In a competitive selling market, it’s vital to make sure you take advantage of any way to give your home an edge over the competition.
Many sellers make expensive home improvements in the hopes of attracting buyers. But, even if you’re on a budget, there are ways to boost curb appeal and increase the value of your home to make your home competitive in today’s seller’s market.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover eight low-cost upgrades you can make to your home today. We tried to keep all of the upgrades under $100 so that you can stick to your budget while still making a big difference in your home.
1. Paint the front door ($30)
One of the first things a potential buyer will notice about your home is the front door. Putting on a fresh coat of paint, especially one that pops and contrasts with the color of your home, will help to make it stand out on the block.
2. Paint your interior trim and baseboards ($75 - $100)
Baseboards often get dirty or scuffed up over the years. Putting a fresh coat of paint will make the entire room look like new. Stick with white for most rooms--it will brighten them up and make them feel clean.
3. Replace your outlet and light switch plates ($20)
They get dirty, they crack, and they get covered in messy paint every time you repaint your walls. Outlet and switch plates see a lot of wear and tear, and a dirty one can be off-putting for potential buyers.
For just a few dollars each or less, replace them all to give the rooms of your home a facelift.
4. Replace fixtures ($50 - $100)
Whether it’s the knobs of your kitchen cabinets or faucet fixtures, there are a number of small items in the kitchen and bathrooms that can be upgraded.
Stainless steel is now out of style, with homeowners choosing brushed nickel and bronze over the traditional stainless.
5. Choose a new shower head ($30 - $50)
Installing a shower head is a lot easier than it looks. Plus, luxurious looking shower heads can be purchased for less than $50 on Amazon, making them a great choice to add a touch of indulgence to the shower.
6. Add new bright, energy efficient lighting ($30 - $50)
Bright LEDs can make a room feel more spacious and modern, and it can save you a few dollars on the electric bill. Installing new lights throughout the home is a good way to show off what lies within.
7. Paint or replace your mailbox ($20 - $80)
Mailboxes can easily get dirty and dented over the years and most of us pay little mind to them. But prospective buyers likely will be on the lookout for any signs of neglect when they view your home. Having a freshly painted mailbox will leave a good first impression.
8. Rent a pressure washer for a day ($50 - $100)
Pressure washing the exterior of your home can make a huge difference when it comes to upgrading curb appeal. Vinyl siding gets dirty quickly and isn’t all that easy to clean.
You can rent a pressure washer from The Home Depot or your local hardware store for typically less than $100 a day.
There are a lot of factors that can cause one house to sell quickly, while others in the neighborhood languish on the market for months.
In many cases, homes are scooped up because of a desirable location, a great school district, or irresistible curb appeal.
While all buyers have their priority items and wish lists in mind when shopping for a new home, final decisions are often based on psychological factors, emotions, and gut feelings -- not just cold, hard facts!
If you're getting ready to put your house on the market, here are a few strategies for improving your chances of making a fast sale:
Good feelings help sell houses. Prospective buyers are going to be drawn to your house if it looks impeccable from the street and well cared-for on the inside. When your home conveys a sense of pride in ownership and attention to detail, it sends a positive psychological message to house hunters. Very often, the power of suggestion can work in your favor when you're trying to make a favorable impression on potential buyers. Displaying fresh flowers, an appetizing bowl of fruit, or even table settings in your dining room or kitchen can help create a more inviting, appealing atmosphere. The right furniture arrangements can conjure up images of family gatherings, intimate conversations, or relaxing afternoons on the backyard deck.
Clutter creates discomfort. If you notice visitors side-stepping past your furniture or walking through your home as if they're navigating a maze, that's a sure sign your house is cluttered. Too much furniture or furniture that's too large and bulky for the space it occupies will make your rooms look and feel cramped. Creating a feeling of spaciousness and openness, on the other hand, helps bring out the best in all areas of your home.
Small touches make a difference. Displaying vases of fresh-cut flowers, an appetizing bowl of fruit in the kitchen, or colorful, new towels in the bathroom can help enhance the ambiance of your home. When conditions permit, the smell of fresh muffins, bread baking, or coffee brewing can infuse your home with a comforting and inviting fragrance. A house that looks and smells clean will also help create a positive multi-sensory experience for your visitors.
The right price can clinch the deal. Ideally, the price of your home should be based on comparable properties in your neighborhood and what they recently sold for. If your home is not in the same ball park, you could easily scare away qualified buyers who would otherwise be ready to make an offer. Working with a real estate agent can help ensure that you're house is competitively priced and that it doesn't linger on the market longer than necessary. Once you get caught in that cycle, the perceived value of your home and it's overall desirability can begin a downward slide. Take steps to prevent that from happening by having a comparative analysis done.
Getting your house ready to be sold can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. Like any large project, though, if you take it one step at a time, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!
The ideal scenario involves having everyone in the family pitch in to keep your house looking its best for each showing. When you divide the labor and work as a team, things get done a lot faster and more efficiently.
Keeping your lawn mowed, bushes trimmed, and house clean on a consistent basis are among the many challenges of always being ready for the next showing. Another common necessity involves applying a fresh coat of paint to walls and other surfaces. That relatively inexpensive step can help make your home look dramatically brighter, vibrant, and more appealing to prospective buyers.
One thing to keep in mind when preparing to put your home on the market is that you (the owner) are probably "too close to the trees to see the forest." In other words, you may be overly accustomed to the appearance, the imperfections, and the décor of your home to be able to identify what needs to be upgraded, fixed, or changed. An experienced real estate agent can help you develop a cost-effective plan for staging your home, enhancing curb appeal, and making necessary improvements to maximize your home's appeal and marketability.
