Fortunately, doing so need not cut too deeply into your profits. When prepping your home for sale, the smallest touches often bring the biggest return.
Improve Your Home's Stage Presence
It's doubtful that you would arrive for a Fortune 500 job interview dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. It's the same when selling your house. Over 1,000 experienced real estate agents agree that taking the time to clean and de-clutter a house can pay big dividends, resulting in a gain of between $1,500 and $2,000 in its selling price.
Although the thought of ripping the grape-patterned paper from the walls of your Tuscan kitchen might bring a tear to your eye, one thing is certain. When it comes to your decorating flights of fancy, potential buyers may not be feeling the love.
The solution is simple: Go neutral. Regardless of your love for color, you might be surprised to see how the use of soft whites, tans and other neutrals can open up your space. These shades will also blend as well with your own furnishings as they will with those of your prospects, relieving them of having to paint over your more creative hues after they've moved in.
An interested party is far more likely to sign on the dotted line if he can envision himself actually living in your house. Those beloved pictures of your kids on the piano and grandma hanging on the fireplace wall may spell "home" to you, but they will make it very hard for a stranger to see himself living in your space. It's best to pack those family treasures safely in cotton batting, promising them star billing once you've arrived at your new digs.
Dress It up a Bit
Some of the most valuable decorative touches will cost the least to accomplish. Fresh flowers in the living room will make an immediate impact. A roaring fire on a cold winter's day will do the same, particularly if you accompany the visual effect with the scent of apple cinnamon potpourri boiling on the stove.
Make Some Reasonable Renovations
In a weak economy, the often-prohibitive expense of updating a kitchen or installing a new attic bedroom can cut too deeply into any hoped-for ROI. Fortunately, other fix-me-ups can make an impression in a way that's considerably more cost-effective. These include:
- A new front door.
- Vinyl or fiber-cement siding.
- Double- or triple-pane windows.
- A modern water heater.
- Upgraded HVAC.
- New or steam-cleaned carpets.
- A back-yard patio or deck.
Smile for the Camera
According to Julie Reynolds of Realtor.com, web appeal could soon trump curb appeal when it comes to attracting buyers. Many modern house hunters spend days scouring the web before ever setting foot inside a Realtor's office. She also recommends using an agent that has gone through a qualified real estate school.
If your home is to compete well on the online front, it must be ready for its close-up, and still pictures alone may not be enough. Statistics show that potential buyers are 150 percent more likely to click on a Realtor's listing if it features a video walk-through. Such extras work wonders in encouraging buyers to leave the comfort of their own homes to have a closer look at yours.
Have Your Own Inspection
Do-it-yourself projects, so popular in stringent economic times; often suffer from shoddy workmanship that leads to dangerous conditions. The hazards may not announce themselves at first glance, but if they show up during a buyer's inspection, they can seriously stymie any sale.
The savvy seller will beat buyers to the punch with a pre-inspection. The fact that a home has already had and passed one with flying colors will be of enormous comfort to any house hunter and could mean the difference between a walk-away and an actual sale.
In good times and bad, carrying out these cost-effective home improvements can enable you to reap the greatest profits on the day you turn over the keys.