Selling your home doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are some quick projects to get your home ready to sell.
Before even listing your home, there are a few quick things that you can do on the exterior to make the best possible first impression on both real estate agents and prospective buyers.
Part I: Curb Appeal for the Exterior
- Front door. Adding a fresh coat of paint, updating hardware, and cleaning (or replacing) outdoor lighting fixtures says, “Welcome Home!” Hanging a maintenance-free wreath on your front door is a quick and inexpensive fix. For every style and budget, House Beautiful offers front door makeover ideas to help get you started.
- Front porch & walkway. Have a green thumb? Plant some greenery in new pots on your porch or add a few seasonal flowers by the walkway. A new welcome mat is always a good idea, too. On your newly-cleaned porch furniture, adding a few colorful cushions or pillows provides the finishing touch.
- House numbers. These should be easy to read from the road, so clean and replace as needed. Prune any overgrown shrubs and trees that are blocking visibility of the house numbers. Need a few pointers? This Old House shares the ultimate house numbers.
Power washing your porch, deck, or siding is another quick fix for making a great first impression. Curb appeal basics also include a well-maintained yard and driveway. If you don’t have time to keep up with yard work, then hire a lawn service to help, especially during rainy season.
Part II: Refresh the Interior
Now that you’ve improved the curb appeal on the exterior, give your home an objective interior walk-through with a friend or real estate agent and determine if short-term fixes are needed. Remember, prospective buyers need to be able to easily imagine their furniture and belongings in your home. Overstuffed closets, too much furniture, knickknacks, or even kids toys can distract potential buyers and detract from your home’s character.
Here’s a quick checklist to help get you started.
- Minor repairs. Leaky faucets, squeaky cabinets, and windows or doors that are difficult to open can make a bad impression or cause concerns about underlying maintenance issues. Lights and ceiling fans should also be in good condition; if an upgrade is overdue, those items are relatively inexpensive to switch out. Consider these suggestions from This Old House about whether to “fix it or leave it” before you sell.
- Clear clutter. Although a large assortment of cereal boxes on top of the refrigerator or countertops filled with small appliances may be convenient for your on-the-go family, you may want to consider clearing the clutter to show your home. Prospective buyers are focused on counter space, appliances, and storage options. Clearing the clutter helps make spaces appear larger and doesn’t give the impression that there may not be enough storage to keep items tucked neatly away. For Sale by Owner offers tips for clearing clutter inside and outside when you’re getting ready to sell your home.
- Staging rooms. Too much furniture or too many treasured keepsakes can overwhelm home shoppers. For prospective buyers, “less is more” in home décor when imagining where their own furniture and treasures could be placed. Consider renting a storage unit temporarily to depersonalize and streamline your home while it’s on the market. Check out these home staging tips from HGTV and Better Homes & Gardens.
- Sight & smell. These are the two most important senses for prospective buyers. Make sure your home is clean and tidy — don’t forget, they will also open closets and closed doors to check out storage options. Even though we consider our pets to be family members, be sure when someone walks through your front door that they don’t immediately smell that a cat or dog lives in your home.
Remodeling to Sell or Stay?
If you’re feeling more ambitious and have a bit more time before your home hits the market, there are several updates that provide the most return on your investment. Or if you plan to stay put but are ready for a remodeling project, these same options may be at the top of your list.
According to Remodeling Magazine, here are some of the top recoup options based on average cost and real estate value:
|Replace Garage Door||$3,470||98.3%|
|Entry Door Replacement (Steel)||$1,471||91.3%|
|Deck Addition (Wood)||$10,950||82.8%|
|Minor Kitchen Remodel||$21,198||81.1%|
|Sources: Remodeling and Fixr|
Whether you’re planning to sell your home or simply making renovations because you’ll be staying there a while, we recommend consulting with your insurance agent to be sure that you have adequate coverage on your policy for the recent updates. Some upgrades to your home may even qualify you to receive an additional discount on your insurance policy premium.