How to Add Thousands to the Price of Your Home before Selling
There’s no question – it’s a seller’s market today. Over the past six months, thousands of homes have moved both on and off the market, and buyers are getting fiercely competitive about nearly every home on which they place a bid. That’s a great sign for potential home sellers, and while analysts predict a market this hot may not last, for those considering selling their homes, there’s never been a better time. What can you do when you sell to help maximise your profit and make sure your home sells for as much as possible? These tips can help.
It Starts with Kerb Appeal
Many buyers are looking for homes with fantastic kerb appeal. They begin to form an opinion the moment they pull up to your home. You’ll want to do what you can to increase your kerb appeal, and there’s actually quite a bit you can do here. Start by ensuring your house number is clearly visible from the road so potential buyers know exactly which house is yours. If you’re not sure your house numbers stand out well, you could simply replace them with something new or you could get a bit creative. A bit of wood and paint could mean a house number display with an attached planter that you could fill with beautiful seasonal flowers. You could also light your house numbers with solar-powered LEDs so that even if potential homebuyers arrive at dusk, they’ll easily be able to see your property. Hand-painted tiles make a nice touch for your house numbers, too.
Beyond the house numbers, you’ll want to make certain your landscaping looks fantastic. Ensure your garden beds look sharp with two to three inches of mulch. Add larger plants where it’s appropriate, and you may want to consider adding some seasonal flowers if it’s possible. Keep all of this fairly low maintenance, though, because it’s easy to scare potential buyers away from a beautiful garden that would mean hours of maintenance for them. A few potted flowers are often enough to add to help create the appeal that you really want without scaring potential buyers from a big garden area which they will have to maintain. Be sure your grass has been recently mowed, too, and rake up any leaves that you notice around the front.
Repairs at this stage are a must. If you have fences that look like they need to be painted or gates that should be repaired, this is a good time to do that. If you can, you may want to add a coat of paint to the outside of your home too. It will help it look fresh and clean. If you have vinyl siding, be sure it has been recently scrubbed. Even if you don’t paint anything else, you may want to consider painting your front door. Some believe blue is the right colour, though that can vary. A recent study found that homes with blue front doors can get up to £4,000 more when being sold than other, darker colours like brown.
Don’t overlook the hardscapes in your space. Concrete surfaces should be power scrubbed, and if you have a gravel path to your door, make sure there’s enough gravel in it to make it look refreshed and renewed. Be sure you clean other hardscape surfaces as well.
Additionally, it’s important to repair other spaces on the outside of your home, too. Check on the roof tiles, the siding, and the railings around your porch or deck to be sure everything looks clean and well repaired. The window frames should be painted, and torn window screens should be repaired.
Outdoor lighting could provide you with a price boost as well. If a potential buyer sees your home in the evening, how does it look? Dark and brooding? That’s not quite what you’re going for. Add solar powered lights around the path to the door or the driveway. A few solar powered garden ornaments may prove to make your home more beautiful as well. If you have house lights on the front, replace the bulbs with brighter options that help make your home stand out and look welcoming.
This is sometimes an issue if you’re working to sell a flat or semi-detached or terraced home. Your neighbours’ curb appeal can sometimes actually affect the selling price of your own home, so if you plan to market your property, you may want to have a chat with the neighbours and see if you can make a few improvements that will help both of you out a bit and increase your selling price.
As you work, keep one key thing in mind. If anything requires a complete refit or replacement, you don’t want to go that far. The goal is to put more money in your pocket at the end of the road, so you only want to decide on projects with a higher return on your investment. If you spend too much, you won’t get the money back that you spent, so it’s easier to change the selling price than to have the work done before you actually put it on the market.
Decluttering Your Space
You want buyers to be impressed the moment they pull up at the door, but if that good impression doesn’t continue when they step over the threshold, you may have lost them. While there are lots of things you can do to increase your selling price, one of the easiest is just decluttering your space. Many people dread this part of moving, but it actually makes things easier. When you start by eliminating the clutter, you actually have less to move. More than that, though, it makes your space look big, bright, and friendly, a must when you’re trying to get as much as you can out of your current home.
Keep in mind that while some people wait to do this process until they’ve already got a potential buyer, it’s really better to handle it before you list your home. Not only does it mean that your purchase price will likely be higher, but it also means that you’ll be able to make thoughtful decisions about what to keep and what should go, not decisions made hastily before a removals truck arrives at your door. The best way to begin this process is with a solid plan and timetable in mind. There may be spaces in your home that don’t require decluttering, which is why understanding both what needs to be decluttered and when that needs to be complete is an absolute must.