There are dozens of inexpensive things you can do that often have a major impact on the impression you make on potential buyers. Having your carpets, upholstered furniture, and draperies professionally steam-cleaned, for example, can make a world of difference! So can adding a few colorful flower arrangements, inside and out. Lots of light -- both natural and artificial -- also helps make your home look more cheerful and inviting. Keeping your windows crystal clear is another way to make a positive impression, as well as cleaning out your closets to avoid a cluttered, unkempt look.
A few other critical things homeowners sometimes forget to do is clean up dog droppings in the yard, fix squeaky hinges, and remove visible mouse traps from the basement and garage -- especially if there are mice in them! The cleanliness of your cat's litter box is another major priority that can easily be overlooked.
Even the most meticulous, conscientious home sellers can forget to clean, prepare, or organize important things before potential house buyers come to visit, so it's useful to create checklists and routines to get ready for scheduled house showings.
While some homes pose more of a challenge than others when it comes to getting ready for real estate showings, the goal is to make the most of what you have, and do so within your available budget and timeframe.
Putting your home up for sale can elicit a myriad of emotions from you and your spouse -- everything from excitement and anticipation to fear and sadness. It's only natural to feel a mixture of emotions, especially if your home represents years of memories, countless milestones, and stages of family growth.
A cautionary note to keep in mind is that it's easy to get caught up in emotion-based decisions that could derail your chances for making a fast sale.
A primary example would be pricing your home higher than it might actually be worth. Despite the fact that you've experienced great family memories there and spent tens of thousands of dollars to maintain, upgrade, and beautify your home, those factors usually do not translate into a sale price that exceeds the property's appraised value. Your perspective, which may be based on subjective criteria, such as all the "blood, sweat, and tears" you put into your house -- not to mention the "TLC" that went into it -- does not hold water in the minds of would-be buyers.
What Does Determine a Home's Value?
The unvarnished truth is that the value of your home is mostly based on prevailing market conditions, the price at which comparable homes in your neighborhood recently sold, and what the market will bear. Effectively setting a price that will bring in the most money without driving away qualified and otherwise-interested buyers is a delicate balance. The homeowner rarely has the objectivity or the specialized knowledge to accurately set the right price. That's where real estate agents comes in, and why it's advisable to sell your home through a licensed agent, rather than attempting a "For Sale By Owner" approach.
Minimizing Bumps in the Road
A good real estate agent will work on your behalf to effectively market your home, collaborate with other agents in the area to schedule showings and spread the word about your listing, and advise you on ways to improve both the curb appeal of your home and its interior appearance. Your agent can also provide indispensable negotiating help, as well as guidance about seller disclosure requirements and other government regulations.
The bottom line is that real estate agents are well-versed in the intricate process of listing, marketing, and selling residential property. Since there are a lot of forms to sign, deadlines to meet, agreements to reach, and formalities to handle, those are among the many sound reasons to enlist the help of a professional.
Although the process of selling a residential property often involves delays, setbacks, and obstacles, most real estate agents are quite adept at solving problems and getting past difficulties. In addition to the marketing, networking, and strategizing they're doing on your behalf, a good agent can also be counted on to provide you with regular progress reports and boost your spirits when you're feeling discouraged.
If you intend to sell your house, it pays to learn about the home selling process. By doing so, you can understand exactly what it takes to enjoy a seamless home selling experience.
Ultimately, there are three steps to sell your house:
1. Prep Your Residence
Take some time to learn about your residence's strengths and weaknesses. That way, you can identify any problem areas in your house and allocate the necessary time and resources to mitigate any issues that otherwise could slow down your home sale.
In many instances, it is helpful to schedule a home appraisal. During a home appraisal, a property expert will examine your residence both inside and out, as well as evaluate your home in relation to comparable houses in your city or town. Following a home appraisal, you will receive a property valuation that can help you establish a competitive initial asking price for your house.
Also, scrub the floors, clean the kitchen countertops and perform extensive home interior cleaning. And don't forget to mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and complete various home exterior maintenance and upgrades as well.
2. List Your House
Adding your house to the real estate market can be simple, especially if you work with a top-notch real estate agent.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your home selling goals. He or she then will help you get your house ready for the real estate market, thereby increasing the likelihood that your residence will generate lots of interest from potential buyers.
A real estate agent is a must-have during the home selling journey. This housing market professional is unafraid to provide you with honest, unbiased home selling recommendations as you proceed along the home selling cycle. As a result, a real estate agent can help you optimize the value of your residence, regardless of the housing market's conditions.
3. Negotiate and Accept an Offer
Oftentimes, home showings and open houses will be held to showcase your residence to prospective buyers. If buyers like what they see, it may be only a matter of time before you receive multiple offers on your residence.
If you receive a home offer, you probably will have a short amount of time to decide whether to accept, reject or counter this proposal. Consider your options closely, and if you are not satisfied with an offer, you should not hesitate to walk away from the proposal.
On the other hand, if you receive an offer that you like, you can accept it. At this point, a buyer may perform a home inspection to further assess the condition of your house. And if the inspection goes well, it may be only a few weeks before all of the necessary paperwork is finalized and your closing date arrives.
The home selling cycle may seem like a long, arduous process at first. Fortunately, if you follow the aforementioned steps, you can reap the benefits of a fast, profitable home selling experience.