Today’s challenging housing market means homeowners need to think like potential buyers to bring off that successful home sale. What would make a house desirable to you if you were in the market for a new home? Taking some of the simple, relatively inexpensive steps below can help you make your home appealing, perhaps even irresistible, to potential buyers. Here are four easy ways to improve your home before putting it on the market.
Stage Your Home
Estate agents these days are encouraging sellers to “stage” their home, which can include anything from doing a massive clearing out of clutter to simply lighting a fire to create a warm, welcoming ambience. While professional stagers or interior designers can be hired to help set up a home to make it desirable to a buyer, with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can do it yourself for almost no cash. First, remove all clutter, keeping in mind that less furniture lends a more spacious look to rooms and lets the buyer imagine how the house would look with his or her belongings set about. After that, thoroughly clean the entire house from attic to cellar, buffing wood floors and making sure ceilings are cobweb-free. In winter, turn the heat up and set some spices simmering on the stove before a showing; your home will be cosy and smell of just-baked pies. Warmer weather calls for the breezy allure of open windows, clutter-free decks and homey jars of flowers.
Create Curb Appeal
You’ll want to make a smashing impression with a potential buyer’s all-important first glimpse of your home. Creating a beautiful exterior need not mean expensive repairs, a fancy new deck or pricey landscaping. Get out there with your garden implements and be sure the lawn is kept mowed, scraggly shrubs and hedges are trimmed and flower beds are properly weeded. To lend a neat, well-tended look, touch up paint on doors and trim and be sure all windows are free of streaks and grime. A pool can be seen as a detriment to some potential buyers, but if you have one, be sure the area around it is clean and free of clutter. Add some potted shrubs and a pretty outdoor furniture set with colourful cushions and to create a little outdoor oasis.
The Magic of Paint
A fresh coat of paint can work wonders to make a home look clean, bright and updated for relatively little money; paint also has the added benefit of creating “new house smell”. Try to stick to neutral hues, as more dramatic tones have less of a wide-ranging appeal. Whites and creams also have the advantage of creating an illusion of larger, airier rooms. Don’t forget to freshen up painted trim and doors as well as walls. If you have wood floors, even a single coat of polyurethane will instantly give a newly-refinished look to dingy treads and is well worth the slight inconvenience of moving furniture about temporarily.
Impress with Scents
An often-overlooked facet of home appeal is smells. While an unpleasant odour can be a deal-breaker, appealing scents like fresh flowers, scented candles or just putting a few drops of vanilla to simmer on the stove can conjure a cosy, homey atmosphere that, hopefully, the potential buyer will want to come home to. On the other hand, it is also very important to rid your home of undesirable smells, as they can make a lasting and unfortunate impression. Keep dogs freshly shampooed, make sure the litter box is clean, and try to make arrangements to have pets out of the house during a showing. Be sure your home is thoroughly vacuumed and areas where pets tend to sleep are treated with fabric fresheners; not only might pet odours be offensive, but some potential buyers may be allergic and reluctant to buy where there have been pets in residence. Mould and mildew must be eradicated as they can be a major deal-breaker; pay special attention to damp areas like cellars and bathrooms. Trash should be removed regularly and the refrigerator kept tidy and clean.
For very little time and trouble, you can make changes to your home that will make it irresistible to potential buyers. A thorough cleaning, some fresh paint, a welcoming exterior and the sweet scents of a happy home can help sell your house in any market.