So, you are putting you house on the market. Whatever your reasons, relocation, down sizing, growing family, you have made the big decision. Selling a home is a major task and it will test your resolve to the max. Houses in the market usually are categorized as below market value, average and above market value. Of course every seller wants to get above market value for their home … who wouldn’t. To be in the top position in your market requires some obvious considerations. Good location, great curb appeal, updated amenities, all make up what buyers are willing to pay a bit extra for.
Maybe you don’t have 5-8 grand for a new kitchen make over or even 2 grand for new floor covering, you still can do a few things that will make your house stand out and possibly bring a few more higher offers. Here are 8 affordable ways to make that happen for you.
1. Get Advice
Call a realtor. Now before you scream and quit reading, a realtor does not cost you anything to have them come out and give you their opinion. In fact, just calling them to invite them over for an opportunity to list your house will get you a wealth of information. It’s still your call as to whether or not you want to use them as an agent to sell your house. You can give you a much needed, honest, starting point as to what your house is worth. Be selective with your choice, some realtors have added training in home staging to help you know what needs to stay and what needs to go. That initial visit won’t cost you a penny and most realtors will work super hard to gain your business.
2. Get Rid of the Clutter
Notice the living area in the photo above. There is no clutter in this room. When you show your home people don’t want to see three pairs of shoes on the floor in the living room. A stack of newspapers next to the sofa and a cluttered coffee table. Take some time and de-clutter every room and closet in your home. Potential home buyers will look everywhere when walking through. You only get ONE chance to make a GREAT first impression. Most home buyers know in a matter of seconds upon entering a house whether or not it “feels” right for them.
3. Deep Clean
So far, the first two suggestions will cost you nothing more than your time and effort. This suggestion may cost a bit, but it is by far the most basic of increasing value. It might not show up as a monetary value, but you can lose a potential buyer if your house is not clean. Now, what is clean for you and what is clean for a discerning buyer may be worlds apart. It’s at this point that you may need a professional to come in and perform a deep clean on your home. Deep cleaning should include wiping every baseboard, window sill, mini blind, and fan blade in your house. Professional cleaning services will charge extra for a deep clean, but trust me, a clean house will show you other areas that may need more attention. Dust Bunnies are not cool.
4. Freshen Up The Place
If you have pets or smoke in your home, get an honest opinion from a unbiased person as to whether or not your house smells. There are several things you can do if you get a “thumbs down” on noxious odors. If you have carpets, get them cleaned. Pet urine is tough to get of carpet. Mainly because it goes straight through and gets trapped in the pad and even the concrete slab. Get a cleaning company that does extraction cleaning and not just shampooing the carpets. If you can’t afford a carpet cleaning company, then at least rent a machine and take the weekend to do battle with those odors. Painting is a little more expensive option, but it will help with odor as well as give your home a fresher appearance. Stay clear of painting those walls in your kids favorite color of purple passion or pink princess. A nice neutral color is good. Here a simple suggestion while we are on freshening up … change your AC filters.
5. Touch Up
If you have kids you may be vertically blind to the finger print, hand print, and scuff marks located below the three foot area of your walls. Look down. Grab some touch up paint for walls and baseboards. Before you go postal on those wall stains, be sure you test that old can of paint to see if it still matches. If not you may have to purchase a small quart or two of new paint to tackle the ankle biter attack on your walls. If you lost the name and color code of the paint you can take a small 1 inch by 1 inch paint chip from a closet to your favorite home improvement store and ask for a color match. If you know the builder of your home, they may still have those paint colors in their records.
6. Go to an Open House
If you want to see what kind of competition you are up against in your area, find an open house to attend. Open houses are great for giving you an impression of what it would be like for someone to walk into your home for the first time. You can grade yourself on if the open house is better or worse than your home. Take notes of the things you like about the open house. Realtors will often have a sheet with comps for the neighborhood, listing them from low to high in market costs. It’s free and it will give you knowledge of your market. We all know, knowledge is power.
7. Wrapper Remedies
The outside of your property is your calling card to potential buyers, when it comes to value. If your grass is dead and your flower beds are void of flowers, then it’s just a dirt bed. Look at your neighborhood and the houses that are for sale. Just driving around you probably would say, “oh, I would like to look in that house … because the yard is immaculate.” You would be correct. Remember we want to increase your homes value and the outside of your house and property is crucial to luring potential buyers. Walk around your house. How is the paint? How about that roof? You may not be able to get your house painted or get a new roof … but you can correct the things are a glaring. If you have peeling paint, scrape it and try and touch it up. If your front door is faded or scratched up … paint it. Trim the shrubs, mow the lawn and plant few plants by the front walk.
8. Creative Advice
I know this may be overkill, but staging your home is super important on making that first impression. If you can’t afford a home stager, find a friend or relative that has a great creative eye for detail. Ask them to walk through your house and ask them to tell you what is attractive and what is distracting about your home. Don’t get your feelings hurt, you are trying to sell our house not creating a shrine to famous plates and spoons of the world. You get what I mean. Buyers try and imagine their stuff fitting into your space and you don’t want them distracted by your kids 7,000 sports ribbons in the hallway.