The state of your home will be one of the determining factors when it comes to its price (alongside the location and the current state of the real estate market). However, the price is not everything. Being able to sell the place, to begin with, is not something that you should underestimate or look over.
First of all, the real estate market is quite saturated, and since fewer millennials buy homes than was the case with previous generations, the demand is quite low. In other words, your home needs to have that particular appeal to attract a potential buyer. The biggest difference here is the one in the presentation.
Another factor that you need to consider is cost-effectiveness. Look at it this way: some improvements would make your life better or easier (the so-called quality of life improvements). However, making these improvements in the home that you intend to sell is not necessarily a smart move (you might lose money on them).
With all of this in mind and without further ado, here are several home update ideas that will make your home ready to sell (and for a reasonable price).
1. Deep cleaning
The first thing you should focus on is a thorough cleaning of the house. Both with rental spaces and places you intend to sell, there’s a dilemma of whether you should be the one to deep clean the place or the potential buyer. The thing is that keeping the place clean seems like good manners on your part. Also, a person moving in might see the gunk and dust as an indicator of poor maintenance. Therefore, they’ll assume that poor hygiene is just a surface problem and that there are more real issues for them to uncover later on.
The starting point should always be decluttering. Keep in mind that some of your personal belongings and furniture don’t go with the house. Therefore, you need to think about storing, moving or discarding them.
One more thing worth keeping in mind is tracking your progress. Unless the hygiene of the place (pre-cleaning) is abysmal, you won’t be able to tell the difference as easily. It will make you suspect that you’re making any progress. To solve this issue, take some photos before and after cleaning the place. When put next to each other, these two images will be drastically different.
2. Fixing broken fixtures
Fixing some of your home’s broken fixtures and appliances is a more cost-effective move than buying new ones. That is incredibly useful during a home inspection. At the very least, the potential buyer will try out the light switch to see if there’s any flickering. A skilled buyer’s agent will ask for a coffee or tea to “field test” the installations in the kitchen.
Noticing a broken picture will cause a negative impact. It will also indicate poor overall maintenance over years (as we’ve already hinted at in the previous section). The thing you need to understand is that the market is incredibly competitive. There are so many places that a potential buyer will look into, and your home will be just one of them.
With so many options, a potential buyer can even afford to trust their gut feeling and skip your place even if they don’t have an objective reason to do so. Not to mention that selling a house with many malfunctioning elements is outright unethical.
3. Working on the exterior
The exterior of your home is more important than you would expect it to be. First of all, it is responsible for the first impression. Simply put, potential buyers will see the place from the outside far before they set a foot inside. So, here are some areas to focus on.
Mowing the lawn and keeping the driveway and sidewalk clean is essential. The simplest way to handle this is to hire a pressure washer and invest a couple of minutes in scrubbing years of gunk from these surfaces. You can apply a similar technique can to your façade.
A freshly mowed lawn gives an impression of high maintenance (something we’ve already discussed in previous sections). If you have a pool, keeping it clean is essential. However, you shouldn’t neglect landscaping around the pool either.
In terms of new projects, the most cost-effective ones are making a backyard deck and paving a couple of paths through your backyard. The latter is particularly important because you get a chance to do so for an incredibly low price. The cost of one square foot of quality pea pebbles is a mere $6. Then again, you could also go with concrete or brick pavers for maximum visual impression.
We talked in the introduction about the presentation of the place as one of the crucial determiners between you being able to sell the place and not being able to do so. With that in mind, there are several things you can do to improve the presentability of your house.
First of all, you need to understand that you’re selling an idea more than you’re selling real estate. In most cases, you’re selling a family home. So, try depersonalizing the space to increase the immersion. Think about it. It will be pretty hard for a person to imagine living there if there are your family photos and mementos from various events in your life lying everywhere around the place.
The second part of this presentation is the one relying on your online presence. The majority (if not all) homes are marketed via specialized real estate platforms. What this means is that the way your home is presented online makes all the difference. Start by giving an accurate description of the place and try to emphasize its unique selling points. You can ask your real estate agent to help you out with some ideas. It is also quite practical to have a professional photographer to help you out.
5. Kitchen and bathroom updates
Most functional areas of the home and the first ones to be visited by a potential buyer are the kitchen and bathroom. However, while remodeling them, you’re walking a fine line between investing in resale price and quality of life. The costs can be astronomical if you’re not careful, and there’s always the risk that you’ll not get a favorable ROI. So, keep it simple.
A major bathroom remodel will drastically improve the quality of life in your home but the ROI will not necessarily be positive. A similar situation is true for any potential kitchen to remodel. For instance, painting both of these rooms is generally a good idea, and it’s quite hard to argue against it. Kitchen cabinet refacing is probably an even better idea. At the same time, making a kitchen island, installing a new tub, etc. is not a smart move for the home that you intend to sell.
You can find a compromise when it comes to a home that you plan to sell in a couple of years (or homes for which you believe there’s a possibility that you’ll want to sell them). For instance, a solar-powered water heater will pay itself off in two years. So, if you don’t plan to sell the place for a few more years, this is generally a good idea.
The very last thing you need to keep in mind is the importance of keeping your eye on the end goals. You’re trying to sell the place and get a good price for it. Therefore, you’re only looking towards methods that get you there. Remember that price can be quite subjective. To determine it, you need a reference point (prices of similar real estate venues) and the subjective impression of the place’s worth. The first can be slightly disrupted if you use these projects to outshine your reference points. The latter can be heavily influenced if you know what you’re doing.
Author – Alison Pearson is an interior design student. She is a writer and designer, and her ultimate passion is home and gardening. She is also a bibliophile and her favorite book is “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner. Follow her on Twitter.