21 Inexpensive (or free) Ways To Prepare Your Home For Sale

21 inexpensive ways to prepare your home for saleBuyer’s market, sellers market… it makes no difference, there are still things you should consider doing to prepare your home for the market.  While not everyone has the money to do a major bath or kitchen remodel here is a list of  inexpensive ways to prepare your home to sell.

These inexpensive ways to prepare your home for sale can actually have big returns on the sale of your home.  A little effort and a few bucks can go a long way.

Often when I speak to sellers they have know for months or even up to a year or more that they will be selling.  Contact your agent early when selling and they can help you formulate a plan and even bring in a home stager early.  This will allow you to prepare your home at a more leisurely pace rather than deal with all the preparation come crunch time.

21 Inexpensive Ways To Prepare Your Home For Sale

Make it Shine

No buyer  ever complains about a clean home.  Maybe you can’t afford to do any repairs or renovations, but a sparkling clean home will always impress home buyers.  Clean your home like your life depended on it.

Clean the Windows

Cleaning all your windows may be beyond your capabilities if they aren’t newer windows that tilt-in.  But clean windows can go a long way in impressing home buyers and maybe consider hiring a service.  Sparkling windows are a must when you are trying to sell a view!

Get Rid of that Junk

Time to declutter. Pack up or throw away all your seasonal items as well as items you aren’t using.  While furnished homes sell better than vacant homes, less is more.  I just went through my own kitchen and realized how many appliances and wares I don’t use!  I have knives I haven’t used in 10 years I threw out.  And, appliances and kitchen gadgets I never used.  I just boxed them up and put them in storage.  A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used something in 2 years toss it!!

Empty and Organize Closets and Cabinets

Storage is important to buyers.  If your closets are overflowing buyers will have a hard time seeing how they can fit all of their belongings in your home.   If you can clean, organize and declutter your closets down to 2/3rds full it will allow the buyer to see the storage working for their needs.  This extends to your kitchen cabinets, drawers and even your refrigerator.

Take “You” Out of the House

Your selling the house not your personal items.  Don’t overwhelm buyers with your personal style and items.  Let the buyers view your home in a neutral setting.  If the buyers walk away remembering features of your home rather than your personal decor you have accomplished your job.

Neutralize smells

Nothing can turn off a buyer more than a smell they dislike.  The fear is they won’t be able to remove it.  It could be pet smells, the smell of mildew, cooking smells, etc…  You may want to enlist a friend here, as you are used to what your home smells like and may not notice what your home smells like on a regular basis.

Touch Up Paint

If your paint job is in good shape and the colors are already neutral, walk thru and touch up any spots that may need attention.  Don’t forget the trim and doors!  I have found of the years, that the Tide magic eraser can do wonders on scuff marks on trim and walls.

Neutralize Paint

Having to paint a room or even worse an entire interior is a daunting task.  Consider repainting any highly personalized paint choices.  Give your buyers a clean neutral palette to work with.  When selling your home nothing gives a greater return than a fresh neutral paint job.

Less is More

Often how you live in a home suits your personal needs.  But when it comes time to sell less is more.  Leave enough furniture to define a room but make sure you open up the flow and space.  It will help rooms feel more spacious and allow buyers to take ownership of the room.    Become a minimalist with your furniture when preparing to sell.  Again you are selling spaces, not your stuff

Define Your Spaces

Home buyers may need a little help.  Make sure each room has a clearly defined use as well as use them for their intended use.  A bedroom should look like a bedroom.  A lower level family room should look like a family room.  Often if you don’t define spaces you leave buyers confused.    For example what defines a bedroom…. a bed with a nightstand and a table lamp and a small dresser….  that’s it.  Nothing else is needed to define a bedroom space, yet, it tells the buyer what the room is.

Curb appeal

The approach to your house is going to leave the first impression your home buyers will have of your home.  Leave your home buyers with a lasting good impression.  Make sure walkways are weeded and in good repair.  Any gardens should be trimmed and well kept.  Entry ways should be clean, freshly painted and in good repair.  The curb appeal of your home can set the tone for the whole showing.

