Whether you’re moving to a new area or your family is growing and you need more space than your current home offers, selling your home can be a bittersweet—and occasionally frustrating—experience. Regardless of your feelings for your current home, selling a home is always easier when it’s a quick process, but many homeowners are stuck with “For Sale” signs in their lawns for weeks, months, or even years.
There’s nothing worse than playing the waiting game and being stuck in housing limbo, especially when you’re ready to move on with your life due to career, family, or other needs that prompted the move in the first place. Fortunately, there are several small changes you can make that will help your home stand out from the competition and have potential buyers lining up for a chance at being its new owners.
Check out Blindster’s tips below for a few highly effective “shortcuts” in the home-selling process that will help you find buyers willing to sign on the dotted line as soon as possible:
- Clean the exterior of your home.
No matter how beautiful your home’s design and architecture may be, the first things that potential buyers will notice are typically things that can be cleaned up, cleared away, or contained and placed in storage with just a few hours of work. To make your home look more appealing to buyers, take the time to put away any clutter, such as children’s toys or miscellaneous lawn furniture, from your outdoor areas. Next, remove any neglected landscaping that detracts from the appearance of your home, such as damaged or dying plants and shrubs. Finally, clear away things like cobwebs and spider webs that can accumulate near light fixtures or in eaves and awnings on the exterior of your home.
- Showcase your kitchen at its best.
Kitchens are becoming the most important room in the home, so it’s vital that yours looks especially inviting and comfortable when potential buyers stop by for a tour. Remove as many cooking gadgets as possible from the countertops to show off the ample counter space (or to make minimal counter space appear more plentiful), and take the time to scrub down every surface, from the floor and floorboards to the backsplash and the faucet. While it’s not necessary to replace all of your appliances with brand new, state-of-the-art models, showing off a sparkling clean kitchen can help sway buyers who might be on the fence.
- Let as much light into your home as possible.
When it comes to natural light, it’s best to err on the side of caution by letting in too much light rather than not enough. That means opening up your blinds or shades, pulling back your curtains and drapes, and thoroughly cleaning your windows, inside and out. You also may need to trim outdoor landscaping that’s blocking light from entering your home, including bushes and trees. If you have windows with no window coverings, consider purchasing sheer shades to enhance their appearance while preserving as much natural light as possible.
- Remove personal items, such as family portraits or other mementos.
The biggest thing to remember when selling your home is that potential buyers are imagining what life would be like in your home the second they walk through the door. The quickest way to shatter that illusion is to greet them with a house full of reminders that someone else currently lives there. While you don’t have to completely strip your home of its identity and the memories you’ve created with your family, it can be beneficial to reduce the number you have on display, especially in large common areas like the living room, dining room, or kitchen.
- Clean any problem areas on your carpet, tile, or hardwood floors.
Flooring preferences can vary widely from would-be buyer to would-be buyer, with one family preferring carpet and another preferring hardwood. While it’s impossible to anticipate the desires of every homebuyer, you can reduce or eliminate most knee-jerk reactions by making sure your floors are clean and stain-free. Use standard carpet cleaner to remove any carpet stains, and consider renting a steam cleaner for stubborn stains that are deeply embedded in the carpet fibers. Mopping hard surfaces, such as vinyl and tile, can help restore their luster, while hardwood can benefit from scrubbing away scuffs and buffing out scratches.
- Fix broken light switches and replace light bulbs and smoke detector batteries.
Even the most thoroughly cleaned and well-staged home will cause a few raised eyebrows if a would-be buyer turns on a light switch and nothing happens. Make sure all of your light switches work, and if any have stopped working, consider hiring an electrician to fix the problem. In addition, go through your home and replace any light bulbs that have dimmed or burned out, and replace batteries in your smoke detector to make sure your potential buyers aren’t greeted with that trademark chirping sound as they tour your home. The fewer the chores buyers have to complete the day they move in, the better they’ll feel about buying your home.
- Get creative with storage options to show off the possibilities.
Even if you’re not in dire need of all the storage options in your home, having more places to put stuff—even if it has to be done creatively—is always better than not having enough. Make the most of your closets by organizing them as much as possible and maximizing the available space with shelves, shoe racks, plastic storage bins, and other items designed to eliminate clutter. By getting creative with your own organization, you can make small closets look much larger and appeal to families with serious storage needs.
- Avoid spending too much money on makeovers, repairs, and enhancements.
In most cases, making your home more attractive to buyers requires nothing more than the tips listed above. However, it’s also important to not get carried away and spend too much time or money on overhauling your home. Extensive renovations in your kitchen or bathrooms may make your home more enticing to buyers, but there’s also a good chance you won’t be able to recoup the money you invested, and you also won’t be able to enjoy the new renovations. Instead, focus on making your current home look as warm and inviting as possible for potential buyers without breaking the bank, and save the major renovation dollars for your next home.