Consider these 7 Steps to increase your home’s value and get it sold in the fastest time and for the most money possible. I chose them based on my experience working with homeowners who have sold their house, and feedback from home buyers that I helped. buy a house. The last two tips will be most appropriate if you are thinking you might sell your house within the next 1-2 years.
TIP ONE: Painting and Carpeting
A fresh coat of paint will make a room look new and clean and new carpets will make it shine that much more. Be sure to pick a paint color that is neutral as that will appeal to the most buyers. I have seen many buyers walk into a house with rooms painted in bright or dark color and just walk out because they hated it! Buyers also will always look down at the floor when they walk into a room.
So be sure that the carpets are clean, and if they are worn, consider getting them replaced. Worn or dirty carpets and badly painted or dirty walls will make a buyer think that there are other issues with your house even if there is not.
TIP TWO: Energy Costs
These days, most buyers will ask me “What is the average monthly utility bill cost?” of houses they are looking at to buy. Most utilities offer free energy audits. Take advantage of this as it can help you save money now and it can help you down the road when you are ready to sell your house!
Most buyers favor houses that have lower monthly utility costs over other houses all else being equal!
TIP THREE: The Kitchen
In most houses, buyers will spend the most time in the kitchen. Make sure your kitchen is ready for this. If you have appliances that are dirty or old, get them cleaned spotless or consider replacing them.
You do not need to spend a lot of money replacing your stove or refrigerator with top end appliances, but you do not want buyers walking into a kitchen, see a dirty stove or refrigerator and then walking out because of it. And do not forget the drawers and cabinets, as buyers will open them!
TIP FOUR: The Bathrooms
Your bathrooms will also get the drill sergeant review from buyers. Similar to the kitchen, make sure that any old fixtures are replaced and that the floors, bathtub & shower and walls are CLEAN.
You can replace bathroom fixtures easily these days without spending a lot of money. And a fresh coat of paint can go a long way here too. I have seen buyers walk out of houses after walking into dirty old bathrooms.
TIP FIVE: Curb Appeal
First impressions count. Similar to a fresh coat of paint for a room, a yard that has the grass cut nicely goes a long way. Walk outside and look at your front yard and the front of the house. Does the front of the house need paint or residing? Are there any broken windows or shutters that need repair? Does the yard need cleaning? You do not need to hire a landscape architect, but you want to make sure that your yard looks clean and nice.
Be sure to pick up any items in the yard, position trash bins so that they are not visible from the street and any other general cleaning/maintenance that might be needed.
TIP SIX: De-clutter
If you are thinking about selling within the next year, start this now. I have seen buyers walk through houses that have too much stuff everywhere and comment to me that it just looks messy.
When a buyer thinks a house is messy, they figure that there are other problems with the house as well even if there is not!
This is something that even I deal with sometimes as we just get so ‘used to things’ lying around that we do not even see them anymore. They almost become invisible! Do de-cluttering in two stages.
Get everything that you have not used in last few months (or years!), and do not anticipate using in the foreseeable future, boxed up and in storage or the garage.
This would include clothes that you have not worn in a long time, dishes/appliances that you have not used in forever, paperwork piling up, bathroom items and other things.
These are items that you do not want to throw away or donate, but that you just do not need in your home on a day-to-day basis.
This is when you are getting close to listing your house for sale. Now you want your home to be ready for buyers to walk through and have a good impression so that they think to themselves, “This is a clean and neat home, the owner must take care of it!”
This will also help make moving day easier after your home is sold! Pack up even more clothes that you are not going to wear anytime soon, pack up toys, small appliances that are not being used, other kitchen items, bathroom items, tools, books, art, etc. Put these in storage or boxed neatly into the attic or garage.
Be sure to label all boxes with both the room they belong to, like, “Kitchen” and what is in the box “Dishes”.
TIP SEVEN: Hire a Home Inspector
If you are thinking that you might sell your house in the next year, consider this: most buyers will hire a home inspector that will inspect your house for any and all issues. Wiring, foundation, installation, etc.
In the case of a Home Inspection, you do not want to be surprised when you accept an offer on your house; you want to close the deal with as little hassle as possible.
More and more homeowners will hire a home inspector and provide a home inspection report to buyers. This can make buyers more ready to make an offer on your house, especially if they are considering other houses that do not have a home inspection.
This also benefits you, you can use the home inspection as a ‘What do I need to do’ guide if you find something major.
Please keep in mind that home inspection reports will be detailed and may startle you initially similar to reviewing your results from a physical if the doctor is not present!
If you make the wise investment for a home inspection, have me come over after you get it to review it with you and I can give you advice on what is common in our market and what is not.
Every market is different, so just because you see something that looks scary on the inspection report, does not necessarily mean you have to fix it.
Either way, you can be assured that buyers will get an inspection done and you do not want to be surprised by this when you are trying to get the house sold.