When homebuyers are looking to purchase a new home, they see the obvious flaws as a huge overhead that they don’t want to take on, despite the fact that many of the flaws are easily remedied. They would rather find a house that already has these issues fixed. So the question becomes, what can you do to make your home more appealing to buyers? Here is a list of the top 10 things you can change about your home to make it more appealing to buyers.
Landscaping. Whether you hire a landscaper, have family or friends help out, or do it yourself, the front yard is important. Curb appeal is the first impression the buyers see when they arrive at your home. Keeping gutters and the front of home clean is important. Put away kid’s toys, remove debris, dead vegetation, and animal waste. Mow the lawn. Mulch is a great low-cost, high-impact addition to your yard.
Tidy up! A clean home is a happy home! Nothing will sell your house faster than making it look spotless. Sometimes, this isn’t the easiest of options, so if you can’t deep clean before every showing, at least be sure to remove clutter. When you think you’ve removed enough clutter, remove more. Do not put it back after a showing either. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Depersonalize. Buyers want to see themselves living in the property, they don’t want to see someone else’s home. Pretend you are moving out right now; take all the things that make the property your “home”, (Pictures, religious décor, memorabilia etc.) and put it in storage. This will help buyers be able to see themselves living there.
Make minor repairs. Patch holes in the walls, fix leaky faucets, fix doors that don’t close properly, and fix drawers that jam. If a buyer sees all the things that have been pushed aside, they start to wonder what they can’t see that hasn’t been maintained. A $50 repair to the seller is a $500 expense in the eyes of the buyer.
Repair, replace, or repaint entries. Inspect the entry to your home with the eye of a critical stranger. A sagging screen will give buyers the impression of neglect. A fresh coat of paint on the front door can change an entire opinion about a home.
Eliminate the smells! Smells are often a deal killer. Pets, smoke, and other unpleasant smell-creating things in your home can cause issues with a potential buyer. Deep clean with bleach; re-caulk cracks, between sinks, tubs, toilets, counters, and scrub floors to get rid of mold and mildew smells. With a smoker, there’s even more work to do. To rid walls of smoke and nicotine film, some experts suggest washing the walls with cleaners using an alkaline builder, such as ammonia, and a glycol solvent (found at paint stores). Brake recommends painting an undercoat of Kilz primer onto clean, dry walls to seal in nicotine smells. Finish the job with a fresh coat of paint and change the furnace filter to further freshen the air in the house. After that, stop the smoking! Even outside, gardens and yards lose appeal when there are cigarette butts everywhere.
Replace damaged flooring. If you choose to have a professional lay vinyl flooring for you, it could cost $400 or more. However, it is relatively easy to lay vinyl flooring yourself. The new floor will pay for itself in the appeal it creates for the buyer. Carpeting is also a low cost way to boost the charm of your home. To get a decent quality carpet would cost roughly $2.50/square foot. Of course, this number can go up or down depending on what carpet you choose and where you buy it.
Redo your walls. Painting the walls would be the best option when it comes to selling your home. Not all buyers hate wallpaper…they hate YOUR wallpaper. This is because it is your personal choice, not theirs. Painting with a neutral color such as tan or off white can allow for them to use imagination.
FIX THE BATHROOM! The national average of recouped cost is more than 100% for bathrooms. Think new floors and updated faucets or lighting fixtures. These can really pay off in the end. And the #1 improvement that will help sell your home…
Kitchen remodels. Kitchens return nearly 100%, and many buyers make decisions based entirely on this area, especially since the kitchen has become more of a gathering place in people’s homes. Outdated kitchens are a turnoff to 90% of buyers. Floors, countertops, appliances, and lighting need to be updated and/or repaired. Buyers base a lot of their decision on the kitchen. If your house is in good shape but the kitchen is not, it could be a deal breaker.
This list isn’t all-inclusive, but it will help you get off to a good start. If you want specific ideas and suggestions for getting your home ready to sell, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to share my thoughts with you and help you come up with a plan to maximize your home’s value.