Selling your house can be a scary time for some. One of the biggest fears people have is that their house will sit on the market for months and attract only low-ball offers, if any.
But there are some things you can do to make sure that doesn't happen.
I'm going to lay out free (or cheap) ways to prepare your house for the market.
Here are some things you can do to help sell your house fast (and for more money).
You first need to get a good idea of what you’re working with. Changing things for the sake of changing things isn’t very smart. For all you know, you might only need to trim a tree and add a patio bench.
To get a good look at your house, look at it from half a block away as objectively as you can. Get another set of eyes to assist you, like the real estate agent, to offer you suggestions to boost your curb appeal.
Go on Pinterest or Houzz and browse other people’s ideas. Once you find a style you like you can attempt to duplicate it yourself.
It can be easy to get carried away when looking at other people’s creations so don’t bite off more than you can chew. The point here is to improve your homes’ curb appeal on the cheap, not to tear everything down and start from scratch.
Browse Similar Homes Nearby
Take a walk around your neighborhood and note what’s working and what isn’t working for other houses nearby.
Make sure your style fits in with the neighborhood and make note of anything you’d like to incorporate into your design.
Start with curb appeal
Get out the water hose, your house is getting a bath!
Make sure the exterior of your home, as well as the lawn and landscaping, are immaculate.
This means water-hosing the roof, gutters, windows, walls, driveway and any other nook and cranny you can find.
Trim the bushes and mow the lawn for goodness sakes. If your grass isn't green, you better start watering.
Oh and you know that huge overgrown plant by the front window?
Get rid of it.
I don't care how old the plant is or how much it means to you. The only thing that matters is this: will this plant (that covers the window) help sell the house for more money?
If the answer is no, get rid of it.
If you don’t want to deal with huge amounts of landscaping, you’re not alone. Most homebuyers today are looking for low-maintenance living.
You can reduce the maintenance requirements of your lawn along with your water bill by removing the lawn and replacing it with drought-tolerant plants.
Sometimes we've lived in a place so long we see objects as part of the landscape, such as an old bike or a ladder.
Clutter distracts the eyes, so get rid of anything that doesn’t belong there.
This includes skateboards, toys, trash cans, stray garden tools and a tangled water hose across the front lawn.
Look at your exterior with the perspective of a new buyer and see these things for what they are: junk.
Make repairs to get rid of unsightly cracks or uneven pavement. It doesn't cost a lot of money and makes a real difference.
Buying a new front door is far too expensive, so clean and paint it if necessary. Replace the trim, make sure your storm door is in good working order and give the area a good cleaning.
Consider changing to a high-end knob, as it will instantly increase the value of your home.
If your entry light is old and outdated, replace it with a new one with a modern design. You’ll be amazed how something so simple (and cheap) can completely change the look of your entry area.
When someone buys a house, the first thing they do is go on Facebook or Instagram and show off.
That picture of the front of your house is the first impression and what will help sell the house the most.
Declutter the inside of your house
Now that the outside is poppin', let's work on the inside.
Does your house look like it belongs on an episode of Hoarders?
If so, you have some work to do.
One easy way to make your home look nicer is to clean it up a bit and throw away anything you haven’t used in years.
If the inner-hoarder in you is freaking out, don’t freak. You don’t have to throw everything out, you just have to organize it better.
Buy large plastic storage bins, fill them up, stack them up and store them in the corner of the garage.
The closet is another area that could definitely use some decluttering. There are countless products to help organize your clothing.
The days of a horizontal bar and clothes hangers are over. You can find some great ideas on Pinterest and products at the Container Store.
Give your kitchen an upgrade
One of the most important rooms of a home in regards to its selling price is the kitchen.
According to USA Today, 48 percent of homebuyers surveyed are willing to pay extra for a home with a kitchen island.
If you don't have one, consider installing one and doing other updates to your kitchen to bring it up to the standards for features and aesthetics home shoppers expect these days.
It could increase the selling price of your home significantly.
Granite countertops are especially sought after. With just a few hundred dollars you can modernize the look of your kitchen.
Make sure your kitchen appliances are as new looking as possible. Since we’re trying to save money, we’ll stay away from buying a new fridge.
But you can however buy a new microwave that matches the color of your refrigerator. Ideally, you’ll want all of your appliances to match, but the microwave is the cheapest of them to replace.
Give your kitchen a modern look and replace that old scratched up sink. A stainless steel sink will do wonders for the look of your kitchen.
Finally, you can change the handles on your kitchen cabinets which shouldn’t cost you more than $50.
Repaint your walls
An easy home upgrade that can increase its selling price is giving your walls a new coat of paint. Paint, like nearly everything, ages and begins to deteriorate over time. It can chip, stain and dull in color.
If that is the case, the aged paint on your home’s walls can negatively affect the home's aesthetics and the entire atmosphere of individual rooms.
Repainting those walls gives you an opportunity to breathe new life into your home’s rooms.
However, be strategic about the colors you choose. Certain colors can add up to $5,000 in a home's selling price. However, unattractive color patterns can do the opposite.
Stick to neutral colors to brighten up the room and not turn off any potential buyers.
This is an easy DIY job, as all it requires is a few gallons of paint, paint rollers, painters tape and a drop cloth. Use a glossy finish on bathrooms and kitchens and matte for the bedrooms and the living room.
Get rid of popcorn ceiling
You can call it an acoustic ceiling, a popcorn ceiling or a cottage cheese ceiling, but most new homeowners call it FUGLY.
Back in the 80’s popcorn ceiling was all the rage. But now it’s not exactly the look new homeowners want - especially millennial homeowners.?
While this project is a messy one, it’s possible to do on your own as it requires no technical knowledge.
Here’s a very basic guide on how to remove the ceiling on your own.
You can find more in-depth step by step tutorials on YouTube.
Spruce up your bedroom
One of the most important rooms in your home is the master bedroom.
Buyers want to see that the room is spacious and will fit everything that they need, but also that it is a comfortable and cosy space that they can retreat to at the end of a hard day.
So it's a great idea to take the time to clean and organize your bedroom, from the flooring to the dressers and everything in between.
Revamp the look of your bed quickly and easily by simply shopping for a new set of bed sheets.
Showcase a sparkling bathroom
Another room that can certainly impact the value of a home is the bathroom. If your bathrooms have been seriously neglected over the years, you better start giving them more attention.
Every bathroom in your home should be clean and pristine whenever you have homebuyers coming by to check out your property.
Make sure that you clean all of the tiles, as well as your tub, and make sure that the floors are also completely clean.
If your fixtures are dated, you can replace them easily and affordably, just as you did in your kitchen.
And you can add a little something extra to your bathroom by incorporating some cute decorative elements that make it feel like a spa retreat.
Install new flooring
This last one is going to hurt, I know. When you want to sell your house fast, you probably don't have time (or money) to change the floor.
But if you want to sell your house for the maximum price possible (and sell it quickly), this one is a biggie.
When you can say in your listing that the house has new flooring, it eases new homeowners from the burden of having to replace it soon.
This can give your home the competitive edge it needs to sell faster than the competition.
Wrapping it up
Before putting your house on the open market, give yourself some time to perform some basic renovations and home improvement projects.
Just taking the time to make these changes will make a real difference that will increase the value and sale price of your home.