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Selling your home is much more than throwing a sign in the yard and waiting for offers to come pouring in. Even in a seller’s market, you have to pay attention to the condition of the property if you want to get the most out of your investment.
The value of cleanliness
Perhaps the most effective thing you can do when you list your home is deep clean the entire house, both inside and out. Ask any agent and they will likely tell you that an everyday cleaning won’t cut it. You have to get down to the nitty-gritty, bust dust bunnies where they live. and remove all traces of human activity.
Better Homes & Gardens offers some great advice on deep cleaning, but don’t be afraid to take it a step further by cleaning inside of the appliances and thinning your closet to a minimum to highlight available storage space. Clean the lawn by removing toys left behind by kids and pets and pressure wash brick, siding and walkways.
Up the aesthetics
One of the top turn offs for buyers is an outdated home. You likely don’t want to spend a ton of money making substantial improvements, but you should invest in projects that will help your home stand out. Freshen up the paint with neutral colors, install a pantry organization system, and add fresh liners to your kitchen shelves and cabinets. Another simple but powerful upgrade in the kitchen and bath are new fixtures on the sinks, shower, and tub. If you’re not comfortable with plumbing, call in a professional.
Perform minor repairs yourself
While certain repairs – plumbing, electrical, structural, roofing and HVAC – should be handled by a licensed contractor, there are plenty of little touch-ups you can do on your own. A few of these include replacing mildewed caulk around the tub and sinks, replacing damaged deck and fence boards, patching small cracks in concrete, changing the filter in the refrigerator and air returns, and filling nail holes.
If you’re handy with tools, House Beautiful asserts that larger tasks such as fixing creaky floors, mending large holes in plaster, and refinishing wooden cabinets, can be taken care of without professional help. These types of repairs aren’t costly and will have a significant impact on buyers’ impressions of your home.
Crank up your curb appeal
You have just a few seconds to make an impression on potential buyers, leaving them to decide if they want to see the inside of your home or plan to move along to the next house.
With this in mind, nothing says “Welcome Home” quite like an inviting lawn, porch and patio. Spend an afternoon sprucing up your outdoor space. A fresh layer of mulch, neatly trimmed hedges, a new mailbox, and a seasonal wreath on the (freshly painted) front door will make your open house or showing guests that much more intrigued. While you are working outside, take the time to clear the walkway, wipe down outdoor tables and chairs, roll up the water hose, and close the gate. Depending on the season, you can plant a few colorful blooms for added visual interest. See the Garden Channel’s list of inexpensive annual flowers for inspiration.
General home-selling tips
- Price your home similarly to comparable listings
- Remove pets from the property when shown
- Don’t automatically include “extras” in the offer; use items such as personal spas and large appliances as bargaining chips during negotiations.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ask your realtor for advice. A realtor will be an expert in your particular market and price range and can point you in the right direction of features and improvements that are in demand.