Sometimes it’s the little things that you can do that can make all of the difference in the look and feel of a home. Sure, there are bigger, more expensive projects, such as replacing all of the flooring or doing an add-on that will also enhance the value, but the time to do them is not normally when you are ready to sell. You should be doing those things as you live in the house, so that you get some use and enjoyment out of them, too. I never recommend major remodeling projects to owners who are ready to sell. Some would-be sellers feel that the major de-cluttering that I all too often have to recommend is enough work already.
So, painting, and/or paint touchup, is usually the biggest project that I recommend to increase value or decrease the time it will take to sell. A freshly painted house that has been de-cluttered looks clean and inviting to the buyers. It makes it look move-in ready. Here are ten other really small and inexpensive things that you can do to get your house ready for the market:
- De-clutter and clean your kitchen. The kitchen is the most important room in the house as far as sales go. People need to at least like your kitchen and maybe see the potential, but first they have to be able to see it. Put stuff away. Neaten stuff up. Paint everything that needs painting and clean all of the appliances.
- Put new knobs and pulls on your cabinets and drawers. Many kitchens were installed without knobs or pulls and the wear and dirt that result from people grasping the drawer or door with their hands probably shows. Either clean that off or paint these items, too; and then install knobs and pulls. You can probably do the whole kitchen for under $300.
- Replace wall switch covers and plug covers. These items are dirt magnets, too and often are overlooked by the homeowner. Coordinate the colors with the new wall paint colors. Use this exercise to put in GFCI plugs if needed in the kitchen, baths, laundry and garage.
- Wash the windows. This is mainly an elbow grease job, with minimal cast in cleaning supplies. Clean windows leave a good impression with buyers; while dirty windows leave them suspicious about what other things you have left undone in the house.
- Tidy up your entrance and paint your entrance door, if needed. Most owners get so used to just coming into the house through the garage that they have no idea what visitors (buyers) will see when they enter through the front door. Go out and come back in that way and see it as they will see it. You’ll have your own list of things that need to be done in that area.
- Power-wash your deck. This probably won’t happen in the dead of winter, but if you are going to go on the market in the Spring, don’t forget to do this. It is cheap and can dramatically improve the look of an area that we all get too comfortable with being a bit dirty. Clean your barbeque, too.
- Scrub the tub. Showers and tubs are often used by the entire family and build up soap and scum films, sometimes even mildew in the corners. Get out the elbow grease again and thoroughly clean those areas.
- Tidy up the closets. This is part of the de-cluttering process. Visitors are turn off by stuff tumbling out of your closets at them when they try to look in; and they will try to look in them.
- Clean up the garage floor. This is a very often overlooked area and can become particularly nasty in the winter. You don’t have to paint the floor with epoxy paint (although that would be nice), but you should make sure that the garage floor is as clean as it can be with whatever finish it has. Sweep it out and hose it off (or power-wash it, too). Oh, and don’t le the garage be the place where you try to hide all of the stuff from the house when you de-clutter.
- Straighten up the basement. Basements can become places that look like someone has been standing at the top of the stairs and just tossing things down. Get some cheap shelves if you have to, but get things straightened up down there. A buyer needs to be able to walk through the basement without having to step over your stuff. Make sure that the lights all have working bulbs, too.
I can assure you that you will sell your home faster and probably for more, if you’ll do these ten things to make it more attractive to potential buyers. There is probably less than $500 worth of cost in this list, unless you have to hire someone to do these tasks. Even if you do have to pay to get these done, the return is better than what you might get off some of the big projects that you just shouldn’t spend on at this point – new countertops, new appliances, replacement windows and/or doors. If you’re not ready to sell, these ten things can make you home feel new again and get it ready for summer time entertaining.