Submitted by Suzie Wilson of HappierHome.net
Whether you’re moving because of a job, family expansion or retirement, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and get to work if you want your property to appeal to the most buyers. Before you start packing, however, there are a few minor home improvements you should tackle, which will speed up the process and get you on the road.
Start with aesthetics
No matter how short a time you’ve lived in your home, there are likely lots of little things that you’ve learned to overlook. The vast majority of these will be minor aesthetic imperfections that are cheap and easy to rectify. ProfessionalStaging.com notes that buyers are on the lookout for issues and will notice every little crack, stain, or chipped tile. Here are a few DIY projects that will reduce the lived-in look of your home:
- Replace moldy or damaged caulk in the bathtub and shower
- Clean or stain grout in the kitchen and bathroom
- Fill nail holes in the wall and gaps around the trim
- Plant colorful flowers by the mailbox and entryway
- Organize storage spaces (buyers love to look in closets, under the stairs, and in the garage and attic)
- Paint rooms that don’t already have a neutral color scheme
- Install functional smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
- Pull weeds and add a layer of fresh mulch to flower beds
- Repair brown spots on the lawn
- Replace outdated bronze and brass doorknobs, handles, and drawer pulls
Manage major malfunctions
There are plenty of small things you can tackle on your own, but you’ll also need to invest time and money making sure there are no major defects that may derail your home sale at inspection time. These include:
- Foundation problems (Homes.com estimates this can devalue your property by up to $100,000)
- HVAC issues
- Leaks in the roof/missing shingles
- Major plumbing problems, such as a clogged mainline
- Outdated electrical panel
- Windows that won’t open up or lock
- Musty/animal smell
- Rotted wood behind walls – most likely in the kitchen or bath
- Damp basement
Small issues won’t necessarily be deal-breaker for most of your buyers but the less work they have to do the more likely they will be to give your home a second look. Large issues such as a crumbling foundation may designate your home as a fixer-upper, which won’t attract “everyday” buyers who want to move in immediately.
What do buyers want?
Buyers in different demographics will seek out home features that appeal to their lifestyles. There are, however, a few universal want-list items you can play up in your listing to cast as wide a net as possible. According to American Home Shield, the features homebuyers want are:
- Separate laundry room
- Energy-efficient appliances and windows
- Exterior lighting
- Outdoor entertainment space
- Ceiling fan
- Full bathroom on the main level
- Hardwood flooring
- Proper insulation
- Garage storage
- Eat-in kitchen
When it’s time
Once you’ve completed these repairs and renovations, there are a few finishing touches that will put the icing on the cake and sweeten the deal for your buyers. First, you should declutter, so that buyers can see more of the house and less of what you own. Before you declutter, though, it’s a good idea to buy an air filter. Since digging through those items is going to stir up a lot of dust, it’s important to keep the air clean for you and home buyers.
After you declutter, deep clean the entire home and weed out any belongings or furniture that don’t look quite right. To get your home sparkling clean, spend a little money on a housekeeping service. For an average of $166 a visit in Golden, housekeepers can help you keep up with laundry, mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, and straightening. Just keep in mind that the more you request from the housekeeping service, the more you’ll ultimately pay for the privilege.
Also, staging and investing in high-quality professional listing photos (a real estate photographer usually charges between $110 and $300 for a shoot, depending on your location) will give online searchers a reason to pay your house a visit.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need to choose the best listing agent. Interview multiple individuals and ask about their recent local sales history and how many current listings they manage. A good agent will encourage you to price your home competitively and will go above and beyond simply listing on the MLS to promote the property.