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24 Cheap, Quick, and Easy Home Selling Tips

24 Cheap, Quick, and Easy Home Selling Tips

Despite increasing values and downward real estate market trends in the Marinwood available home inventory, the challenges faced by many homeowners in selling their home remains the same. Buyers don’t just expect a shiny new stainless steel sink. It seems they are also expecting freshly painted walls, neatly pruned hedges, sparkling hardwood floors, and so much more. In order to make everything easy to show and pleasing to the eye, an unexpected major selling expense may be needed. Many sellers won’t want to make the kind of investment it might take to implement all your “sprucing up” suggestions.

You can always help sellers prioritize the improvements by offering tips based on what needs fixing the most, what competing homes for sale are offering, what area buyers are typically requesting, and — by all means — cost.

Here’s a list of 24 affordable, easy-to-make changes from real-estate pros and top designers:

1. Install power outlets having USB ports in the rooms that don’t have them already, especially in bathrooms, bedrooms and the kitchen.

2. Remove popcorn-style acoustic ceilings since they’re extremely dated and look tacky.

3. Tear down half-walls and exposed posts. These days, buyers are looking for more space in their homes. Partial walls and ceiling-to-floor posts only take away from that sense of open-space. The only walls still standing should be those that maintain privacy or hide the home’s plumbing or its electrical wires.

4. Update the capabilities for Internet and big-screen TVs. You certainly don’t have to install CAT-5 cabling throughout the house; this can require the construction, repair and repainting of the walls. Alternatively, you can find someplace to setup a wireless router.

5. Clean the carpets and hardwood floors. These are often the first feature of a room buyers notice. You certainly don’t have to replace them unless they are terribly damaged. Steam cleaning carpets or waxing the wood floor is relatively inexpensive, often right around $200.

6. Enlarge a small kitchen, making it work more efficiently and feel larger. A couple quick fixes: 1) Update the back splash with stainless steel, mirrors or paint. This will add light and views; and 2) Add an island. This only requires 30” between the counters and island so you can move around in the kitchen comfortably.

7. Clean the garage, an important selling feature. You could paint or power wash the floor, depending on its current condition. Remove all the old junk that has been collected there over the years, so potential buyers can see the great open space available for their own personal stuff.

8. Replace old, dented or corroded door knobs or levers. Allan J. Grant, Chicago architect, suggests the replacements should look clean and new, without being too expensive.

9. Landscaping can increase a home’s value by as much as 15 percent. Your focus should be on mowing the lawn, adding plants with colors, removing tree branches, add fresh redwood mulch.

10. Paint the outside doors, windows, trim, gutters, and downspouts. Then you can go inside to paint the doorways, trim and any walls that need some freshening. Consider colors that move you toward a quiet and comfortable atmosphere. Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray, Yosemite Sand, or Carrington Beige are good potential choices. “Gray is hot right now as an interior color,” says Manchester, Vt.-based designer Amy Thebault. The colors for painting rooms depends on the season. Lighter colors like white, beige and yellow, tend to reflect sunlight, therefore using more natural, less artificial light; while darker colors such as deep blue or brown absorb the sunlight.

11. Remove, discard or store excessive accessories on walls and tabletops in cabinets. Less is more, and you want the house to be seen by prospective buyers without the distraction of too many personal items which can make it harder to imagine themselves in the house. You can always follow the rule of three: Only three things should be left on any surface.

12. Inspect the house before it is listed so you know the condition and can identify structural issues that may hinder any sales. “So many problems cannot be detected by an untrained eye, especially problems usually seen in basements, crawl spaces, or attics”, says BillJacques, president-elect of the American Society of Home Inspectors. “There might be roof damage or a plumbing leak. Many inspectors take photos and provide a detailed report. And if homeowners have repairs made, they should be handled by a qualified licensed contractor.”

13. Equip closets for added storage capability so that rooms look roomier and less cluttered. However, don’t remodel all the closets, or do it too elaborately. “Top candidates for a remodel include the entry closet giving an inviting first impression, the kitchen pantries storage being a key, and the linen closet keeping towels, sheets, and other things neat,” says Ginny Snook Scott, California Closets Co chief design officer. “The costs needn’t be excessive. A linen closet can be fitted with baskets and cubbies for between $500 and $600, an entry closet for between $400 and $700, each dependent on closet size and features,” she says.

14. Make improvements to the home’s energy “envelope”. You should invest in improving your home’s energy efficiency. Allocate some funds to install insulated double-paned windows, energy-efficient appliances, sealed furnace ducts, LED and compact fluorescent lights, the latest programmable thermostats, and a smart sprinkler system to decrease water usage, recommends Kate Latham, WattzON energy consultant. Located in Mountain View, Calif., WattzON analyzes home energy use in an effort to cut costs. “After a few months, sellers can show buyers how costs have dropped. They also should put together a green manual to show which features they added,” she also explains.

15. Improve your home’s condition by using adhesives and paints with low or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). You should highlight these changes to your prospective buyers, Latham says.

16. When possible, arrange each room’s furniture conversationally. For instance, you should not set the family room furnishings so they all face the TV. Most potential buyers respond favorably to the concept of open room surroundings for socializing.

17. Remove and/or replace faded draperies, rugs, and fabrics. Alternatively, you can leave floors and windows bare. Slipcovers, can also be used to cover worn furniture in an affordable decorative fashion, changing each season.

18. Replace old, worn, or dated bedding. Prior to the showing, pillows and covers should be fluffed, and beds should be made neatly. Affordable bedding accessories can be found at e-commerce websites like Overstock.com and traditional discount stores such as Target.

19. Dispose of old magazines. “You absolutely do not want a year-old People magazine; it appears as if nobody cares or even lives in the house,” warns Thebault.

20. Check smells frequently. In addition to eliminating bad odors from old mildew and pets, you should arrange for a nice fresh fragrance. But, do not go overboard on scents originating from candles. For example, a light citrus or lavender spray is quite fragrant and inoffensive. Always open the windows to get some fresh air prior to the showing.

21. Good lighting makes rooms larger and lighter during showings. Cool and warm colors, instead of fluorescent colors are preferred snd although they are not as energy efficient, 60-watt light bulbs make a good choice to create the atmosphere potential buyers are looking for.

22. Choose plants instead of flowers indoors because plants last longer, however either choice will add a sense of vivaciousness to the room.

23. Don’t forget your bathrooms. Ensure the towels have been freshly laundered, there is fresh soap (or even better colorfully wrapped new) in the soap dish, mirrors are spotless, and there isn’t any mildew in view. Add some color to the bathroom so it doesn’t look washed out. Using muted color bath towels can help

24. Make sure your home is competitively priced compared to homes in your area and the current market. In most real estate markets , this is still the most important pre-sale “fix” that enables your house to sell quickly. Click here to review the latest monthly Marinwood real estate market trends. And, if you are considering selling your home, contact Liz McCarthy as soon as possible.  I have many buyers that are pre-approved and are ready to go!

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