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You’re considering selling your home and want to get top dollar for it. You’ve watched all of the HGTV shows and they make updating a house look pretty easy, right? Let’s be honest here… The homeowners in these shows spend thousand of dollars to renovate and recreate their home for selling and are doing it with the top experts in the field. Our reality is most of us don’t have that kind of money just laying around for a risky investment and probably are not friends with the Property Brothers to ask their advice on what to renovate to get the most return on our investment.
The good news is there are many things you can do to spruce up the look of your home that cost little or no money and these things can bring a huge return on your investment. Updating your home may not be as expensive as you may think. Small changes add up to create buyer-friendly rooms that can sell your home fast for a great price and best of all… much of it is do it yourself.
Use this checklist to prepare your home to sell.
_____ cut the grass
_____ trim the bushes
_____ remove twigs and dead branches
_____ refresh the mulch
_____ plant some flowers. (Tip: Container Gardening is quick, inexpensive and will quickly add a pop of color to your landscape)
_____ replace the mailbox and house numbers
_____ paint the front door an inviting color
_____ power wash the siding or stucco
_____ paint the home’s interior a neutral color (greige or pale yellow sells well. Avoid white)
_____ rent a storage unit for all of your extra “stuff”
_____ put away all personal items (like photos) to help potential buyers envision your house as their home.
_____ organize all of your closets so they appear to have more space
_____ organize all of your cupboards (people look)
_____ Clean, Clean, Clean and when you’re done, clean.
_____ polish cabinet hardware and doorknobs
_____ replace light switch/electric covers (plain covers)
_____ place several fluffy white towels in each bathroom (and don’t use them)
_____ replace shower inserts and curtains (If your tub is white consider a dark solid curtain to make the white stand out more. I like navy.)
_____ replace toilet seats
_____ paint or refresh kitchen cabinets (use a product like Old English for refreshing)
_____ clean windows
_____ clean window treatments (remove them if they block too much light)
_____ use lamps to highlight darker areas (at least one lamp/light every 100 square feet.)
_____ replace globes in light fixtures and use Edison style bulbs in fixtures when appropriate
_____ replace outdated light fixtures with inexpensive current fixtures
_____ make sure each room has a purpose (no dining room used as an office)
_____ shampoo carpets or have them professionally cleaned
_____ create a plan for pets during showings. Dogs should not be home during showings if at all possible.
Don’t Overprice Your Home
Setting a sale price that is too high for the neighborhood is the biggest reason a home doesn’t sell. Selling your home is an emotional transaction. It’s important to realize that and try hard to set your feelings aside when receiving pricing advice from a Realtor. You may think your property is worth $250,000 because of all of the upgrades you put into the house. Your Realtor suggests that based on comparisons your home will realistically sell for about $225,000. Instinct is always to argue, “yes, but” and then name all of your upgrades. Upgrades are nice and may put you at the higher end of comped values but it is not realistic to think you will get your money back for all of the upgrades when you sell. Upgrades can bring more value but will rarely increase the value of a home over the comped values. (Want to know your home’s worth? Click here)
Don’t Paint Anything in a “Trendy” Color.
Color trends are created by paint companies that want to sell paint! The deep purple color of the year is not going to be appealing to the prospective buyer and painting over it with a neutral color is a pain in the butt.
Don’t Add Decorative Moldings or Wainscot
If they are already there…Great! They can bring value if they are already there, but adding them can be expensive and will not usually yield a high rate of return on the investment.
Don’t Be Afraid to Paint the Kitchen Cabinets
Just make sure you do it properly. Read up on how to do this. There are tons of DIY articles out there on this.
Don’t Replace Carpet or Flooring
Instead, offer incentives such as a flooring allowance. Ask your realtor to highlight this option for any potential buyers that come through. If your carpet or floor is in extremely bad shape (to the point where a potential buyer cannot see past it) you may need to replace it. In this case, use contractor grade carpet or flooring to save money. Many home buyers will replace it anyway once they move in.