If you're having thoughts about putting your West Chicagoland home on the market for sale, it pays to plan ahead and make an assessment of your home's condition.
Take a step back and look at your home through the eyes of a buyer. What tweaks can you make to help bring out your home's best features? The following are 10 low-cost tips/ideas that will help you prepare your home to be "market ready" to sell fast and for top dollar.
1. Curb Appeal: You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. True story - when I’m out showing homes to buyers and they don’t like the way the outside looks, many times they will not want to take look inside. To them, the outside says it all.
Powerwash: If you don’t own one, borrow one from a friend or you can rent one at Home Depot. Power wash the siding, deck or patio, concrete drive and walks -- it’s amazing how clean & fresh everything looks after it’s been power washed.
Paint: The front door and shutters to give them a new look. Take care of peeling paint.
Outside Lighting: Updating outdoor light is an easy fix.
Fresh Mulch: Definitely a low cost fix to make it look clean & new.
Outdoor furniture: Arrange into conversation areas.
Landscape: Make sure the lawn looks good all the time, trim shrubs and low hanging branches. Add planters filled with plants and flowers by the front door.
2. De-Clutter: Less is more. Too much furniture can make a room appear smaller. Consider arranging a few core pieces in your space and see the difference. The goal is to create an inviting space with a few pieces of furniture.
3. Deep Cleaning: This goes hand in hand with de-cluttering. With less furniture in the way as you’re de-cluttering, is a perfect time to do some deep cleaning. Clear out and pack away kitchen items that you haven’t used in a while. Clean out the closets -- this would be a perfect time to start donating the clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year. Spot treat carpeting or an overall cleaning.
4. Paint: Painting is an inexpensive fix to a tired room. Choose neutral colors for living spaces and slightly more dramatic ones for bathrooms and the dining room. Neutrals need to be warmer tones like tan or khaki, not just an off-white.
5. Staging: Staging gives you a chance to highlight your home’s best features and downplay the worst. You want buyers to be able to see themselves living in your home. That means creating clean, open spaces to help buyers visualize themselves and their furnishings in it.
Also, there are likely some minor repairs that will show up during inspection -- get them done before listing as part of the staging process. Disrepairs make buyers think that your home hasn’t been maintained well so take care of anything that may catch a critical eye.
Stage the whole house to make the best impression. Give special focus to the front entry way and the room visible from it, the main living area, the kitchen, the master bedroom and any bonus areas, like a deck or den. Consider this list of inexpensive changes you can make to effectively stage your home:
- Make sure the Living Room is arranged for conversation as well as for viewing the television. Buyers need to envision sitting in the space and talking without having to move a chair. Accent the room’s best feature, such as adding a pretty plant near the fireplace hearth to draw the eye.
- If your Kitchen cabinets are dated, stain or paint them. Replace scratched or nicked door pulls.
- The Master Bedroom needs to appeal to both sexes, so remove bedding and accessories that are too gender-specific. Paint the walls a neutral color, but choose a bright bedspread or comforter to give the room a focal point.
- Buyers love plenty of storage space and they will open every drawer and closet door. Unclutter all of them and organize your shelves to show off how much storage your home really has.
6. Let the Light in: When a showing is scheduled, open all the blinds and draperies. Turn on lamps and overhead lights. Make all the rooms look as light and airy as possible.
7. Don’t Forget the Garage: Garage organization is not difficult and another low cost fix. Start with getting the large tools out of the way by pulling them all on a rack. Build a few open shelves for larger items such a bins, coolers, baskets & gardening supplies. Powerwash the garage floor. With just a few minor fixes you can make your garage look clean and organized.
8. If you have children or pets: visually reduce their presence so the home appeals to buyers who don’t have them. Confine children’s toys to their rooms, pack many of them away and organize the rest attractively. Place pet’s food bowls and litter boxes out of sight. Be conscientious about pet odors, too. If you need to get rid of old carpet that has trapped smells, do it!
9. Professional Photography: Now that you’ve done all the work to get your home really to sell. Having your home photographed by a professional is key. A professional photographer will capture the best features of your home by mastering angles and lighting. They will make your home look as desirable as possible. After all, you’ve done all the work -- now it’s time to make it shine with the right photos.
10. Don’t Overprice: Some sellers may think that in today’s market they can over price their home to get top dollar. The truth is, if you price your West Chicagoland home competitively, you’ll create a flurry of activity and (possibly) get into a situation where multiple offers are coming in. Overpricing from the start hurts your chances of getting a quick sale.
Additional valuable resources:
- 3 Things To Scutinize Before Selling a Home by Lynn Pineda
- Improvements That Will Boost Your Home's Value by Bill Gassett
- 10 Critical Steps to Take Before Listing Your House for Sale by Andrew Fortune
- Fall Preparations for Home Sale by Wendy Weir
The preparation for getting your West Chicagoland home ready to put on the market for sale may seem overwhelming, but by planning ahead you can complete everything that needs to be done and the outcome with be well worth it.
This Real Estate article “10 Low-Cost Tips to Sell Your Home Fast for Top Dollar” was written by: Maria Mastrolonardo. Maria is a Realtor with RE/MAX of Naperville selling Homes in the West Chicagoland area including Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Downers Grove, Aurora, and Winfield for over 20 years. Call or text Maria at (630) 248-6077 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding real estate.