Selling Your Home: Doing Small Projects Pays Big Dividends
Are you trying to sell your home? These tips could help you make some money.
It’s the small things that help seal the deal on a house sale. But what does that mean? Here’s a list of essential projects that can get you the most bang for your buck:
First and Foremost
A super clean home gives the impression that the home has been cared for. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a cleaning company to clean top to bottom including windows, baseboards, cold air returns, grout and lighting fixtures. Power wash the exterior and don’t forget to clean exterior lighting fixtures. Leaks, squeaks and anything broken – repair or replace. Buyers want to know that the home has been properly maintained. Consequently, if you haven’t done so in a while, have the HVAC serviced. Prospective buyers and their agents look at the mechanical systems to see how old they are and whether they’ve been serviced – we really do!
Buyers remember nice carpet and it’s often a major factor in a decision to buy. Occasionally, a seller will ask us if it’s alright to offer a carpet allowance in lieu of replacing a worn or stained carpet. In our opinion, the answer is “No”. An allowance doesn’t work for buyers who have trouble envisioning change (in this case, what the house could look like with new carpet). Also, some people may assume if the carpet is dirty, the house is too. In either case, you may lose the buyer. Your best bet is to re-carpet. Many carpet companies stock one or two neutral, low cost carpet options, and they’ll come to your home with samples. The companies buy the carpet in bulk, and keep it on site for quick install.
Box items you don’t use and put the boxes in public storage so prospective buyers can see uncluttered space, including in the storage areas. The furniture layout should complement the size and flow of each room which means if rooms are cluttered, you may need to move furniture into storage too. Cluttered rooms look smaller and make it difficult for people to visualize how they would place their furniture or whether it would fit at all. Don’t lose a buyer to clutter.
Make Each Room Count
Each room’s furnishings should be aligned to its function. For example, an office being used as a playroom should be turned back into an office. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a desk if you don’t have one. Hire a realtor who can help you stage your home.
Wallpaper can be a Deal Breaker
Remove outdated curtains, mini-blinds and décor - especially wallpaper. Also, remove worn furniture (if possible).
Adding color (fresh paint) is a powerful and inexpensive way of making your home stand out. Use warm, earthy, tones for wall color in bigger rooms and open areas. Choose a neutral green or blue for bathrooms. If colors are intense or change from room to room, your house will appear to be smaller than it really is so add pops of saturated colors in the details; such as front doors, pictures and décor.
"Outside" Is The New "Inside”
Show off your porch, deck and patio spaces with well-placed outdoor furniture and add color with potted plants. Make sure your home’s landscaping looks its best. Edge the yard, mulch flowerbeds, manicure bushes and if your yard is a monochrome green, add color by planting annuals.
Small projects and updates that enhance a home and help it sell:
- Replace old kitchen appliances. A well-coordinated kitchen with matching appliances is essential when selling your home. Don’t buy just one appliance thinking buyers will complete the rest – think “Turnkey.”
- Consider enhancing the look of standard/builder grade cabinets by adding contemporary hardware such as handles and knobs. If they’re flat panel cabinets, you may also consider having a carpenter add trim. For older outdated cabinets, consider glaze along with new hinges and hardware.
- Small tile projects are relatively inexpensive and just like carpet, buyers remember nice tile. Replace vinyl or old tile with modern tile to renew the look of a room.
- Replace the outdated bathroom vanity and top. A new vanity can really change the look and feel of the bath. Choose a neutral blue or green paint color for full baths and buy a shower curtain, bath mat and towels to match.
- Replace dated or builder grade (especially brass) lighting fixtures with contemporary fixtures. Also, replace old light switches and outlets. It’s so simple and cost effective and yet it really makes a difference.
For someone handy, these projects are especially cost effective but if you only have time or money for a few, and work with your Realtor to prioritize from most to least important.
Susan Borrelli is a Realtor with Re/Max Gateway in Lorton.