In the end, small upgrades and aesthetic swaps can make all the difference in enticing buyers to a home.
Key Article Takeaways:
- Don’t waste time by replacing outdated furnishings, instead take away decorative distractions and start packing all of your personal items, this will show off the actual space and the potential buyer will imagine their items filling it.
- Focus on small design features such as replacing small hardware like doorknobs and handles on cabinets. Upgraded and modern light fixtures are a definite area of focus as well.
When we decide to put a home on the market for sale, the first question that probably comes to mind is, “What do I need to do to prepare for this?!”
Most of us would first imagine that our preparations will most definitely involve keeping the house clean! Then, we explore this question further. We wonder if the leak in the roof finally needs to be repaired. Should we remodel the outdated kitchen and finish the bathroom remodel…and all of a sudden, we wonder if all this work will pay off or not!
In reality, though, two of the biggest hurdles home sellers face have more to do with understanding the buyer and providing a true depiction of the home. Professional appealing photos are crucial to selling these days. Even more important though is backing up those beautiful photos with an incredible showing. How do we do this?
The first answer is easy. Hire a professional who knows how to take beautiful but accurate photos. This means that the photographer knows how to use a fisheye and doesn’t represent things bigger than they actually are. It means there are a lot of photos showing many aspects of the home, and the photos don’t show the lighting so far off from what is actually there. The photos should be bright. The photos should be honest. Done. The second answer is a little more complicated.
A homeowner could very easily spend thousands of dollars on preparing their home for sale, but how can they complete a project of similar impact without spending those thousands of dollars?
The National Association of Realtors produced a report called the Remodeling Impact which shows that the following repairs/changes have the highest ROI (return on investment):
- New roofing: 107%
- New hardwood floors: 106%
- Refinished hardwood floors 100%
Those are great projects to get a ROI. Are there any other “tricks” to prepare a house for a quick sale without spending too much money or time?
Focus on Spaces and Fixtures
Less is more here. For example, you love your display of over 10,000 miniature Elvis paintings that you’ve collected over the years. Your 1970’s furnishings are seriously intact and you haven’t changed any of it since 1975 when you went for the more modern colors of avocado and brown. The heavy bright yellow velvet drapes are super cool and kind of trippy and you think it adds character to the space.
Obvious or not, keeping the decor will hinder the sale of your home. Instead, I would recommend the following:
- Pack away your Elvis paintings. They are cool, but only to you mostly (my apologies to Elvis fans).
- Remove the outdated furnishings, leaving only a bed, a small desk, and a chair. Add an inexpensive (but flattering modern rug or bedspread).
- Remove the heavy yellow drapery.
By removing the distractions, it might highlight the real depth of a larger 17 by 17 foot room, along with the bright, large oversized windows offering an amazing view of the river! The space is more open and potential buyers will be able to see the real size of the room and to visualize living in the space without being distracted by the owners personal preferences.
A Tangible Fix
Replace the things that are often overlooked. Door knobs and cabinetry hardware are two great areas that don’t cost a lot and you can do yourself. Swap out outdated light fixtures and ceiling fans for updated modern designs. Stay simple though, with maybe one or two standout pieces such as a simple chandelier for an entryway or above the dining room. Go with a style that works with the style of the home or follow the trends in your particular market.
Of course, if the floors need work, select an easy to install option. A favorite option these days is a luxury vinyl plank. It looks like beautiful hardwood floors while also being much more durable and water resistant and more affordable than the real thing.
In the kitchen, painting the cabinets can do wonders, and upgrading the hardware will go far. If you have outdated appliances, swap them out for new stainless steel. Change out the faucets and add solid-surface countertops. You only have one opportunity to impress the buyer, so don’t overlook that worn-out dishwasher!
Also, the first thing buyers see when viewing a listing is the outside of the home, so curb appeal is a big deal and doesn’t need to cost much. You don’t need to hire a landscaper to make your outdoor areas shine; small things, such as refreshing mulch, planting seasonal flowers, keeping on top of lawn maintenance, and adding a new doormat, can make an excellent first impression.
These small changes aren’t something to really advertise in a listing though. But it’s okay! What we want to show the potential buyer is that this home has been well cared for versus quickly updated to be on the market.
In the end, small upgrades and aesthetic swaps can make all the difference in drawing buyers to a home. If you aren’t really sure what would make your home more sellable, talk to your Realtor. We tend to have a good eye and educated knowledge to help you make good and valuable decisions before selling your home.