When someone comes to look at your home, you have very little time to make a good first impression. It's said that, within the first minute of entering your home, most buyers may have already made a decision not to buy based on some things that seem trivial in the larger scheme of things. In this article, we'll look at five cheap fixes that will help you get them past that critical first minute and closer to buying your home. (For more on selling a home, read 7 Ways To Improve Your Home's Sell-ability.)
TUTORIAL: Buying A Home
Focus on the Approach
Potential buyers need to walk up to your house before they see the inside, so the outside needs to match the quality of the inside. Some low-cost steps to increase the curb appeal include:
- Repainting the outside window trim
- Repainting the front door
- Straightening, cleaning and securing the eaves and downspouts
- Clearing and maintaining the yard
- Placing some plants along the walk up
With the exception of plants and paint, the costs of raising your home's curb appeal mostly involves time and sweat.
Combat any Odors
The smell upon entering a home is very important. You don't want your place to be remembered as "the smelly place" or "the cat house." Ideally, you want it to be odor free, if possible, or at least have a pleasant scent if odor free can't be achieved. Some steps to take are:
- Cleaning everything from top to bottom
- Getting rid of items that have trapped odors
- Placing air fresheners or scented candles in areas where odors remain
Decluttering costs nothing, in theory, but it's vital if you're going to make your home attractive. Potential buyers want to fill it with their stuff, and that's hard to visualize with all your stuff in the way. Some cheap solutions include:
- Buying storage bins for clothes, toys and so on
- Installing shelving to clear floor space
- Emptying medicine cabinets and sink surfaces and storing items in a box beneath the sink
- Clearing the kitchen of rarely used appliances like blenders and toaster ovens
- Taking the pictures off the wall
- Throwing out some of the furniture you plan to get rid of in the move, sooner rather than later
Pay Attention to Details
Although a fully renovated entryway, kitchen or bathroom do usually pay off, there are lower cost ways to get by with what you have. These include:
- Updating the light fixtures, switches and plugs
- Replacing handles on cabinets, internal doors, closets, etc.
- Doing small touch-ups where paint has peeled or chipped, flooring has worn or wear and tear is otherwise visible.
Copy the Pros
Perhaps the most valuable experience for anyone looking to sell their home is to go and visit showhomes in the area to see what professional designers are doing. You'll want to note:
- The colors being used for paint. These will likely be neutral tones that are popular at the moment.
- The furniture layout. This will give you an idea of the mix of furniture people will be expecting to see, and how you can lay it out to create the illusion of more space.
- Design touches. Artfully placed plants and paintings make a difference. Note your own feelings in the showhome and try to source them to things you can create in your own home.
The Bottom Line
Although there is a science to presenting your home in the best light, it is not too difficult to pick it up. Try to see your place with fresh eyes or, failing that, ask a friend or family member to walk through with you; to bring problems you've grown used to back to the forefront. Remember, potential buyers are looking for a long-term home, so they are going to look at even the small details with a critical eye. If you can fix some of the cosmetic flaws before they see them, then your chances of selling fast - and at the price you want - will increase. (For things to avoid when selling your home, read The 5 Biggest Mistakes Home Sellers Make.)
Home & AutoAvoid these mistakes if you’re looking to make a quick and easy home sale.
Home & AutoIf you're just looking to get rich quick, you could end up in the poorhouse.
Stock AnalysisHome Depot has outperformed the market by a wide margin in the last 12 months. Is this sustainable?
Home & AutoProperty taxes are calculated through use of the mill levy and the assessed property values.
Home & AutoA property deed is an instrument that enables sellers to convey real property to buyers, who become the new owners.
Home & AutoZillow uses a variety of data to calculate its "Zestimates," but anything from the wrong property details to missing upgrades can make them inaccurate.
Home & AutoMany dream of home ownership, but the timing should be right. There are a host of reasons why you may want to put off homeownership for awhile.
Home & AutoA new home may be appealing in many ways, but it can also burn buyers with numerous hidden costs. Here are a few things to watch for.
Stock AnalysisClorox might not be the most exciting company, but sometimes boring is best for long-term investors.
Home & AutoForeign-ownership regulations make it a little tricky, but plan right and you can have a home in paradise.
The exact origin of the sales phrase "always be closing" is unknown, but it was newly popularized by its usage in the 1992 ... Read Full Answer >>
A fiduciary deed is used to transfer property rights in a sale when a fiduciary must act as an executor of the sale on behalf ... Read Full Answer >>
A bank is not required to pay interest on any escrow accounts (also mortgage impound accounts) it holds for its customers. ... Read Full Answer >>
There are two main strategies for paying off a mortgage more quickly, which can be used alone or in tandem: making larger ... Read Full Answer >>
The basic disadvantage of a simple interest mortgage lies in the fact that unless the borrower conscientiously makes all ... Read Full Answer >>
A waiver of subrogation clause is good for both a tenant and a landlord. A waiver of subrogation is a two-way agreement in ... Read Full Answer >>