Tips for Getting Ready to Sell A House
Updated: May 2
If you want top dollar for your home when you sell it, it probably has to be in top shape. Before listing your home for sale, take a look at these ares of your home and see what you can freshen within your budget and timeframe:
Sellers sometimes think if a buyer likes their house, or the yard that a homebuyer will look past small flaws or repairs. But the reality is if the market is full of competition in better condition, a homebuyer doesn't have to look past problems. If the buyer wants to move in without making changes, they might not even make an offer even if you have a great yard, or a good school district, the can just go after another house on their list that requires less time, work and negotiation. First impressions count, so make it a good one with these tips. If you want to attract bargain shoppers who expect to pay less in exchange for doing some work on their end, then don't worry about these matters.
Paint: Paint is an inexpensive instant refresh for the look of a home. You don't have to repaint each room, but look at worn areas and touch them up. If your paint is old, or if some rooms are dark or worn looking, lightening and freshening them is a brilliant move. Wallpaper can be hard to look past for home buyers, so removing wallpaper could also put more money into your pocket. If your potential buyer can't see past wallpaper that they dislike, they will often ask for a credit to remove it.
Exterior: What do buyers see first? The outside of your home! Make sure you start out with a good first impression. Take a look at the roof, the landscaping, walkways, and remove any debris and distractions like loose or out of shape fencing. Pay attention to porch lights, gutters, the door, and any shrubs or overgrowth. Some new flowers can be a great, inexpensive way to liven up your home's curb appeal.
Lights: Having good light will make rooms look bigger and more inviting. Look for ways to improve lighting, it can be simple. Replace old fixtures, add floor lamps, add accent lighting. And don't forget natural light sources. If you have dark drapery covering the windows and doors, replace them with lighter option that show off your rooms with natural light.
Kitchen: If your home doesn't have an open kitchen just like the ones on HGTV, don't remodel unless you want to invest time and money before a sale. It might not make sense financially, and it takes a long time! But you can quickly make minor changes to lighting and fixtures on a low budget that can help update your kitchen. If you plan to paint old cabinets, make sure they are professionally done, you don't want to have a haphazard DIY look going on when you list.
Do not do a complete kitchen renovation unless your agent tells you that he or she believes you can make your money back on the sale.
However, you can make some minor repairs that will make your kitchen appear more inviting, even if it isn’t a “dream kitchen”. If the painting, lighting, and countertops all scream the 1970s, you can change all of these without too large of an investment. Updating appliances is another way to modernize your kitchen appeal.
Bathrooms: Kitchens and baths are usually the areas that are most important to buyers. Make sure the bathroom is clean and that there are no leaky faucets or running toilets. Replacing a toilet seat can do a lot for a quick, cheap bathroom update. Take a look at the grout and tiling and make sure they are clean and in good condition. Replace cracked or broken tiles.
Flooring: Hardwood floors are some of the most popular flooring styles. If you have them, store your area rugs and show off your wood floors. If the wood needs refinishing, it can be a good investment if that is in your budget. If you have carpeting, make sure it is clean and light. Replacing dark, dated, or taste specific carpets can also work to your advantage. If you have a lot of wear in specific areas, like a hallway, you can also update the space on the cheap with a good, new area runner.
Clutter: Clearing out clutter is one of the best things you can do to show off your home for buyers. If your home looks clean and orderly, buyers will feel comfortable there, it helps them feel at home right away. Make sure your spaces are functional and inviting by removing extra furniture and personal items.
Repairs: There are often little things in a home that need repairs, if your door handle jiggles - think about how fast that is to fix and how much better a buyer would feel about walking through your home if they didn't notice a minor annoyance like that. If you can address home inspection items before your listing, that is ideal. If your offer contract has an inspection contingency, the home repairs are often the point where a home deal can rapidly fall apart. Be proactive and fix hazards and deferred maintenance items that might come up later.