No matter which spaces your decluttering plan includes, in each room, you’ll need to think about what you actually use, what you will need in your next home, and what you love. Don’t keep anything that doesn’t fit into one of those three categories. For example, maybe in your next home, you’d like to embrace a new style for your living room. That may mean the armchair you’ve had in your living room since university can now be donated to a charity shop so you can make room for a new piece of furniture. It may mean eliminating much smaller items too. How many of the books on your bookshelf do you actually want to keep? How many of them do you want to have to pack and unpack? What about those snow globes you keep buying? Are all of those worth keeping?
Clothes are sometimes the hardest thing for people. Go back through both your dresser and your closet. If you have an item of clothing, a pair of shoes, or an accessory you haven’t worn or used in more than a year, the chances are good that you won’t every use it again. If it still has a lot of life left in it, donate it to charity so someone else can use it in the near future.
Don’t overlook decluttering with your consumables. This can include personal care products like those you use in the bathroom as well as cleaning supplies and paper products throughout your home. Keep only as much on hand as you’ll need before you actually make your move.
As you work, it may be helpful to build a holding zone. Create a spot for things you’d like to pack, things you’d like to donate, and things you’d like to throw away. After each decluttering session, you can begin to handle those things in each of the zones.
If you have items that you’d like to keep, but they make a particular space feel far too small, feel free to keep them, but consider storing them in a self-storage unit near your new home. You could even have a removal company take them out of your home, put them in the unit, then deliver them again on moving day. It will free up quite a bit of space in your home to help a buyer see exactly what they have to work with.
Depersonalising Your Space
Along with decluttering, you may actually want to depersonalise your home as well. Buyers only fall in love with spaces that they can imagine themselves in, and that means that if your family photos are all over the wall, it might be tough for a potential buyer to imagine actually living there. To make it happen, be sure you go ahead and pack away your family photos. You’ll also want to store holiday souvenirs as well as any trophies or certificates you currently have framed throughout your house. Your child’s artwork should also be stored.
If you have extensive personal collections or memorabilia of anything, that too should be stored away. Imagine, for example, you’re a Manchester United fan, so you have framed jerseys, rally flags, and signed photos from former team members. If a Liverpool fan walks through your door, you may lose the sale thanks to your extensive collection.
It’s not just the sports-themed collections that need to be packed away before you sell, though. Religious-themed items and décor can also create a real issue for potential buyers. If you have relics, art, or statues throughout your home, it’s best to replace them with something fairly neutral before you begin showing your home.
If you’re fairly tight on time, you may need to focus your depersonalisation efforts on just a few areas of your home. Research has shown that buyers care most about four areas of your home – the living room, the kitchen, the master bedroom, and the dining room. If you don’t have time to depersonalise everything, keep your focus on these four areas.
Make Smaller Repairs
There are many small repairs that can be made before you list your home. Start with a good look at your walls and ceilings. If you see scuffs or cracks, have them repaired as soon as possible. Often a handyman can fill it and paint over it for just a few dollars, and that investment will be well worth it down the line. Keep in mind that another step you’ll take will be to depersonalise your home (we’ll cover that in just a few paragraphs), so if you plan to remove any artwork or photos that may leave behind small holes in your walls, have those patched and filled at the same time.
Additionally, there are other simple changes you can make. A coat of paint could do quite a bit of good to the various spaces in your home. At the minimum, you’ll want to repaint a few key areas of your home – the entrance to your home, the kitchen, and the bathrooms. If you have the time and money available, you can paint other areas of your home, too, like the bedrooms and the living room. While many estate agents recommend sticking with neutral colours, others believe that adding some colours (like accent walls) can be quite useful as it creates a palette for a potential buyer’s imagination. The benefits of a coat of paint are absolutely enormous. It’s far less work for the buyer when they move into the home, and it can make your home look well cared for as well as fresh and new.
Flooring should be a serious area of concern as you work to increase the value of your home. If you have older, worn flooring, replacing it should be at the top of your priority list. It will not only look amazing, but it will help your home smell better too. Older carpeting can retain pet and cooking odours that may distract some potential buyers. New carpeting, though, looks sharp in a space, and it can help buyers be at ease. You may also want to consider replacing carpeting in areas like the kitchen or bathroom with more attractive flooring choices.
Don’t overlook simple problems to fix like dripping taps or limescale build-up on your kitchen or bathroom fittings, too. These are easy to repair and replace, and they can give your home exactly the look you want.
Adding a Bit of Light
Poor lighting may put your home at a serious disadvantage. Darker homes feel smaller and even dirtier, even if you’ve spent quite a bit of time cleaning. There are lots of things you can do, though, to make your space seem lighter. Begin by moving from room to room, looking at the amount of light in each one. Be sure to open the curtains in each space, turn on the lights, and take a hard look at it as a buyer might. Once you do that, you’re likely going to better understand which spaces need attention.
You can begin giving those spaces attention by addressing any non-lighting problems you have. Darker furnishings or wall colours may make your room seem dark, even with lots of natural or artificial light sources. You can help lighten things up a bit with some light paint colours and even slipcovers over the furniture to help brighten the space significantly. You can also add mirrors to make a room feel a bit lighter. Washing the windows both inside and out can help solve the problem too.
