Selling your home? Guarantee your home sells faster and for the best price with these simple upgrades (no contractor necessary).
When you’re ready to sell your home, it’s important to hire a knowledgeable real estate agent, research comps so you know how to price it, and host open houses and home tours. But even before you do that, you’ll want to make sure your home is in the right condition to sell fast.
While you may not feel motivated to do complete renovations, there are simple things you can do on your own to ensure that your home is ready to sell. Consider these 11 simple upgrades before you list your home.
1. Make a Good First Impression
You may want to put that three-bed, one-bath starter in your rearview mirror, but it has the potential to be someone else’s dream home. Anything that diminishes the shine of newness in a potential buyer’s eye is a reason to pass on your house and move to the next listing. These negative perceptions can be subliminal and not costly to address.
The trick is to fix the flaws someone seeing your home for the first time will notice right away. These could be little things you don’t even see anymore: dirty windows, broken window screens, peeling front porch paint, rust stains in the tub, a cracked driveway, or a rusted fence. To keep a buyer interested, preserve the dream—and positive impression—until your home’s great bones, wonderful amenities, and charming features have the opportunity to speak for themselves.
Tip: Take a walk across the street on a sunny day and look at your house as others see it. Take a few pictures. It’ll be an eye-opener.
2. Prioritize Functionality
Most homes have a few quirky features like a doorbell that doesn’t ring properly or a leaky double-pane window that fogs up in winter. If your water softener is on the fritz or the refrigerator’s icemaker grinds all night, now is the time to get all your appliances and other household features in working order. Make sure all the lightbulbs are replaced, leaky faucets are addressed, and doors are not jamming. Potential buyers will consider it a red flag when things aren’t working properly.
3. Do Some Basic Landscaping
A home landscaping creates a frame for the house itself and produces a favorable impression long before a prospective buyer ever steps inside. You may not have mature shade trees, a brick fence, or a flourishing perennial border, but you can increase the appeal of your landscape by tidying up your lawn and making some of these minor improvements:
- Remove dead or dying trees and prune large trees if they appear lopsided.
- Paint and protect wood fencing, decks, and porches.
- Remove dead shrubs and plants and add new plantings.
- Repair or upgrade your sod and make sure your lawn is mowed.
If the exterior of your home is showing its age, consider adding a new coat of paint. Although most exterior paint products are rated for durability on specific materials like wood or stucco, strong sunlight, wind, seasonal temperature extremes, and persistent moisture from nearby shrubs can shorten the life of exterior paint. This is also a great time to replace discolored or deteriorated siding and roof tiles.
Even if your interior has been painted recently, some paint colors can go out of style and date a home. Every year, new paint colors are released that reflect small but important variations of the classics. A new coat of paint gives old walls new life. Homebuyers want to make a new start in a new place, so give them a clean slate to work with.
5. Show Off the Storage Space
Great storage helps sell homes. This includes plenty of space to keep functional items organized and within reach but out of sight. Make sure you showcase your home’s great storage options by putting all your kitchen gadgets neatly in cabinets, organizing your garage, and keeping basement storage areas tidy.
If your home is storage challenged, consider adding more options by expanding the storage in your attic or crawlspace or add modular storage to help organize your garage and closets.
6. Upgrade Your Lighting
Most of the light fixtures sold with a new home aren’t the best quality. Replacing them with newer fixtures can help give your home an upscale look and distinguish it from a similar house down the block. Lighting can add functionality to your home, too. Consider upgrading to ceiling fan light fixture units in the warmest rooms in your house. Update prominent fixtures, like the pendant light in your entry and the dining room. It’s also a good idea to add task lighting if your kitchen doesn’t include under-cabinet or over-sink fixtures.
If you’ve lived in the same home for a number of years, it’s a good bet you’ve made space your own. All those delightfully personal features make your house, well, home. They also make it difficult for a potential new buyer to imagine themselves in the space. Any measures you take now to depersonalize your home will help transform it into a new chapter in someone else’s life.
Reassess those dinosaur print bedroom curtains, the rooster wallpaper border in the kitchen, and the well-loved jungle gym in the backyard with an eye toward how someone else will view them. If they don’t have broad appeal, consider removing them now and replacing them with something more generic.
8. Give the Kitchen a Makeover
There’s an old adage that people don’t buy houses, they buy kitchens. If your kitchen needs a makeover, now is the time to reface your cabinets, update your appliances and replace your countertops. Even if you don’t have a big budget to work with, there are still things you can do to make your kitchen look more appealing. Replace accessory items like light fixtures, the faucet, and the cabinet door handles and drawer pulls. Switch out the textiles for crisp, new coordinated curtains, rugs, and towels in currently popular colors. If your kitchen looks tidy and welcoming, your entire home will look more engaging.
9. Beautify the Bath
Your bathroom may never be ready for a spread in “House Beautiful,” but you can still make it look nicer with simple touches. Small changes can reap great visual benefits. Here are a few examples:
- Replace the toilet with a high efficiency model.
- Add a wooden frame to a bare mirror for a more finished look.
- Increase storage with a wall mounted shelf or corner storage unit.
- Replace the shower curtain, towels, and bathmats.
- Potted plants instantly add color and life to a bathroom.
- If you’re feeling more ambitious, replace a single vanity with a double. Depending on your layout, this may not incur much additional plumbing work.
10. Make It Photogenic
These days some of the heavy lifting involved in selling a home is done online with a photo layout. As you update, upgrade, and reevaluate your home’s features and amenities, plan your strategy with a photographer’s eye. A view from above looking down on your entry could appear more dramatic with the addition of a geometric tile floor.
Your living room would probably also look more opulent if you rearranged the furnishings to feature the palladium window or the fireplace. This is a function of clever planning and staging that develops and showcases the best features of your interior and exterior spaces. The better you understand that now, the more likely you are to cultivate appealing features and market them effectively.
11. Cleanliness Matters
A clean house is easier to sell. Dirty carpets, stained tile grout, and grimy kitchen cabinets may not be deal-breakers, but they will cause concern about the types of neglect hiding out of sight. A weekend cleaning marathon can work wonders on a home, so don’t be shy about getting your hands dirty in an effort to make your home look spotless. Is this an upgrade? If your house is dirty, you bet it is.