Don’t Forget the Outdoor Living Areas

Many homes include decks, patios, play areas, fire pits and more.  Make sure these areas look as good as the inside of your home.  Attractive outdoor areas that can give the perception of additional living space if it is an area a buyer wants to spend time.

Swap out outdated fixtures

With the Home Depots and Lowes of the world, buying light fixtures, faucets and cabinet hardware is easy and inexpensive.  Replacing some outdated fixtures can freshen up the look of your home. Consider swapping out switch and outlet plates that are outdated or dirty as well.

Let The Light In

Window treatment can be highly personalized and certainly can impede the natural light getting in.  Consider removing heavy draperies and if you feel you need privacy, use simple sheers pulled aside instead.  There certainly is nothing wrong with having absolutely no window treatments at all.  Keep it simple and make sure you let all the natural light in you can.

Do all the Small Nuisance Repairs

Leaky faucets, doors not closing properly, loose door handles, etc….. will show up in your home inspection and for most homeowners are simple repairs.  Knock out all the nuisance repairs you can before your home goes on the market.   Get ahead of the home inspector by eliminating all the nuisance repairs, will pair down the list for buyers and be less daunting.

Get Your AC and Furnace Serviced and Cleaned

Your HVAC system is on of your homes systems that will get a lot of attention from buyers and home inspectors. Buyers fear a failed furnace due to the high cost shortly after moving in.  And, inspectors pay a lot of attention to the HVAC system because of liability.  Replace the filter, and get the entire system cleaned and serviced just prior to listing your home. Make sure you save your paperwork!

Kitchens and Baths Sell Homes

Kitchens and baths can make or break you.  Pay extra attention to your kitchens and baths.  Have you done everything you can to make your kitchens and baths attractive to buyers in your price range and with in your budget.  Maybe a new vanity and some new fixtures can go a long way in a outdated bath. Or, maybe a new countertop and some updated hardware can be a quick remedy for an outdated kitchen that doesn’t need to break the bank.

Replace Burned Out Light Bulbs

Go through your house and replace all bulbs that are burned out. Also make sure the bulbs math in each room and are of the same color temperature and wattage.  Also consider adding table lamps or floor lamps in room that lack adequate lighting.  Remember a lot of your showings will be in the evenings.

Don’t Overlook Your Garage and Basement 

Different areas of the home hold importance for different buyers.  The garage or basement might hold high importance for a potential buyer and you should apply all of the above principles to the garage and basement as well.  Well organized, well lit, and clean basements and garages will be the frosting on the cake for many buyers.

Minimize The Existence of Pets

Not everyone loves your furry friends as much as you do.  For many home buyers the existence of a pet conjure up smells that can’t be eliminated and pet dander that aggravates the allergies.  While you cannot completely hide the existence of pets make sure you minimize you minimize your pets existence when selling your home.

Power Wash Your Exterior

A good power washing can really freshen up the exterior of your home and make it sparkle.  Definitely consider it if mildew has built up on the siding  that you haven’t addressed in awhile.  Nothing beats a professional power washing, but if that doesn’t match your budget consider renting a power washer or borrowing from a friend.  And, while you have the power washer hit the walkways, foundation, decks and patio as well!!

Final Thought on Inexpensive Way to Prepare Your Home For Sale

Hopefully this post has provided you with some very inexpensive ways to prepare your home for your upcoming sale.  Sometimes small thing can provide a big impact either in your return on dollars or it will make selling your home much easier with less aggravation.   Again, bring your agent in early so they can help decide what my provide the most bank for your efforts and dollars spent.

21 Inexpensive Ways To Prepare Your Home For Sale is written by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate. If you would like to sell your home or buy a new home give me a call at 978-360-0422 and let’s get the process started.

Real Estate Services in the following areas: Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest. Including the following communities and the surrounding area- Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lowell, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford