Putting your house on the market? Before you stick that for-sale sign in the ground, there are a few home-selling tips to consider. After all, you want to dazzle potential home buyers and sell your house for (or above!) its listing price.
We know, we know: spending money on a place you’re leaving feels like a drag.
But most buyers are looking online and weeding out homes before they even see them in person. And even then, many more are counting on private showings to get a good look at your home outside of an open house.
That means you need to wow buyers every step of the way. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll make your investment back in the sale and sell your house faster.
But where to start?
First, talk to your agent about what’s driving the most value in your neighborhood. Is parking really tough, so buyers will fall in love with a dedicated space? Are buyers really into new appliances? A certain type of flooring? Your agent – and friends and neighbors who have bought and sold homes in your area – can help you choose how to get the most bang for your buck in selling a home.
Here are our home-selling tips, from easiest to hardest, to get you started.
1. Clean. Really clean.
We’re not talking about a quick tidying: you want a deep clean here. When buyers are perusing photos, you don’t want them to nix yours because the walls look dingy. When they visit, you don’t want them wrinkling their noses at grime on the stove or bathroom sink. Get rid of signs of insects and dust mites. Remember: Buyers will be looking in every single nook and cranny.
2. Put the personal stuff away
You love all your knick-knacks and mementos – that’s why they’re in your house. But if your walls and shelves are lined with photos and souvenirs, buyers will have a harder time imagining their stuff in the space.
3. Take the pets with you
You’ll want to fight the urge to hang around and greet potential buyers — like we said, it helps to give them some space so they can imagine themselves in the home. But when you duck out for the afternoon, take your pets with you.
Potential buyers might be allergic to or simply dislike certain animals, which could sour them on your home. Use air fresheners to get rid of smells; vacuum the floor and rid furniture of hair; and hide the food.
4. Fix all the little quirky, broken things
You’ve been “meaning to get” to that stuck kitchen drawer and dimmed bathroom lightbulb for months … or years … and now is really the time. The costs of these small fixes pale in comparison to the cost of a home purchase, and the work will pay off by making the buyers feel like the house is move-in ready.
When they walk through for the first time, you want them daydreaming about moving right in — not tabulating all the little things they’ll need to fix right away.
5. Invest in staging
Agents consistently report that staging a house increases the selling price and decreases days on the market. Your agent may have helpful home staging tips specific to your market – and they may have some contacts to help make it happen.
6. Paint the walls
This can be time consuming, but it’s possible to do on your own and makes a huge impression on buyers. When choosing paint colors, go with a pale neutral or white (ask your agent for tips here). Give your buyers a fresh canvas where they can easily imagine their own vision.
7. Consider taking on a bigger project
If your house could use something major to up the value – a re-paved driveway, re-stained deck, refinished floors, new appliances – it may be worth thinking about whether you can get any of these done before selling.
Of all our home-selling tips, these projects take the biggest investment on your part. But, most buyers will be mentally adding the costs of projects like this onto your list price. Talk to your agent about the things that might trip up buyers, get a sense for the condition of other homes in your market and decide what you’re able and willing to do.