Anyone who is looking to buy or sell a home these days has heard it time and again: it’s a sellers market. But, when it comes down to the moment when you’ve committed to putting your house on the market, it doesn’t mean you don’t still want to make your home look its best, and we admit, get the highest price you can. There are some simple ways to make your home look it’s best in listing photographs, and most importantly, the little details that make walk-throughs a dream for potential buyers.
Don’t waste your time + money: Call your realtor first!
Have your realtor do a walk-through of your house before you start making a list of home improvements you wish you had done before. Your realtor is an expert at how to sell a home and what potential buyers are looking for. This will help keep your list short and do-able.
There may be some more structural home improvements that your realtor can pick out that, with a minor investment now, will make the home inspection (and possible contingencies) a non-issue, leaving you with a faster selling process and an easier negotiating process.
You may think that you need to button up the dream home tasks that you have considered while living in your home, but there is a good chance that your Realtor will be able to cross those off your lists, things that the next buyer will gladly take on as they turn your home into their dream home.
You don’t have to get rid of everything, but if you’re committed to selling your home, now is a great time to start the purging process. Inevitably, everything in your home will be packed into boxes or donated, so why now start now? Take a look around, knick-knacks and other non-daily-used items are the first to go. And, you’ll start to feel like your home is looking open house ready before you know it.
For the things that you are ready to part ways with, consider donating to local organizations that are in need; are you moving to a warmer climate and can part ways with some of your winter gear? Have your kids outgrown the totes of clothes in the attic? Check out Maine Needs, they partner with local organizations to make sure that your donations get distributed locally to those most in need.
Once the clutter is gone, you’ll start to see spaces in your home open up that you may not have noticed in years. Now is a great time to put a fresh coat of paint on your walls, trim, and possibly even the exterior. Are there some rooms in your house that you really loved that bright pop? For selling, stick with neutrals and keep it easy by painting your house one color. Consumer Report shows that painting the interior of your house can increase your sales price by 1-3%, not bad for a few gallons of paint!
You have options to either paint yourself or hire a crew. Just remember that the most trafficked rooms are the kitchen and the bathroom, so if painting is not on your to-do list, consider starting in these rooms. Or, pick the rooms with the most dramatically painted room or the rooms that have seen the most love and living.
Clean Up the Yard
Take a walk around your neighborhood, compare your yard to your neighbors, and make a quick mental list of how you could improve your curb side appeal. Consider those who will drive by your house once it’s listed and prior to the open house or showings. This could be drastically different season to season, but consider some quick fixes, like keeping the lawn mowed, weeding the garden, or perhaps planting some fresh plants and flowers, even a window box or plant by the front door will make your house that much fresher.
Are there some projects outside your house that you’ve been meaning to get to, but just haven’t had time? Now is the time to consider if those should be cleared away, donated, tucked into the garage or completed. A new mailbox or garage door are some investments that really button up the exterior of your home.
This may have been taken care of under declutter, but take a look around your home and take note of the things that say, our family lives here. Most importantly for the listing photographs, you’ll want to stage your home so that prospective buyers look at it and can start to envision their life in their new home.
Do you have a gallery wall of family portraits? Consider taking a few (or all of them) down and replacing them with a simple, generic print or other artwork from elsewhere in your home. Are your bedroom walls and side tables cluttered with person items or memorabilia? Consider starting to pack the non-daily items or tucking them away into a drawer where you can still access them but they’re not the focal point of a room. The same goes for the kitchen and bathroom, the fewer things that are in the eye of the viewer, the more they will be able to envision themselves in your home.
There are many things that you can do to prepare your home for photographs, showings, and open houses. Many of them require zero investment apart from your time, and others can have minimal costs. Don’t forget to check with your realtor before you make a big investment in your home; now is not the time for the kitchen remodel that you’ve always dreamed of -- save that for the home you’re moving into! But a jump start on packing, a car load of donations to those who could really use your gently used but underutilized goods, or a walk around the yard with the lawn mower or rake, can save you time and energy when it comes down to moving day and perhaps even get you a little bit more on closing day!