitchen includes:
- Replacing cabinet doors and hardware.
- Installing under cabinet lighting.
- Replacing light fixtures.
- Replacing outdated shelving with pantry and cabinet organizers to maximize space.
8. Stage furniture
Furniture placement can enhance the space of your home while giving buyers an idea of how to best utilize the space with their own belongings. Take some time out to rethink how different areas in your house could be used. Some ideas to think about includes:
- Moving couches and chairs away from walls in your sitting and family rooms to create “cozy conversational groups.”
- Creating a reading corner in the master bedroom.
- Clearing an empty room to setup a reading space.
- Turning an awkward space into a home office.
9. Light up the house
Create a sense of openness and cheerfulness in your home through lighting. To improve the lighting try:
- Opening shades and drapes to let the sun shine warm and brighten rooms.
- Installing brighter light bulbs in rooms that tend to be dark.
- Adding additional lamps for ambient lighting.
10. Freshen up the garage or workshop
- Items should be neatly stored in shelving or wall units.
- Allow appropriate space for the homebuyer to visualize their vehicle or workbench.
- Consider moving excess or over-sized items to mini-storage.
11. Add natural touches
You can easily add color and style to your home by placing fresh flowers and fruit bowls throughout it. Some ideas to consider includes:
- Placing fragrant arrangements in the entry and master bedroom.
- Placing bowls of bright colored fruit in family room and kitchen.
- Filling an empty corner with a potted leafy plant.
- If you have room, go for the traditional two large planters, one on either side of the door or walkway. Fill them to overflowing with flowers if it”s spring or summer or evergreens in the cooler months. This will create a focal point, forcing home buyers to focus on one area rather than the whole home at once.
Remove objects that your potential buyers won”t be able to identify with. For example, political and religious items may turn off whole groups of buyers, because they cannot “imagine” your home as their home. Buying a home is an emotional decision, and you want potential buyers to make an emotional connection with your home by being able to “see” themselves in it.
13. keep your pets under control
Always keep your pets under control. Try confining them to a specific area. Although you may love your pets, they can be off-putting to other people, and smells can be offensive, so make sure there are no lingering odours in furniture or flooring, and if there is, get them cleaned before you sell.
14. Fit into the community.
If there are tons of kids in the neighborhood, it”s OK to have a bike in the yard. Not so if your neighborhood is mostly retirees. Keep your audience in mind as you show your house.
15. Don”t forget the rear view
Buyers doing a drive by will try their best to see your back yard. If it”s visible from another street or from someone”s driveway, include it in your curb appeal efforts.
16. Evening curb appeal
Do your curb appeal exercise again at dusk, because it isn”t unusual for potential buyers to drive by houses in the evening. One quick way to improve evening curb appeal is with lighting:
- String low voltage lighting along your driveway, sidewalks, and near important landscaping elements.
- Add a decorative street lamp or an attractive light fixture to a front porch.
- Make sure lighting that”s visible through front doors and windows enhances the home”s appearance.
Cosmetic changes do not have to be expensive. In fact, costly home improvements do not necessarily offer a good return on your investment when you sell. It’s attention to the basic, anything that says “this home has been carefully maintained”, that will help you get the price you want.