Selling Your Home? Five Budget Fixes to Help You Sell Your House Fast
So you’re selling a home and you need to sell it fast. If you’re like many other homeowners, you may scrimp on preparation in your rush to get out the door. But neglecting to prepare your house for viewings can cause your home to languish on the market.
According to a 2014 survey of over 2,000 real estate agents across the US, it’s often the small improvements made before selling a home that pay off the most (HomeGain’s “Prepare-to-sell” Survey).
Here are fives budget fixes real estate experts agree will help you sell your house fast:
# Selling a Home Fix 1: Clear Out Excess Clutter
As soon as you decide to sell your home, start packing up your knickknacks right away. That cabbage patch or doily collection has to go!
Excess clutter prevents buyers from being able to picture themselves living in your home. Correction. Their home — you hope. Plus clutter has the added disadvantage of making your house seem smaller.
Try to keep decorations few and far between, and keep them as neutral as possible. Personal photos should be kept to a minimum.
Look at it this way. When you declutter, you’ll get a head start on your packing and add dollars to your selling price in one fell swoop.
# Selling a Home Fix 2: Become a Lean, Mean Cleaning Machine
Nothing halts a sale in its tracks faster than doggy odours, mouldy tiles, or cobwebbed corners. When you’re selling your home, a sparkling, odour-free environment is crucial to creating a positive first impression.
Years of accumulated grime will only create the impression of neglect and may prompt the buyer to wonder what other problems may be lurking elsewhere.
Unless you’re a domestic diva (and even then), your home is probably not clean enough for prospective buyers. So roll up your sleeves, arm yourself with some heavy-duty cleansers, and make sure every corner shines. Kitchens and bathrooms are especially important to get right as they can literally make or break a sale.
Don’t know which end of a broomstick is up? Consider hiring a one-time maid service to do a deep clean for you. Depending on the size of your home, this will cost less than $300 — a small investment with big payoffs.
HomeGain’s study revealed that when you spend between $190 and $300 on cleaning and decluttering before selling your home, you can expect a 500% return on your investment!
# Selling a Home Fix 3: Make Minor Repairs
Studies show that most buyers are looking for homes that are “move-in ready.” Unless you’re trying to attract bargain hunters, before you put your house on the market, tackle all the small repairs you’ve been meaning to get around to.
Take a scraper to peeling paint on bathroom ceilings, and seal up leaky faucets once and for all.
Don’t forget about the outside of your home! Give your fence a fresh coat of paint, weed out your gardens, and repair cracked tiles on your patio. If the outside of a home doesn’t appeal to buyers, chances are they won’t make it through the front door.
# Selling a Home Fix 4: Give New Life to Your Home with Paint
A fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to make your home sparkle. What’s more, you’ll get back every penny you put in — and then some. Painting prior to a sale averages a 150% return on investment (HomeGain 2015)!
So take down yellowed wallpaper or, for a quick fix, paint over it with a bright neutral colour for an instant pick-me-up. Stick to light, neutral colours that will appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers.
Paint is also a fantastic way to make awkward features blend into the background. Roger Hazard, designer on Sell This House, shares a trick of the trade: “There are countless times when we don’t want potential buyers to notice an ugly vent, odd nooks, or less than perfect baseboards. We simply paint them to blend in with the walls and no one ever notices.”
# Selling a Home Fix 5: Ensure Every Room Functions as Expected
When selling a home, it’s important that buyers can see exactly what each room is intended for — or sometimes, what it could be used for (e.g., a bonus space).
If you’ve been using your dining room as a home office, relocate your computer desk to the den or pack it up all together. Your dining room should show as a dining room, so make sure it contains what every person expects to see in the space — a dining room table and chairs.
Same goes with bedrooms. If your home is located in a family-oriented neighbourhood, showing a second bedroom as a child’s room rather than a home office makes sense. If your neighbourhood mainly attracts young professionals on the other hand, go ahead and convert that bedroom into a den. Better yet, include a day bed that shows it can be used as a guest room and a home office.
When selling a home in the hopes of securing a quick sale, it may be tempting to skip some of these steps. But real estate experts agree: the cost and effort put into preparing your home first will help you sell your house fast — and cost far less than the carrying costs incurred while your house sits on the market.