Prepping your current home for addition to the selling market is vital. Buyers are more apt to appreciate and remember a home that has had a slight makeover. The expenses of upgrading with professionals could run you into thousands of dollars. Fortunately, with a little elbow grease and imagination, it is possible to spruce up your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers on your own.
The first step is to take care of the outside of your property. When it comes to touring homes, buyers can, and will, “judge a book by its cover”. I personally learned this when shopping for my own house. If your property is overgrown with vegetation, has faded paint, and crooked shutters, no buyer is going to even give the inside a chance. I’ve had clients, who upon first glance at a property didn’t even take the time to get out of the car. You have to beautify your area to draw the proper attention.
-Keep your lawn cut and your shrubbery cut back. Make sure it doesn’t block the view of the outside of the home, or the view from the inside through the windows. Plant fresh flowers or keep them in a pot by the front door. This will brighten your entryway and make it very appealing.
-Pressure- wash all outside surfaces to remove dust and mildew. Wash the windows and light fixtures to make them shine. Straighten your shutters and put new knobs and locks on the doors.
-Paint where it is needed. If those previously crooked shutters are faded then add a coat of exterior paint. Do the mailbox if it’s weathered or opt to buy a new one that’s relatively inexpensive.
-Put out a nice new mat to welcome guests into your home and have the number of your address neatly painted or hung for easy viewing. You can purchase numbers to be displayed at local home improvement stores rather cheaply.
Once you’ve completed the outside projects, the second step is to move indoors. It’s time to clean it out! No one wants to enter your home and find a cluttered unkempt mess.
-Remove excess furniture to open up your rooms and make them appear larger. Rearrange all storage areas (pantry, linen closet, bedroom closets, etc.) and keep them in an orderly fashion. It wouldn’t be good for a buyer to open a closet door upon inspection, only to have mountains of your things come crashing down.
-Hang up beautiful pictures, but remove personal photos.
-Repair damaged walls that have nail holes. Putty kits and sandpaper are what you need to make this look professional and they are very inexpensive.
Your third step will be to paint the inside of your home. Nothing sells better than a few coats of neutral toned paint. You want those walls to stand out, but you don’t want them too dark or too light (white). Most buyers want to purchase a home that will be “move in ready” as far as paint and repairs. It’s one less thing they’ll need to contend with.
-Make sure every room is painted that same neutral color.
-Skip painting the ceilings. It gives the appearance of more height when the two colors contrast against each other.
-Be sure to buy paint for the trim or banisters. Years of fingerprints and grime can be hard to clean off. Painting it will help bring life back to drab colors also.
This leads us to step four, cleaning. It is imperative to keep your home spotless when it’s on the market. You can hire people to clean your home from top to bottom, but that’s going to cost you a lot of money. With a few simple touches, your house will look and feel like new again.
-Dust your furniture and ceiling fans intensely. I’ve seen homes that had 2-3 inches of dust on the surfaces and the fan blades. It’s not attractive at all. Scrub your floors and clean your grout. If people think you were lax about cleaning, they’re more inclined to think you were the same with all other upkeep.
-Carpets! Carpets! Carpets! The first thing a buyer usually inspects is the carpeting. I can not stress enough how important it is for you to steam clean them. You can rent a machine and try to do it yourself, or you can hire a carpet cleaning company if it’s especially dirty. Either way, you will come out much better than replacing all the carpeting in the house.
Step number four is usually the easiest. Special little touches in the bathroom can go a long way! The most expensive thing to be done here would be replacing a stained up toilet. You can do it yourself though, and on the low. Stained showers can usually be remedied with a special cleaner to remove lime and rust.
-Update you lighting and bathroom counter. Choose dual bright lights above the sink and a vanity color that works well with the neutral colored walls.
-Buy new towels, wash cloths, shower curtains and liners to enhance a feeling of newness.
-Keep your toothpaste, mouthwash, hairspray and other toiletries under the sink and out of view.
-Give your bathroom an oasis appeal. Candles, bubble bath and bath beads visible in delicate glass containers, and fluffy towels displayed in wicker baskets should do the trick. Make it a place they can imagine themselves slipping away to after a long day of work.
The fifth and final step could cost you the most depending on what needs to be done. An updated kitchen is essential in any home. It needs to be warm and inviting while also conveying a modern feel.
-Update your lighting. Make sure to use fixtures that bring brightness into the room. This is especially important if you don’t have a lot of natural light entering through the windows.
-Repaint or stain older cabinets and install new knobs and hinges to breath fresh life into your kitchen.
-Replace leaky faucets and sinks.
-If your countertops are really outdated they must have a facelift of sorts. If you can’t afford to buy a new granite slab, then redo the grout in a fresh color or cover the countertops in a new tile.
Revamping your home with professionals may be out of the question, but a few do-it-yourself projects can save you plenty of cash. Have your agent do a walk through when your repairs are complete and see what a difference there is in her opinion of your home. This way you’ll know if you’ve done enough to liven up your house or if you need to add a little more zest.