Home Sale Maximizer

Home Improvements to Do to a House before Putting It up for Sale

When you’re selling your home you’re going to receive a lot of advice about the repairs and renovations you should make to it. Your friends and relatives are going to have their input and will often compare your home sale to theirs. Your real estate agent will definitely let you know what he thinks should be changed and what should stay as is, but in the end you are really the one in charge and the repairs and home renovations to make Atlanta you decide to make now will depend on a number of factors.

A Look at Return on Investment

One of the biggest factors to consider when putting your home on the market is the return on investment you can expect from different repairs and renovations. You won’t want to make any big changes if they aren’t going to result in a higher offer on your home. You’ll have enough to handle during the selling process as is.

Let’s first consider electricity and plumbing. Plumbers and electricians charge a lot of money for their services and any updates could easily cost thousands of dollars. If you don’t have the budget, it simply doesn’t matter that you’d be able to see a huge return on your investment. Sometimes you can pull money out of a hat but at other times it just really isn’t there to find. You’ll need to work with what you have and fortunately there are a lot of economical fixes and repairs you can do that will help you get more money for your home. Fortunately, the cheapest fixes are often the ones that pay you back the most.

Do ThisGet This ROI
Decluttering and Cleaning850%
Staging590%
Improving lighting570%
Landscaping475%

Cleaning and decluttering can be done on your own or you can hire a cleaning company to come in for a day and help you out. Staging you can do by yourself and it’s easy to improve the lighting conditions within your home. Simple landscaping such as mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges and pruning the trees are all cost-effective methods of getting more bang for your buck when your home is about to go on the market.

It’s All Relative

Keep in mind that everything is relative when it comes to a home sale. For example, painting the exterior of your home provides an ROI of approximately 250%, but these numbers will change according to the state of your home. If the exterior of your home doesn’t really need any painting touchups, you’d be much better off leaving it alone and working on something else that is an eyesore and would be damaging to your sale. If, on the other hand, the paint is peeling off the outside your home, your ROI would be much higher than 250%. The numbers above are only averages based on survey figures from real estate agents.

Your home is your castle and you know where the major problems lie. You can find the hidden problems that you aren’t noticing by simply inviting your neighbors over for a cup of tea and asking them what they think. You’ll get an unbiased viewpoint from them and it will give you a good idea of what visitors are noticing when they walk in your home.

Make Sure Your Home Is Clean

There is nothing that can drive off a potential buyer faster than a dirty house. If your home hasn’t had a deep cleaning in a while you may want to consider calling in a professional cleaning service for a day. They can do an amazing job quickly and save you the hassle of having to get on your hands and knees to clean after a hard day at work. After you have hired this service all you’ll need to do is maintain it, which will take a lot less time.

It’s very difficult to sell a home that is dirty. It’s even a lot easier to sell one that is just cluttered. People will see the dirt and even though they may love everything else about your home, they won’t want to invest their hard-earned money into the place. When the house is dirty it makes possible home owners think that if you’re not keeping the house clean, you probably aren’t keeping up with the maintenance on it either.

This is the most important thing to consider when you’re putting your home up for sale. Keep it clean, clean, clean when it’s on the market because you never know when the real estate agent is going to call and set up a quick appointment with a client that is ready to purchase a home that night.

Here’s a breakdown of the areas in your home to address:

  • The walls
  • The ceilings
  • Carpeting
  • Furniture dusting
  • Cupboards and cabinets
  • Doors and windows
  • Mirrors and artwork
  • Countertops
  • Knickknacks
  • Porches
  • Garage
  • Decks
  • Sheds
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Closets
  • Light fixtures
  • Shelves

Basically, anything that you see that needs cleaning, clean it. You’ll probably have people viewing your home that keep their places immaculate. They’ll expect to see their new potential home looking the same - or at least close to it!

Declutter Your Home

It’s time to get down and dirty and really take a look at the clutter surrounding you. It’s easy to ignore a cluttered area and pretend that it really doesn’t exist. When you’re selling your home, however, it’s time to confront this clutter once and for all. You certainly won’t want to waste your time packing up things you don’t really need and paying to transport them to your new home where you won’t really have any use for them anyway. The items you no longer want or need can be sold online, at a garage sale or you can donate them to a secondhand store. One way or another you’ll need to get rid of the things you don’t want and free up some space so that your home appears bigger and more inviting.

