Selling your home might feel like a rush to the finish line. The market is hot right now, you think—so you should hurry up while you can still get a good price. Or perhaps your dream home was just listed, but you can’t move in until your current place sells … so you should expedite this, right?
The problem is, if you move too fast, buyers see right through the fact that you skipped important home renovations. And this, my friends, might end up costing you time and money. Lots of both, in fact.
So take the time to sell your home right. These six home improvements will make your home sell faster and for more cash. And some of them aren’t even very much work.
1. Give it a good Curb Appeal
This is one of the easiest—and cheapest—tricks in the book: Good landscaping can add up to 28% to overall home value. Why pass up free money?
If you have a Front Yard, Hire a landscaper to give your front yard the once-over, or just clean up the details yourself (e.g., edge the lawn, plant flowers), and update the outdoor furniture on the front porch to give the space a fresh, “buy me now” appeal.
If don’t have a from yard like most condos and lofts, small changes can still have big impact, such as replace your door mat and repaint or polish your front door.
2. Go for hardwood
Still rocking that old-school carpeting? Get rid of it, like, yesterday. Dirty carpet is the biggest turn-off for buyers.
Right now, carpeting isn’t just an aesthetic choice—it’s a choice that can actively turn away buyers who can’t see beyond it. Instead of noticing what a wonderful, light-filled living room you have, they can think only about just how much money it will cost to get rid of that nasty old carpet. Do it yourself and save them the trouble. What you have underneath might be far more presentable, with a bit of cleaning and refurbishing. If it isn’t, a new floor is a worthwhile investment.
Decided to keep your carpet? At the very least, make sure to clean it thoroughly before buyers come trekking through your home.
3. Fix windows and doors
So you’re selling an older home, complete with creaking windows and doors that don’t open and close easily after years of use. Maybe you’re hoping buyers will overlook the problems in favor of “charm.”
Think again. From our experience, many buyers do open and close windows and doors during showing. If they are not open or close properly, they will think something is off about the property.
You’re not just irritating buyers by refusing to fix broken windows and doors. Ignoring basic repair work might actually cast a pall on your entire home. Buyers may suspect that there are other hidden items in the house that haven’t been keep up either.
4. Paint (and wash!) walls
If any of your rooms are doused in a dark shade, such as eggplant or emerald, cover it up with a coat of light or neutral paint. Buyers find it easier to picture themselves living in a home with neutral walls—plus, they’ll make your home seem larger, cleaner, and far more appealing.
If you still can’t bring yourself to paint over the hues you’ve so carefully selected, consider this: After living in a home for a few years you may become a bit blind to how your walls are showing to newcomers. Fresh paint on the walls in a neutral color is always best, but if your budget does not permit that, washing the walls and doors will do the job.
5. Clean the cabinets
If you’ve never sold a house before, you might be surprised by how bold buyers are. Digging through your drawers? Peeking inside your cabinets? How dare they! But buyers are expected to be little investigators—so be prepared before they start sleuthing. After all, buyers are entitled to see how much storage space is available rather than the clutter you might have there.
Also, check for any loose drawers, hardware, or shelving so buyers don’t wonder what else might be amiss. And hide those strange or semi-incriminating items that aren’t at all meant for public display.
6. Update the lighting
Before putting your home on the market, bring in a second set of eyes (your Realtor or stager is perfect for this) to look over your lighting. Is it dated? Does it serve the space poorly?