Before a house actually hits the market there is a number of things that can be done to make it more marketable and help yield a higher return. Most of them cost little to no money but do require some time and effort. Here are some of my best (mostly free) tips to sell your home for more money-
- Appeal to everyone – Use minimal design, remove religious artwork, statues, rugs, pillows, and blankets with loud or animal print. Neutral colors work best.
- Art at eye level – The center of the artwork, not the top, should be at 58″ high. Art galleries do it, you should do it. It’s pleasing to the eye and will enhance wall height.
- Clean up– Wash the walls and windows, wipe down cabinets, inside drawers, light switches, baseboards, blinds, oven, fridge, fans and fixtures, scrub the shower/tub and floors. This will help with any odor issues too. Most potential buyers are turned off (ie: disgusted) with the thought of moving in on someone else’s mess.
- Clear the kitchen – Remove everything on the counter and put it in the cabinets. Remove all magnets, notes, etc. from the fridge. Pick up the rugs and dishtowels and put them away. Box up pots, pans, dishes, silverware that you don’t need. Buyers look everywhere and clutter shouldn’t be a distraction.
- De-personalize/don’t take it personally – This is a common one, but so important. Potential buyers need to visualize themselves living in your house. You are the only one with your style so remove collections, keepsakes, and memorabilia. The rule is to remove at least 1/3 of your stuff. Box it up, you’re going to move anyway!
- Do your homework before setting a price– You need to know the current market. Texas is a non-disclosure state and does not provide sold prices to the public online or otherwise. An experienced REALTOR® who specializes in your area is the best resource. Request a sold report for your neighborhood here. You can also use our Instant Home Valuation Estimate Tool. Both are good places to start.
- Don’t over-upgrade – Talk to your REALTOR® about this. If you are considering making any updates or upgrades they should be able to give useful, practical advice and provide suggestions for the highest return on investment. You can get an idea of Cost vs. Value for certain updates/upgrades here.
- Empty out your closets – Not all the way, but halfway. Keep everything you absolutely need and box up the rest. This goes for the pantry and hallway closets too. Potential buyers will look everywhere and neat, tidy closets present well and appear larger.
- Hire the right REALTOR® – This one act could seriously make or break you. Selling a house for top dollar takes more than putting a lockbox on the door and listing the house on the local MLS. It takes aggressive planning, multimedia target marketing, and top-notch negotiating skills. Find out what the REALTOR® you plan to hire is going to do to sell your house. They should be specific and have a clear plan. Ask us how we can help.
- Hire a carpet cleaner – Please don’t do this one yourself. Spend the extra money and hire a professional. They can remove most stains and smells and even stretch the carpet if needed. If the carpet is beyond help, ask your REALTOR® for their advice.
- Keep your emotions in check – I know you’ve invested a lot of time and emotion into your home but now is the time to that let go. People who use a business-like manner during the process will have an advantage over people who are emotionally driven.
- Keep your reason for selling to yourself – Of course, you should share this information with your REALTOR® so your goals and timeline are met, but do your best to keep this information private otherwise. If a buyer should find out that you are in a hurry to sell your house, they could have the upper hand during negotiations.
- Know your competition – Your competition is going to influence how much you list your house for, how much it will appraise for, how much it will sell for, and how long it will take to sell. Start by requesting a market report.
- Make necessary repairs – If the prospective buyer is going to purchase your house using a mortgage (and most do), their loan approval is going to be subject to an appraisal. Certain loan programs (FHA, VA, etc.) require that there are no major repairs (shingles missing/damaged, siding with rot, damaged walls, water stains on the ceiling, inoperable garage door, etc.) required. Not only will your house show better to prospective buyers, there will be less to do later.
- Organize, organize, organize – Can’t stress this one enough. Use the 1/3 rule and box it up, organize the rest.
- Pressure wash driveways, decks, and moldy siding – Looks better and enhances curb appeal. A clean exterior will project that a home has been well maintained.
- Price it right – The higher you price your house over market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching. Get an instant estimate now.
- Pull weeds, and keep the lawn mowed and edges trimmed – Fresh mulch and trimmed shrubs help with curb appeal too. Don’t forget to keep the back yard mowed and weeded too.
- Remove excess furniture – Rooms should have ‘just enough’ furniture. Any more than this makes a room appear smaller than it is. Moving furniture off the wall helps avoid this too.
- Replace light bulbs – Well lit homes sell better than dark ones. Also, light bulbs that don’t work raise red flags that there may be electrical issues.
- Rule of Three’s – Position lamps, books, pictures, candles, etc. together in a group of three. It just looks better.
- Spruce up the entrance to the house – A potential buyer will stand in this location the longest while their real estate agent fumbles with the key box that allows entry into the house. They will look up, down, and all around. Give them something nice to look at. Remove cobwebs, clean out the front porch light of all bugs and debris, sweep, and maybe consider slapping a fresh coat of paint on the front door and wood railings. A nice welcome mat and potted flowering plant really make a difference here.
- Touch up baseboards and walls – After washing them, consider a touch up with paint. If you can’t paint, a magic eraser works wonders. It may even remove scuff marks from white baseboards.
- Use a fragrance – Apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice scents seem to be the most appealing to both men and women. Avoid floral scents. I advise using a candle or plug-ins versus sprays and carpet powders. If your carpet has a lingering odor, regular baking soda sprinkled and then vacuumed after 30 minutes will help remove many odors. Boiling whole cloves at length will help remove stale odors in the air. Do this before anything else.
- WD40 is your friend – Use it to remedy squeaky hinges, clean coffee/tea/soda rings off laminate countertops, clean toilets, shine faucets, remove stickers from glass, remove marker and crayon on the walls, and even clean oil spots off your driveway (just spray a generous amount and wash it away with a hose).
I hope these tips will help you get your house ready to sell and increase your bottom line! Once your house is ready to hit the market I have many other tips and tricks that can be done to ensure that your house will show better and more buyers who are ready to buy will see your house. Let me know when you’re ready to hear more.
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