- Strive for Immaculate
A thorough and meticulous cleaning is a must. Fresh bright paint can open up a room. Do not use your own favorite colors – imagine your house is a gallery where the buyer is painting in their own colors and furnishings. The idea is to de- personalize your home as much as possible by putting away personal photos, kid’s drawings, and sentimental nick-knacks. Hire a professional to clean your carpets and get your floors sparkling. You want your home to shine and smell clean. Also, get organized and get rid of clutter. Buyers are very impressed when your home looks like you have meticulously taken care of things, and that includes how organized your closets and drawers are. We recommend that you start packing. When your home feels a little empty to you, you are on the right track.
- Upgrade or Clean Your Appliances
Again, this is very important. Worn or dirty appliances can devalue a kitchen and an entire house by association. Moreover, you want to use Pledge or some similar cleaner on your forced air gas furnace and hot water heater. You want the equipment room to be as clean as the rest of your home. This shows that you take care of things.
- Do the Small Repairs
Through the Inspection process, your buyer is going to request that you take care of these repairs anyway. Do them now and enjoy a bump in your asking price. For instance, a grimy bathtub with flower stickers is just going to subtract significant dollars as the buyer groans at the hassle and cost of replacement. A slightly damaged roof will put unwanted dollar signs in your buyer’s eyes. Replace broken tile, re-seal around bathtubs, and make sure there is nothing that looks dirty in your bathrooms. Little things can say, “run-down, don’t buy.” They are easy to fix and buyers expect them to be. Further, there should be nothing broken in your home. Either fix, replace it, or remove it.
- Spruce up Your Home
This will be a “new” home for your potential buyer, so it’s helpful if things feel new. If you’ve been meaning to replace some old drapes or curtains, do so now. Put out new towels and new shower curtains, etc. Put away most everything on your kitchen counter, and set out a bowl of fresh citrus fruit, and keep it looking fresh. Also, put away everything on your bathroom counters, and leave only a clean towel and soap dispenser.
- Maximize Your Numbers
Recalculate your square footage. In older homes particularly, the county measurements can be way off. If you have an appraisal, you can consult it because it will have drawings and measurements. Be sure to measure decks, porches, an oversized garage, storage sheds and point them out in your home’s sales descriptions.
- Pay Attention to Lighting
Open up your home to light. This may mean installing several well-placed recessed lights and certainly means the trashing of heavy, dreary curtains and window treatments. We also recommend using “day light” LEDs everywhere you can. These lights brighten up any room. You may wonder why you had not already done this when you see how bright your home becomes.
- Cut Your Energy Bill
Your buyer will ask for your utility bill. If you have been lax about proper insulation, duct and filter cleaning, careless electricity/water usage then stop and solve those unnecessarily high bills. Depending on your timing, you may consider having solar installed. Buyers are quite attracted to energy efficient homes powered by solar. There are many options for buying or leasing the solar system, but this can make your home more valuable in the long run.
- Use a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent
Your cousin’s best friend as your Realtor® can cost you thousands. Your agent needs to give you advice about buyer trends in boosting your home’s value. A smart agent is on your side in negotiating the best price and so should be brutally honest with you – and that’s exactly what you want.
- Curb Appeal
An investment in landscaping may be needed. Again, the approach should be to keep the grounds clear of any ornaments (personal signs, charming lawn elves, wind chimes, etc.) so that the buyer can paint their own home exterior. Also, if your home has signs of deferred maintenance, it is better to get those items handled before going on the market. That may mean some paint, some caulking around gutters, concrete or foundations, and/or having your windows cleaned.
- Interior Staging
44% of buyers’ agents say that staging increases the value of the house by 1 to 10%. 26% of buyers’ agents say staging has no effect. Your Realtor® will only recommend staging if a higher sale price can be expected. A flexible rule of thumb is that in smaller homes, provide the empty pallet. In larger high-end homes, there is more of a tendency to stage because the home is too large of a canvas for the buyer’s imagination. I have seen homes sit on the market without staging, and then sell quickly once the staging was in place. Sometimes, just having a staging consult will do the trick because a stager can work with your furniture and artwork to put your best foot forward. If accessory items are needed, stagers can often provide those things.