When you are getting your home ready for the market, think in terms of making improvements that will add more value than they cost. Here are some of the highest value-for-money improvements you can make:
1. De-Clutter And De-Personalize. Your home should look almost sparse to give the best impression of available space to buyers. This means storing or getting rid of extraneous furniture & knick-knacks. Put away family photos and anything else that is uniquely yours. You want the buyers to feel, subconsciously, that they are walking in to their new home, and your personal stuff will quickly burst that bubble.
2. Re-Paint. Walls and trims that haven’t been painted for a while, along with walls that are painted in a dark colour, should be re-painted. Neutral colours are best; a professional home stager can advise on the latest colours that are best for home selling.
3. Fix Whatever Is Broken. Replace or repair appliances, fixtures or cabinetry that are damaged or not working properly. A buyer will mentally subtract from the offer price an amount far greater than your cost to repair or replace.
4. Replace Light Fixtures. A professional home stager can recommend stylish and reasonably priced light fixtures that will significantly improve the appeal of your principal rooms.
5. Update Your Kitchen. In terms of getting the most money for your house, the kitchen is the single most important room. If it’s dated, you don’t necessarily need to completely renovate, but you should consider the following:
- Replace old appliances – a new set of reasonably priced stainless steel appliances will make make a huge difference
- Replace knobs and drawer pulls
- Re-surface kitchen cabinets if they are worn or dated
- Replace the countertops with quartz or granite if it’s worn or dated
- Add an inexpensive backsplash if you don’t have one
- Replace the vanity – there are lots of stylish and reasonably priced alternatives available
- Replace the faucets
- If the wall tiles are dated, consider painting them – there are good quality coatings that are designed for this purpose, and the cost is considerably less than replacing the tiles.
7. Replace Flooring. Worn or dated broadloom can be easily and inexpensively replaced with neutral colour broadloom or laminate flooring. Badly worn hardwood or laminate floors should also be replaced. Damaged or unattractive flooring will subtract value far out of proportion to the replacement cost.
8. Spruce Up The Exterior. It’s no understatement that a bad first impression from the outside can turn off buyers no matter how great your home looks inside. Paint & touch up the exterior of the house (especially the front), cut the grass & remove the weeds, and consider doing a bit of soft landscaping, if only by adding some potted flowers. Curb appeal matters!
9. Clean The House. Everything including windows should be thoroughly cleaned – invest in a professional cleaning service so your home sparkles!
10. Stage Your Home. Invest in a professional home staging service – they know how to make your home appealing to the widest possible audience without being controversial. There is definitely an art to effective home staging; a well staged home will look stunning in the on-line photos and will attract more buyers to come and see it.
If all of this sounds too overwhelming, your Realtor can help you to prioritize which improvements are the most important, and can suggest contractors to help you get the work done quickly and at the lowest cost.