The people that are going to be entering your home and perhaps considering it will want to imagine how their furniture would look in your home. They will walk into the different rooms and try to visualize how they could make this home their own. When there is clutter, it’s very difficult for potential home owners to make these visualizations. You need to help them out by giving them the space they need to let their imaginations soar. By doing this, you’re much more likely to see a quick sale. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of clutter don’t be afraid to hire a little help.

Here are some tips you can use to help you spot the areas that generally attract more clutter than others:

  • Organize storage areas such as closets and cupboards
  • Make sure that the hallways and stairways in your home are 100% free of clutter
  • Your porches, both back and front should be cleared
  • Make sure that any shelves aren’t overflowing with clutter
  • Check inside the cabinets in your bathroom and kitchen to make sure that everything is neat and organized
  • Any furniture with a level surface should be cleared such as tables, dressers etc.
  • Check your countertops and declutter if necessary

If you want to keep a few things on your shelves and tables, keep them to a bare minimum. A vase with a beautiful flower arrangement in the middle of the kitchen table, for example, would be totally acceptable. If you have salt and pepper shakers, napkin holders and other odds and ends on the table you’ll need to find a space in the cupboard where you can keep them for now. They will distract from the beautiful arrangement and make the table appear cluttered.

If you have any personal photos on your end table or coffee table, now would be a good time to pack them away. It’s hard for viewers to think about making this home their own when they see pictures of your family throughout the residence. Plus, by packing them away now, you’ll be sure that they are safe and sound and that they won’t get knocked over when strangers, sometimes with children, come for a viewing.

Brighten up Your Home to Help It Sell

One of the biggest selling features of your home will be how bright it appears. Potential homebuyers will not want to walk around a home with a flashlight in order to see inside cupboards or kitchen cabinets. Your home should appear bright, which in turn will make it look more spacious. If you don’t have enough lighting your home will automatically appear dull and dingy and won’t make any bells ring when people are looking at your place as their new possible home.

When the lights are dim it also appears as if you’re trying to hide something. Why aren’t you turning up the lights? What do you have to hide? If you have a large mark on the wall that you’re trying to cover up with dim lighting, it’s really not worth the effort. Turn on the lights, let natural light in, and admit to the fault or better yet grab a can of paint and spend an afternoon painting the wall.

When your place is bright it shines. This is what you want to portray when you are trying to sell your home. The more light that you can bring into the space the better. It will build up the home appeal to buyers and you may make a faster sale.

Here are some recommendations to help you create more light in your home:

  • Check any lights both inside and outside that haven’t been used in a while.
  • Use the brightest bulbs possible in all light fixtures according to the recommended wattage
  • Make sure all your light fixtures are clean to allow more light through them
  • During the daytime keep your blinds and curtains open to allow natural light to shine through.
  • Make sure all of your windows are clean
  • If any bushes outside are obstructing natural light from getting through, give them a trim.
  • If you’re showing your home at night, turn on all inside and outside lights so that potential home buyers will walk into rooms that are already bright and inviting
  • Soft lighting should be used only in small spaces in a room where you want to create a feeling of warmth
  • Polish reflective surfaces like stone countertops, mirrors, and wood

Here is one extra piece of advice you can use when you’re making your home brighter for a sale. Purchase LED lights that give off a bright white light and not a soft tone. This can really make a difference in the amount of light that you’re getting and some people will actually take a look at the bulbs you’re using to make sure that they are energy-friendly.

Check Your Landscaping

The real estate agent is pulling around the corner and in her car sits a couple that are looking for a home. The first thing that they’re going to see is the front exterior of your residence so make sure that it is tidy, clean and the bushes and gardens have been tended to. If you talk to a real estate agent he can tell you just how many places he has booked for a viewing where the clients decide they don’t even want to enter the home because the outside looked so bad. Don’t let the outside of your home dissuade any potential buyers from purchasing your place. Your home should look as good outside as it does inside. Here are some common mistakes people make with their yard.

Make sure that you keep your lawn mowed, your hedges and bushes well trimmed and your garden looking neat and tidy. If you have small children there shouldn’t be toys strewn across the lawn. If you want to really examine how your home looks on the outside, take a ride around the block and then approach your home as if you were a real estate agent and a potential buyer. You may spot things that you otherwise missed by doing this.