Once you’ve addressed all of the non-lighting factors that can make a room seem dark, it’s time to address the lights themselves. The fixture may not be right for the space, but they’re fairly easy to replace. If, for example, you have a dated fixture with just one bulb, consider hiring someone to replace it with a two or three-bulb fixture. Just replacing the bulbs in fixtures with something brighter can be a big help, too.
If you still don’t have enough light, you could add accent lighting or even bedside and desk lamps to help brighten up a space.
Address the Kitchen
Few things have the power to change the price of your home quite like the kitchen. If you’re working to gather the money you need to purchase a new home, though, you likely don’t want to spend too much on a kitchen overhaul. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to refresh your existing kitchen. You want something that looks, feels, and smells both fresh and clean. You also want a spacious, light, airy feel that makes it look as if there’s plenty of room inside each cupboard. You may want to start the process just by having your kitchen professionally cleaned. While you could absolutely clean it on your own, hiring a professional here is going to make it look fantastic. If you have mouldy caulk around your backsplash or sink, you may also want to hire a handyman to replace it.
Be sure to address any kitchen smell issues during the cleaning process. Rubbish bins can often be quite stinky, as can pet items, so be sure you’ve cleaned those well.
After your kitchen has been cleaned, have it painted. Choose a light, neutral colour, then paint away. This will give you quite a bit of value. Just be sure that the hue you select works well with your current worktop and cabinet colour. Painting does a few things for your kitchen. First, it serves to make it brighter, but it can also be used to control any lingering greasy odours you might have in your kitchen.
Updating the hardware on your kitchen cabinets is a nice touch, too. Choose something that matches the style and looks clean and neat. It will help to catch a potential buyer’s eye and help show off the refreshed style you’re hoping for.
If you didn’t previously declutter this space, now is the time to do so. You want your worktops as clear as possible. You may want to keep your kettle and toaster out, but beyond that, try to get everything else off your worktops. Pay attention to the cabinets here, too. Remember, potential buyers will actually look inside these cabinets, so be sure you don’t have too many items inside. Organise what you currently have in there, and eliminate any mismatched items you have. Even if you want to keep those items, it’s best to store them away while your home is on the market.
You may also want to bring in fresh flowers and fruit before a home showing. It can help bring your kitchen to life and make it look fresh and amazing.
Consider Making Some Bathroom Improvements
As important as the kitchen is, the bathroom is a pretty essential selling point as well. If you have plenty of time and money on your hands, you may want to splurge a little and have double sinks installed. If you don’t have enough for a big change like that or your bathroom is simply too small, there are other things you can do to the space to make the necessary changes. Be sure to install new hardware on the vanity. Adding a new towel bar and sink fixture is a nice touch too. If you plan to make simple upgrades like those, though, make sure they all match. If you can, paint the vanity to give it a fresh appearance. You may also want to hang a new mirror to make it look a bit more luxurious. Add space here, too, if possible. While you likely can’t afford to add on (and it wouldn’t really pay off anyway), simply working on your storage system can help a lot. Adding some simple shelving or cleaning out the shelving you have available to dress it up can go a long way toward convincing a buyer this is the right choice for you.
Consider Staging Your Home
You want to make buyers believe the property is spacious, and if you have furniture that is too big for your space, it’s not going to feel spacious. Fortunately, there are home staging companies that are willing to rent furniture that will fit well in your space until you’ve sold your home. Typically this is the way to go, particularly if you have outdated furniture. You can use self-storage to put your old furniture away until you’ve moved. As you work to stage your home, be sure that they look their best the moment a potential buyer sees inside from the doorway. Make sure they can walk through the door cleanly and get across the room easily.
As you work to stage your home, be sure you play up the storage space. Closets and cabinets should be as clean and neat as possible. Adding simple shelving units from IKEA can often mean you add to the look of storage space in your home and actually add a few spots to store things while you wait for your home to sell.
You can work with a home staging company for this service or you can simply do some staging of your own when you work with popular furniture rental companies in your area. If your budget is fairly tight, but you think staging might be the way to go for your home, simply renting furniture that fits your space is sometimes the way to go because it can be far less costly. Just remember to try to stick with a single style throughout the home so it doesn’t end up looking like a design disaster.
Work with your Estate Agent
One of the best things you can do to add thousands to the price of your home before you sell it is to find the right estate agent. Estate agents have a wealth of knowledge at their disposal, and they have quite a bit of knowledge about what plays well in your local area. As a result, they can often help you understand where to spend your time and efforts before you list so that you get the biggest possible selling price. They, too, have an interest in a higher selling price given that they work for a percentage of that price, so taking advantage of that knowledge may be well worth your time and efforts as you work to sell your home.