We all know that feeling when we first step into a model home; the clean & crisp décor, beautiful lighting, and relaxing music is designed to make you fall in love with the home immediately. The design pros know exactly what to do so that prospective buyers can see themselves living in that exact home.
But not all homes are updated with the latest HGTV trends, and certainly most of us have neither the spare time nor the thousands of dollars it takes to remodel big-ticket items such as a kitchen or bathroom, particularly when preparing your home to hit the market. If you are on a budget, here are five easy and cost-effective things any homeowner can do to spruce up a home for sale in order to snag top-dollar in this market.
A little paint goes a long way! Interior and exterior paint are inexpensive ways to make your home look newer, brighter, and more attractive to buyers. When selecting an interior color, try to stay neutral. This means leaning towards light greys, tans, and off-white colors. Avoid dark statement walls or accent walls. A neutral palate allows buyers to envision how their own personal items and taste would feel in the home. Meanwhile, the exterior trend of the moment is a bright white home with black trim – it’s clean, modern, and inviting. Don’t forget to touch up any cabinets, baseboards, doors and trim. Buyers notice little scrapes or dings and it makes them question your upkeep on the larger items.
Curb Appeal, Garage Door and Landscaping
As a buyer first approaches a home, the garage door is often the first and biggest focal point. An old, rickety garage door can make or break that all-important first impression, and a new door is a lower cost upgrade that can set the right tone. Landscaping is another item where a little investment goes a long way. Softscape such as new flowers, sod, mulch, plants and pea-pebbles are great ways to make your yard look fresh and inviting without spending much money.
I have shown thousands of homes in my career and I am always surprised when a buyer cannot look past old, dated lighting to see the potential of a home. As a seller, something as simple as a $500 investment in updated lighting fixtures is all a property needs to appeal to a wider variety of buyers. All of the big-box home improvement stores offer large, cost-effective selections for interior and exterior lighting that will make a property feel updated. Take a look at your bathroom, kitchen, over-stairs, and dining lighting. Are the fixtures something you would see in a store or model home today? If not, consider replacements. Make sure all light bulbs are in working order and lighting is soft in some places where natural light is available and bright in darker spaces.
Declutter and Regular Maintenance
When a buyer walks through your home, they need to be able to envision themselves in the home. Take down family photos, hide personal items and toiletries, empty out closets and drawers, get rid of the souvenirs from your spring break trip and kids’ artwork on the fridge. If possible, get a POD or storage unit and start the packing process early. Less is more! Go through your bathrooms and kitchens and caulk the seams, change the filters on your AC and snake your drains – all of these items will come up in your home inspection, so get ahead of them.
You also need to stay on top of the electrical systems and the plumbing. It seriously sucks to forget to stay on top of your plumbing and then come home one day to find a leak — then, you’d need to call on the pros, like our friends at 1-800 Water Damage in College Station to help. It’s best to just keep on top of your maintenance as you go.