The most important thing you can do when your home is on the market is to keep it clean. On the plus side, this is free if you already have cleaning supplies on hand. On the downside, cleaning the house is almost impossible if you have children living in the home.
Start by designating a clean-out day where every member of your family purges the belongings they no longer need. Once you thin out your collection of home goods, clothing and toys, give your children an incentive to keep things picked up and in place. This could be something as simple and cheap as an extra 30 minutes at the school playground or a postponed bedtime.
Redecorate Sans Specific Style
You want your property to appeal to as many buyers in your price range as possible. After cleanliness, the best way to do this is to create a neutral color palette. The kids’ rooms may look great in bright pink and blue hues but it’s difficult for potential buyers to see past vibrant, over-personalized decor. Before you head out to your local home improvement store, put on your savers cap and check first for online discounts or other budget-friendly coupons. For example, save money at Lowe’s if you shop their weekly discounts. De-styling your home doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
Ask any real estate agent and they will tell you that the way your home is staged can have a major impact on how buyers view the property. The National Association of Realtors reports that staging can even increase your home’s value by up to 10 percent and reduce its time spent on the market. A good flow will allow visitors to move seamlessly from one room to the next and create an overall feeling of efficiency inside the home. But paying a home stager or renting furniture can cost a small fortune — up to $6,000. Instead, look at the way your existing furniture is arranged. Can a bed be turned to create a more open feeling in the bedroom? Is the sofa blocking a view of the fireplace? A few tweaks to large items can make a huge difference.
You may also consider moving pieces from one room to the next. For example, if your children share a bedroom and it’s larger than your own, swap sleeping spaces for a while and relocate your king-size bed to their bedroom.
There are small issues lurking around each corner that you’ve learned to overlook. Crayon marks on the cabinets, cracked tiles, and a squeaky back door are all minor nuisances that will stand out at your open house. Ask a friend to walk through the property and point out all the small things you should take care of before the ‘For Sale’ sign hits the lawn. Bob Villa can get you started with these $10 home repairs. If you’re looking to add value, many DIY projects can help you get the most out of your investment. HomeAdvisor lists bathroom upgrades, kitchen cabinets, and added lighting among these.
Clean the Yard
Your living room looks like a showplace, all the maintenance is done and your house is ready to follow in the path of the first little piggy. Your lawn might be another story altogether. Curb appeal, the attractiveness of the property from the street, can actually make or break your abode off-loading efforts. Make sure the grass is neat and tidy, toys are put away, and the weeds have been evicted from the flower beds.
Fortune Builders also suggests taming overgrowth around the property. A new layer of mulch where applicable and some small flowers may cost you $50, but the impact of an attractive lawn will more than pay for itself. If you’re planting or mulching, shop sales first.
With a little elbow grease and sweat, you can make your home real-estate-ready without dipping into the kids’ college fund. No one can predict the market, but, chances are, by cleaning, staging and fixing minor problems, you’ll get more out of your investment and in less time than if you’d left these little issues linger.