When you own a home it seems that you are in a constant state of home improvement. More often than not something needs repaired, replaced or tweaked. While these home improvements may seem like they all happen at the same time, we are usually lucky enough to have them spread out over the course of the year. When it’s time to sell your home, these home improvements snowball to now or never. While your neighbor may think it is a good idea to sell your home as is, research has shown that your home will sell faster and for a higher price if you do just a few simple things to make it stand out.
Clean and De-clutter: If you don’t do anything else you MUST do this. It is very difficult for buyers to see themselves living in the home if they can’t see the floor or the walls because there is so much stuff everywhere. Cleaning seems obvious but I mean a true deep clean inside cabinets, bathrooms, and closets. Purge or place in storage all the items that you do not need or don’t use daily. While you are cleaning and storing, de-personalizing a home is important to help the buyer envision how they will fit into the space so put that large family portrait over the fireplace in storage for now. Lastly, all guns, valuables or personal items should be locked away. If there is a drawer, assume that it will be opened, if there is a door assume someone will look inside.
Curb appeal and Entrance: The saying don’t judge a book by its cover does not appeal to real estate. The front and back of the home should pop. Making sure that the lawn is mowed, planting flowers, ensuring paint is fresh, the door is free from cobwebs or dirt, screens are not sagging or broken, and the porch should be clean and free from debris.
If it’s broken, fix it: If a door lock is broken, shingles are missing from the roof, or a faucet is leaky all these will be noticed by a prospective buyer and may lead them to believe other home maintenance tasks have been neglected. Most buyers want their home move in ready and in near mint condition. Not to mention that buyers tend to inflate the costs of home repairs and may assume that the costs to repair are nearly twice the actual cost, this may prompt them to look over your home or put in a much lower offer.
Paint: A new coat of paint will make your house look fresh, clean and updated. It’s like a “little botox” for your walls and will cover all the cracks, creaks and the occasional dent. Before your paint, cover holes with putty and sand smooth, and for bigger holes, spray texture to make them look less obvious. In addition, don’t forget to look up; if your ceiling needs it, don’t forget to give it a fresh coat of paint as well.
Floors: Flooring gets the most wear over any other piece of your home. If your flooring is screaming for some TLC consider doing so before you put your house on the market. Carpet should be free from stains or damage, tile and hardwood should be clean and free from cracks, and linoleum should be clean and free from holes or gouges. I don’t recommend replacing the flooring in the entire home unless absolutely necessary. It can be beneficial to replace flooring in high traffic areas. If you are in the market to put new floor in, hardwood is the gold standard for what buyers want most of the time and there are a variety of cost options for most budgets.
The Roof: Buyer’s aren’t just in the market for a roof over their head; they are looking for a roof that doesn’t leak, sag or need a ton of repairs. If your roof doesn’t need a complete overhaul make sure that there aren’t any shingles that need replaced. While you are up there, it is also a great time to clean out those gutters and caulk them.
De-odorize: There was a time when agents recommended baking a batch of cookies before potential buyers came through so that the smell of baked goods would penetrate the air. That is not exactly necessary, but removing anything that could potentially produce a less than desirable smell is required. If you have pets, all evidence, including cat boxes and beds, should be removed from the home before any buyers come in. I also suggest taking pets with you when you leave for showings. If that isn’t an option, have them sectioned off into their own space. If there is a smoker in the house consider having them go somewhere not on the homes parameter. It may sound harsh but smell is one of the first thing a buyer will notice, and smoke is impossible to cover up without it being obvious, not to mention that smoke clings to outdoor furniture as much as it does to indoor furniture. Other things to help de-odorize – replace furnace filters and deep clean the bathroom and kitchen to get rid of and prevent mold, mildew and bacteria.
The windows: New windows are expensive but nothing takes an older home up a few notches better than new windows. If you can’t afford to put new windows in, make sure that they are cleaned inside and out by a professional to help them look their best. Look at the sills and if they are cracked or yellowing, paint them. Lastly make sure that the blinds are clean and in good condition. If they aren’t, consider replacing the window coverings to make them look top notch.
Staging: This is a big one!!! Right before you put your home on the market have a professional stager come in and do what they do best, make your home sale ready. Professional stagers are trained to place items at the right level and attract attention to the right places to make your home stand out above all competition. Research has shown that having your home staged can increase the chance of your home selling faster and for a higher sales price vs. not having it staged. One thing that I do for my sellers is I pay for the stager to come in for the first time and do a once over to make suggestions and help you get your home sold fast!
All in all, a seller can only do what they can do, but these few steps will put you ahead of the rest. Are you looking to buy or sell your home in the Denver/Boulder area? Contact me, Brandy Unruh, today 303.578.6683 or email me at [email protected] and I will help you get your home ready to sell and for the right price!