One of the most daunting parts of selling can be the thought of getting your home ready for prospective buyers’ eyes. This list will give you an idea of what items to improve and where to begin.
1. Apply a fresh coat of neutral paint
Painting your entire home in a neutral color palette will give you a clean and bright look. A fresh coat of paint will mean prospective buyers won’t be tabulating the hours of painting they’ll need to do as they’re previewing your property. Do not take on this task yourself unless you are very confident in your painting abilities. A bad paint job is worse than no paint job at all. Getting paint on the ceiling, trim, or doors makes the home very unappealing to a potential buyer, as it is an extremely tedious task to remove paint from these types of surfaces. If you do opt to paint yourself make sure to thoroughly scrub the walls before applying primer and paint. There could be lingering residue on your walls that will show up even after you’ve repainted, making all of your hard work a waste. My recommendation would be to stay away from high gloss paints; they are very unforgiving.
2. Replace outdated appliances
When buyers walk into a property with outdated or yellowing appliances, they see price tags and they’ll likely decrease their offer by the estimated cost to replace them. If you can’t replace all of your appliances, at the very least make sure your appliances match, are in working order, and have been thoroughly cleaned. Stainless steel continues to hold the top spot in preferred home appliances but slate stainless steel is it’s newer, edgier cousin, and is gaining ground in interior design.
3. Stage your home
You’re moving right? Ok… so start packing! Now is the best time to de-clutter and pack up items that you don’t use on a daily basis. Invest in plastic storage bins to pack breakables and items that may need to be accessed again before you move. Remove personal photos, faux plants, and religious art; it’s simply distracting to potential buyers.
Keep towels, throw blankets, and window coverings neutral but complimentary to your current color scheme. Matching rugs go a long way in bringing cohesiveness and warmth to the home. Use mirrors in smaller rooms to make your spaces feel larger. Lastly, deep clean the entire home. Bathrooms, kitchens, and appliances are an obvious area to focus on but don’t forget to scrub down dirty walls and doors.
4. Fix anything that would make it seem like the home hasn’t been cared for
Things like cracked tiles, broken appliances, and worn/torn carpet all give off a perception of an aging home and send up red flags for buyers. If they see more than one issue like this while they’re walking through the property, they may not give your home a second glance. Having these small, one-off items repaired or replaced will likely pose a small burden of cost to you but will make a world of difference in buyer perception of the condition and valuation of your home during showings and open houses.
5. Replace outdated light fixtures and hardware
This can add the most bang-for-your-buck in terms of cosmetic appeal. Just like appliances, buyers estimate the cost and time to replace these items and will start hacking away at your asking price as they walk through the property. Adding ceiling fans to bedrooms and opting for a matching lighting set throughout the rest of the home will bring every room together and give it an updated feel. If your lighting is already updated, take some time to clean the fixtures and replace bulbs to ensure optimal brightness in every room during photos, showings, and open houses.
6. Clear up confusion in odd spaces
If you have a large landing or a small side area in your home that currently sits empty, consider adding a reading nook or a small desk to give the space purpose and eliminate the dreaded “wasted space” feedback. Take an inventory of the furniture in your home. Ask yourself which pieces are being used and which rooms feel cramped and small. Remove a piece or two from those tight spaces and use them in the odd spaces that are sitting empty.
7. Get a pre-inspection
Hire a licensed home inspector before listing your home. This will eliminate added stress and surprises during the transaction because you’ll find issues before hand and make appropriate repairs or gather work/repair estimates for future buyers. The more buyers know, the better they feel and the information is going to be found in the inspection either way; why not find out ahead of time and gain the upper hand?