Here are some of the most important landscaping tasks you should do to keep your landscaping looking good both at the back and at the front:

  • Keep your lawn mowed
  • If you live in a cold climate, keep your driveway, walkways and porches cleared of snow and make sure they are de-iced
  • Keep all outside areas clean and uncluttered
  • Weed your flower beds
  • Trim your hedges and bushes
  • Prune your trees if necessary
  • Clean out the trash area
  • During the fall, rake your lawn
  • Put a welcome mat at exterior doors
  • Make sure your driveway and walkways are weed-free
  • Check fences, awnings, patio furniture etc. to make sure they are in good repair

Staging Your Home

In some cases staging your home professionally can bring in a lot more money than what you’d pay for the staging. This will all depend on your home and the area it is in. Quite often it can also lead to a faster sale. If your real estate agent recommends staging your home with a professional, asking him why he is making the suggestion and what the benefits could be. Sometimes staging the home by yourself is just as beneficial as hiring a trained home stager. This is especially true if your home is priced in the low to mid-range section. Home stagers are usually quite costly and you’ll want to know that it is worth the price before outlaying the money for one.

If you do decide to stage a home by yourself, here are some helpful suggestions you can use:

  • Turn on all of the lights
  • Make sure that all blinds and curtains are open
  • Place flower arrangements around the house
  • Use lightly scented room fresheners in the bathroom and kitchen or bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies and let the aroma circulate around the home. The cookies can also be offered to your visitors!
  • Turn on the fireplace
  • Welcome your guests with a warm and inviting attitude
  • Put cedar chips in cupboards and closets to eliminate odors
  • Clean and declutter before guests ring the doorbell

Make Small Repairs

Quite often it’s the small things that potential home buyers notice first. The small hole in the wall, the broken hinge on the cupboard underneath the sink, the drip from the bathroom faucet and the nail coming out from a plank in the deck can all capture the attention of a viewer. This can happen even when there are larger repairs surrounding them that need to be made! Perhaps they notice the small things so much because they have attention on all of the small repairs that they haven’t gotten around to at their own homes!

Doing small things around the house can really make a difference when you’re putting it up for sale. Don’t think that people won’t notice the little things. They really do. If you aren’t handy at all, make a list of the small repairs you’ve been putting off, perhaps for years, and call up a handyman to come and help you out for a day. Most handymen don’t charge an arm and a leg and can get things done very quickly.

Here are some of the small repairs you may need to make around your home before listing it:

  • Drywall repairs
  • Check the hinges on your cupboards and cabinets
  • Paint touchups
  • Replace old caulking
  • Remove stains from and seal granite countertops
  • Re-silicone where needed
  • Replace knobs on cabinet doors
  • Fix loose door knobs

Put together a list for your handyman and let them take it from there. This will free up some of your time to get other things done lie general cleaning. This is really a cost-effective method to handle minor repairs around the house that potential home buyers may notice.

Larger House Repairs

Larger repairs such as plumbing and electrical fixes may also need to be done if possible. These repairs will usually cost a lot more than what you would have to pay a handyman for simple repairs so check with your real estate agent first before getting them done. Replacing flooring is also a huge undertaking as is kitchen and bathroom remodeling. Be sure to really crunch the numbers before pouring a lot of money into big renovations. You want to make money out of your house sale, not lose it.

Roofing is another thing to consider. A new roof will cost thousands of dollars while even small roofing patches can add up quickly. If your roof is falling apart and you can’t afford to fix it now, the price to fix it can be negotiated between the buyer and seller when an offer comes in. Any major repairs can be handled this way when the money just isn’t available to fix things right away.

On a Philosophical Note

Here’s a question to think about regarding your home. Were you happy living here?

Did the things that are bothering you now that it’s time to sell really disturb you that much before? You can stand 6 feet away from a wall and think that it looks great but if you go right up to the wall and stand 6 inches away from it, you’re guaranteed to find something there that just isn’t right.

Trying to get everything perfect is a losing battle. Too many people get extremely stressed about a home sale because of the renovations and repairs that they need to do. You should put as much into the house as you can since it is one of the biggest investments you probably ever made in your life, but at the same time, take a realistic look at the big picture. Do what you can in terms of repairs and renovations, keep your place tidy and clean during the selling process and don’t be afraid to take a healthy walk to get away from it all when everything seems too much to bear. You will be able to make it through this sale and hopefully you’ll make some extra money from it by reading through this helpful guide.