Presenting your home in the best light can make a big impact when attempting to sell it quickly for the price you want. However, many homeowners simply don’t know how to make their home more appealing to potential buyers.
Sure, you could replace the kitchen counters or remodel the bathroom like you always wanted, but home improvement ideas cost serious money – and may not even be as effective as some of the more affordable techniques.
Here are some effective ways to prepare your home to sell.
How to Stage & Prepare Your Home to Sell
1. Enlist the Aid of an Experienced Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent’s knowledge and experience will be a valuable asset throughout the sale process. He or she can walk through your home with an objective eye and point out the home’s shortcomings, as well as what to showcase. This insight will direct you to the areas that need attention before listing the home for sale. The key is to find a great real estate agent you can trust.
Many realtors also offer home staging services to assist you with preparing your home to sell. These services essentially give your house that “model home” appearance found in new developments – a look that is more inviting to potential buyers.
2. Spruce Up the Front Yard
Many potential homeowners make snap judgments about a house the moment they pull up and see the yard. If your yard is neglected, shoppers may assume your home also is also neglected. Therefore, curb appeal is essential.
Simple tasks and landscaping techniques that can spruce up your home’s exterior include putting fresh pine straw in flowerbeds, and placing potted plants near the front door. Also, trim the back shrubs, especially those in front of windows. Keep the grass mowed, and edge around walkways. Make sure there are no unsightly weeds in your yard or in the cracks on your driveway or walkway. In addition, pressure-wash the driveway and front walkway.
3. Hire a Professional Home Inspector
Hiring a professional home inspector also may be a good idea. Unlike a real estate agent, a home inspector will go “behind the scenes” of your home to inspect such aspects as the plumbing, electrical system, and foundation. Since many (if not all) lenders now require buyers to get a home inspection prior to purchasing, this procedure may help prevent unexpected surprises during sale negotiations.
4. Clean Up
Routine tasks like vacuuming the living room, mopping the kitchen floor, and cleaning the bathroom are important – but you must think beyond these chores. Clean the glass in all windows and doors, remove cobwebs in the corners, and dust the furniture and blinds. Essentially, you must take care of all the heavy-duty cleaning that is usually saved for your spring cleaning checklist or prior to impending family visits. Make sure, too, to replace blown-out light bulbs with working bulbs so shoppers can clearly see every space.
5. Remove the Clutter
Reducing clutter throughout the house and keeping the rooms looking clean and neat improves the overall appearance of the entire space. If necessary, consider renting a storage unit to store your personal property. In the long run, the storage fee could be a small price to pay in order to receive an offer with a higher purchase price.
6. Eliminate Odors
Take out the trash regularly, and keep pets and their items (feeding bowls, bedding, and litter boxes) clean and fresh. Smokers should head outside when it’s time to light up.
Also, consider using a home fragrance, such as scented oils, plug-in dispensers, or other slow-release devices, to keep your home smelling nice. But remember, you want to go with a light, subtle fragrance rather than a heavy scent. You want potential buyers to notice how nice the house smells without overwhelming their senses.
7. Pack Up the Personal Items
Box up your family portraits, vacation knick-knacks, the kids’ art, and so on. This helps potential buyers visualize themselves in the home. However, don’t leave the walls completely bare – instead, opt for low-key art similar to that found in a model home or hotel room. Strive for an impersonal yet welcoming tone that puts shoppers at ease.
Nothing brightens up a home as quickly (or as affordably) as a fresh coat of paint. However, refrain from bright colors. Instead, opt for neutral colors that allow potential homeowners to see the “bones” of the room. White and cream are good choices, as are muted colors. A soft sea foam green will go over better than a strong grass green. Likewise, a toned down rose shade is more inviting than glaring red.
9. Straighten Up the Home’s Exterior
Just as with the interior, you should keep up with DIY home maintenance and remove any rough spots on the home’s exterior. Consider a fresh coat of paint for the front door and shutters. Clean out all gutters, nail down that loose board on the back porch, and fix the basement door that keeps getting stuck. Make sure the outdoor furniture is clean and well-maintained. Also, put away all of your gardening tools, and pick up the kids’ toys.
10. Always Be Prepared to Show the House
You never know when a real estate agent will stop by to show the house. Therefore, make sure you keep it prepared as if it were a model home at all times: Have soft music like jazz or classical playing in the background, set the thermostat to a comfortable 75 degrees, and keep your things picked up and put away.
Fresh flowers are a nice touch as well – consider an arrangement in the kitchen and living room. Smaller, artificial flower arrangements add a nice accent to bathrooms and bedrooms.
Although staging your home may seem like a lot of work, your efforts could result in a higher sales price – sometimes by thousands – and decrease the time your home spends on the market by a great deal of time. Given the competition to sell a home in today’s housing market, this is a great way to garner an advantage over other sellers.
What other ways can you think of to spruce up your home to sell?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)