You’re preparing to sell your home but aren’t sure where to start. If you want to get the most money possible for your home, it’s likely you’ll need to put effort and money into some basic fix-ups. Getting the price you want isn’t all in the negotiations. Remember that negotiating is driven by perception of value, not just a price. The rationale to keep a buyer’s offer low could very well come with a list of things that are either outdated or in disrepair. It’s easy to ignore the impact of your home’s general wear and tear because you’re accustomed to other things that give you comfort living there. But once you get into sale mode, you should start taking a closer look at every room to determine what flaws need attention. The following areas strongly influence first impressions. If your home falls short here, plan to budget time and money towards improvement. Otherwise, you could be making bigger price adjustments as time wears on without a sale.
1. Fresh paint and wall paper removal. Nothing is easier than brightening and freshening up a room with a new coat of paint. And it’s also one of the cheaper fixes you can do to help sell your house. While neutral colors are most commonly recommended so as not to turn off buyer preferences, using a little more color for accents is perfectly acceptable. If you think that buyers can “look past” wall paper, you’re wrong. No matter how attached you may be to that wall paper (or simply adverse to the effort of getting rid of it), the fact remains that wall paper significantly dates a home. Remove it, paint it, and never look back. First impressions are everything in real estate.
2. Flooring. Hardwood floors have been most buyers’ preference for some time now. The condition and appearance of hardwood flooring can totally affect the impression of your home. The gleam of a space adorned with hardwood creates instant appeal. But if your hardwood is dulling or worn, the effect will be disappointment. Refinishing will give you a great return on your investment. Do what it takes to make hardwood one of the hotter assets of your home. If you don’t have hardwood and there’s no way you can budget installing it, then make sure your carpet is not overly worn, ripped, or stained. Hire professional carpet cleaners or rent a heavy-duty cleaner and do it yourself. Cleaning won’t do a lot to help a worn out carpet, so replace it with a neutral color like beige or a light tan. If you have tile, replace any chipped or cracked pieces to avoid giving a buyer the impression of neglect.
3. Lighting. It’s amazing how something as simple as lighting can make a space look open, cheery, and more inviting. One of the first things most real estate agents do for their clients when viewing homes is turn on all the lights. Take the time to analyze the lighting in rooms and hallways of your house both during the day and in the evening. Don’t depend on natural light to do the trick since you don’t know what time of day your ultimate buyer will be coming through. Study up on tips and tricks for determining the best lighting for each space. There are many affordable lighting options outside of the standard overheads and stand-up floor lights. Also consider replacing light fixtures that are dated in style.
4. Bathroom functionality and cleanliness. Every bathroom in your home should be spic and span with everything working as it should. Bathrooms and kitchens can make or break buyer interest, so you can’t ignore the condition of yours. Fix leaky faucets and hissing toilets. Replace a toilet seat if it’s cracked, unhinged, or has some novelty design that was meant for you or your kids. Clean up grout and replace broken tiles. If updates or a complete remodel is not in your budget, make sure everything in the bathroom looks its best and functions perfectly. Sometimes a little staging flair, such as clean counter tops with spa-like knick-knacks and a stylish shower curtain, can help buyers overcome older bathrooms.
5. Kitchen improvements. Mid-range and minor kitchen remodels often get a 100 percent return on investment. Appliances and cabinetry are typically the most expensive items to replace. If your cabinets are old or worn but total replacement isn’t in your budget, consider cabinet resurfacing and replacing the cabinet hardware. While granite countertops tend to get the most points with buyers, they aren’t necessarily a must. If you know you need new countertops and can’t afford granite, there are a number of hard surfaces with an upscale feel that are far less expensive. Also ensure faucets, sinks, and all other appliances are in good working order.
Buyers want a home that has been cared for and maintained throughout the years. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a little faucet leak, a tile chip here and there, or one non-functioning appliance are no big deal. These things add up to a sense of neglect or deferred maintenance. Even if you don’t have every desirable update in your home, clean, functional, and well-maintained help keep buyer interest and better offers.