Getting ready to sell your home can be a real source of stress for many families, but it’s probably a process you’ll have to go through at least once in your life. Often, you’ll need to at least attempt to keep your emotional sentimentality out of the picture while preparing to list your home. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to make necessary changes (or end up liking the end result so much you decide not to sell after all). But by keeping these tips in mind and consulting with an experienced real estate agent, you should be able to help your home look its best and entice interested buyers in no time at all.
Let the Light In
One easy way to instantly improve the look and feel of a given room is to amplify the light. That may mean switching out existing bulbs for new ones. If you opt for LEDs, remember that they’ll use only 15% of the energy required by a standard halogen bulb but will provide up to 85% more light output. You should also take advantage of any and all natural light. Open up your curtains and blinds (or consider removing them completely, if they’ve seen better days or clash with the room) or consider installing some new fixtures if yours are outdated. Remember that buyers want to see a lot of windows and light, rather than cramped and dark rooms.
Fix Any Damage You Find
As a homeowner, you might be inclined to let natural wear and tear go for a while, but your buyer won’t be so inclined to forgive cosmetic issues. For example, if you haven’t painted your cedar siding in over 10 years, it’s probably time for a touch up! You should make it a point to repair or replace any obvious issues you come across, both inside and out. While home and vehicle insurance claims linked to wind and hail storms accounted for 40% of all losses during the last five years, you can’t afford to see what happens when a buyer doesn’t like the look of your roofing shingles. (After all, the 6,045 major hail storms in 2018 caused $1.8 billion in damage to properties and crops.)
Since 65% of homeowners are most likely to repair roofs after weather damage, you should be proactive and assess any problems on the exterior of your home (and fix them before they’re brought up by a buyer). The same goes for fixes inside. Creaky windows and doors, loose fixtures, or flooring scratches may not stand out much to you on a daily basis, but they’ll probably stick out in a buyer’s mind. It’s a good idea to obtain a thorough home inspection or talk to an agent prior to listing your home to assess which fixes need to be prioritized in order to make a sale.
Rethink the Expansive Renovation
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with upgrades. Although homeowners remodel more than 10.2 million kitchens and 14.2 million bathrooms every year, your home doesn’t necessarily require a huge gut job. Outdated features in both of these spaces can have a negative effect on the final sale price, but you might be surprised to learn just how effective small changes can be. You might not need to replace your kitchen cabinets; instead, replacing the doors or simply painting them may suffice. You may also consider replacing the fixtures in your bathroom or kitchen, rather than more extensive installations. Buying new furniture may not be a necessity, either. Unless your sofa is literally falling apart, you can probably stage your home just as well by throwing a new slip cover on top and refreshing the room with some new pillows.
Declutter and Professionally Clean
A clean home is very important. A cluttered home will make buyers feel claustrophobic and unable to picture themselves enjoying life on your property. You’ll need to take an honest inventory of your home and getting rid of unnecessary items before you ever list. That may require you to have a garage sale (or rent a storage unit, if you aren’t ready to let go of certain pieces). If extra furniture is clogging up a space, get it out before you sell. If everything is in its place and you’re able to provide a simple and streamlined home, you’ll be in a much better position to entice buyers. In addition, no buyer wants to see dirt or dust when they come for an open house. Have your home professionally cleaned and make sure to have your HVAC system inspected prior to allowing viewings. You might not notice the dust bunnies, but buyers sure will. Don’t give them any reason to want to walk away.
Embrace More Neutral Touches
This is one tip that’s really hard for sellers to follow. Your home is bound to be filled with a lot of family memories — and memorabilia. It might feel wrong, but you should remove personal touches like family photographs, knick-knacks, and other items that could turn buyers off. Keep in mind that buyers want to envision your house as their own, rather than feeling like they’re intruding on your life. That doesn’t mean your walls have to be devoid of art, but you’ll want to take those unique touches down a notch. In fact, neutral color schemes are still the best way to go. That might hurt if you’re into a quirkier aesthetic, but it’s really the best way to ensure you’ll sell your home quickly. Take comfort in the fact that you’ll be able to decorate your next house just the way you want — and that this home will soon be someone else’s to personalize.
Sprucing up and staging a home is no easy task. But with these tips in mind, you can create a clear-cut plan before you list (and prepare yourself for what’s next).