Ways to Make Your Home More Appealing to Buyers — Without Renovating
These days, it seems like agents expect home sellers to pull out all the stops for home remodeling before the property can go on the market. Indeed, buyers do like to see a trendy, attractive and obviously well-maintained home, but in truth, you don’t have to blow $20,000 on repairs and renovations only to move out in a month or two. Instead, you can perform the following quick fixes that bring more buyers to your door.
Choose the Right Agent
Good real estate agents can start a bidding war on a condemned shack. Meanwhile, bad real estate agents will allow an impeccably remodeled mansion to linger on the market for years. Before you put your home up for sale, you need to find a broker who has experience selling properties in your neighborhood — and thus who knows what buyers want and what comps apply. You should also look for someone who is tech-savvy and uses many tools to sell your home — not just some outdated MLS. If your agent doesn’t have exact answers to your questions, doesn’t bother to keep in constant contact and doesn’t seem to be familiar with your area, you should search for someone new. And you should never, never, try to sell-by-owner.
Rethink Your Price
If you find a good agent, you should trust the price tag they put on your property. However, if you still aren’t sure that your agent is any good, you might want to do your own research about your property’s price. You can hire an appraiser to tell you the value of your property, or you can use online tools that use information from your area code and home size. The ideal selling price is about 10 to 15 percent less than the true value; by shaving down the price, you are more likely to start bidding wars that give you more than your home’s real worth.
If your property doesn’t look as good as it is — for example, if the structure is sound but your kitchen transports visitors to the ‘90s — you might want to reassure potential buyers of their purchase by offering a home warranty for sellers. Home warranties are like guarantees on the home’s systems; by paying for a year’s home warranty, you are basically telling buyers that the HVAC, plumbing, electrical and large appliances won’t fail. This is a must for older properties, 15 years in age–plus.
Pack Your Personal Items
Even if you don’t want to professionally stage your home, you can make it look more appealing to buyers by relocating personal touches to moving boxes stored in the garage. Buyers should be encouraged to imagine their lives in the home, and pictures of your family, your gnome collection in the garden and stacks of your mail simply prevent them from seeing themselves living there. If you can’t store this stuff in the garage, you should at least stash it in an out-of-the-way closet.
Hide Your Pets
Plenty of people love pets — except when they are buying a house. Whenever a home tour is scheduled, you should put away signs of your furry friends, including their food and water dishes as well as any toys and beds. Then, you should bring your pooch or kitty with you, so potential buyers aren’t chased off the property by your protective pets. It might be easier to relocate your pet to a friend or family member’s house while you try to sell your home.
Even worse than personal items and pets is clutter. Stuff can build up on flat surfaces around your home — junk mail, hats and scarves, craft projects, etc. — and while your eyes might skate right over it, buyers’ eyes don’t. Clutter is off-putting to essentially every visitor to your home, so it’s a good idea to develop organization as a habit, not just do it when you need to sell a home. However, this is a great opportunity to try out an organization strategy, like the KonMari Method that is so hot right now.
Illuminate Inside and Out
There’s a reason people get depressed in winter: A lack of light is off-putting. You don’t need to remodel your home with glass walls and ceilings, but you should try to add more illumination where you can. Exterior lighting is particularly important because many homebuyers tour properties after work, when the sun is setting. You might also swap out dated fixtures with LED options that shed more light in important rooms, like the kitchen and living rooms.
You don’t have to drop $20,000 to make your home market-ready. In some areas, virtually every property sells fast, but if you want your home to sell fast and for a good price, you should take the above steps to appeal to buyers.