When preparing a house to sell, the last thing homeowners want to do is put money into a property that they’re no longer going to be living in. Unfortunately, in today’s market, it’s extremely important to have a turn-key property that attracts buyers. Considering how difficult it is for most buyers to qualify for loans today, many have little to no additional monetary resources for major upgrades following a purchase. To ensure that buyers will even consider your property, here are the some tips to help your property rank high on the desirability list.
Curb Appeal – obviously, first impressions are important and it literally starts at the curb. If you can’t get buyers t get out of their car, it doesn’t matter how amazing the interior looks if the exterior scares them away! Prune trees, plants, and hedges, mow and edge the lawn and if need be, invest in new sod and flowers. Many times, foliage that has been around for many, many years have lived past their prime. Freshen up the landscaping with new plantings.
Paint – this is the one area that you will definitely get the biggest bank for your buck. A fresh coat of paint on the exterior and interior instantly freshens up a property. No amount of power washing can provide you with the same results. My biggest advice here is “color is your friend”. Don’t be afraid to add color to the exterior and for some added punch, coordinate the hues of new plantings with the updated exterior colors. I
recommend painting your front door a beautiful shade of red or black, but definitely choose a color that is complementary to the other colors. As for the interior, please avoid turning it into a boring vanilla box. Neutral doesn’t mean white, off-white or even beige. There are a lot of colors that are neutral, but add warmth and character to your space and when coordinated with the right furnishings and accessories, will make your property memorable.
Light Fixtures – I always say that light fixtures are like the jewelry in your home. It’s also the one thing that can date your property. You can usually tell when a property was built or last remodeled by the type of light fixtures in the home. There are many inexpensive options available at your local home improvement store. Upgrading from the builder’s special will increase the perceived value of your property. I recommend choosing a bronze finish over black, nickel or chrome. Bronze tends to go well with most interiors.
Kitchen – this is the biggest selling feature of a property. This is the one room that could literally make or break your sale, so it would pay to invest some resources here. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2010 Cost v. Value report, 78.3% of minor kitchen remodel costs are recouped upon resale and 72.1% of major kitchen remodel costs are recouped. My top 3 tips for updating kitchens are:
1) Cabinets – replace (if really bad), reface, paint, refinish or clean (with orange oil to replenish moisture).
2) Add hardware – adding shiny knobs, handles or pulls instantly upgrades the look
3) Upgrade the appliances – this is where your buyers will see real value. Just because your old appliances still work, doesn’t mean they look good or add any resale value. Invest in a new set of appliances and I promise you will see approval from your buyers
Bathrooms – following in the footsteps of the kitchen, bathrooms rank high on the list of top selling features of a property. Since these are generally small spaces, quick updates don’t have to be very expensive. Even if you splurged on some higher end flooring options, the minimum material needed makes it so worth it! The easiest way to kick your bathrooms up a notch is to follow the same advice regarding cabinets in a kitchen and upgrade the light fixtures, flooring and the taps. An area of concern is usually the grout in the shower or tub so take care to remove the old grout and add a bead of fresh, clean grout.
Cleaning – I cannot emphasize this enough. Be honest with yourself. If you are not a good housekeeper, leave this to the professionals. It is worth every penny to have someone spit-shine your property. This includes everything from baseboards to light fixtures, windows, screens, window ledges, cabinet doors, cabinet interiors (if the house is vacant), closets, sinks, showers, tubs, inside of appliances, and my personal favorite, light switches. Every nook and cranny needs to sparkle. Oh, and trust me when I tell you that a professional carpet cleaning service will produce better results than that $30 machine rental at the local market… really!