When it comes to selling your house, the idiom of “spend money to make money” holds true. Some simple improvements and a few quick changes can increase not just the value of your house, but also your chances of selling.
The first step is to boost the curb appeal of your house. Plant a tree in the front yard, plant flowers that are in bloom, power wash the driveway, wash windows, mow the lawn, and class up your home in general.
The goal is to make a favorable first impression on potential homebuyers. If the outside of the house is welcoming and looks like somewhere the homebuyer would want to live, they are more likely to want to see the inside.
Next, get some tape and boxes. A cheap way to quickly “improve” your house in the eyes of buyers is to depersonalize your home. Family photos will make a buyer stop and stare, envisioning your family in the house, and not theirs. The key is to make the home look like a model home – easy for the buyer to insert themselves. For instance, look at this photo:
Notice the only personalization in the room is a name on the wall – easy for the buyer to insert the name of their own child. The entire room is simple and clean, with no distractions for a buyer to linger on. There’s no family photos – which will catch a viewer’s attention, leading them to visualize your family in the house, rather than theirs.
At the same time, you want the house to look lived-in, rather than an actual model home. Remember small details. A vase of fresh flowers, a basket of fruit from the weekend farmer’s market – these are touches that show someone lives there and enjoys the house.
It may also help to disassociate yourself with the house, telling yourself that it is no longer yours. The upgrades you are about to make aren’t for you; they are for the buyer, so you can sell the house.
Speaking of, make sure the house is clean – not just in the sense of personal items, but of dust and dirt. Clean the bathrooms, mop the floor, wipe down counters, make the mirrors sparkle. This is essential to staging a home. This also helps the buyer visualize the house as being perfect, and thus perfect for them.
If you have spare money, you can make some improvements to your home that will either raise the value outright, or the perceived value – or both. “Classing up” your home can range from inexpensive to both expensive and time-consuming, but will up the value in proportion. For example, adding a backsplash to your kitchen or bathroom is fairly inexpensive and takes an afternoon, but boosts both the perceived and actual value of the room.
A fresh coat of paint will improve perceived value and make a room look fresh. The same goes for new carpeting and light fixtures. Update what you can to the most modern styling available that matches the house itself. Hanging a hammock in the backyard, despite never having used one, can show buyers how they could use the house, and appeal to the lifestyle they want to have – not necessarily what they already have.
Another option, though expensive up front, is to hire a contractor to help you redesign and build a room. Opening up a large space, especially between the kitchen and living room, will give you an open floor plan, which is highly desirable. This is a tricky task, hence hiring a professional with experience is likely the way to go. Such improvements can greatly increase the value – perceived or real – of your home, and make it more enticing for buyers.
The Open House
The last step is to have a proper open house. Get the word out on social media, make flyers, post in the newspaper if possible. As a host, remember to have light music, and try not to have any scents or odors. Light snacks are appropriate. Remember to engage buyers, answer questions, provide information, and try to get information on the people who might be making an offer. Tailor your information to each buyer.
Follow these tips, and your house will be upgraded and appealing to potential homeowners. Your house will look fresh and show them the life they could have if they lived there. A friendly, welcoming, and informative open house will seal the deal, clinching the sale and help you move on to your next home.