How to Get Your House Ready to Sell: First Tackle the Exterior
Like it or not, a buyer will make a judgment about your home in less than one-tenth of a second after they drive up. So the exterior needs to sing!
- Paint the front door and trim. If you don’t have the time or money to hire a painter to redo the entire outside of the house, painting the front door and trim yourself can freshen the overall look.
- Add potted plants by the front door. You can add instant style with pots and plants to create a warm and welcoming look. Pick up a stylish pottery at your local home goods store and ask a nearby nursery for guidance on which plants will look best.
- Create a haven in the backyard. If you don’t have a patio, build one in a weekend with flagstone. It doesn’t require mortar and adds a more natural look to your backyard than a wood or concrete deck. You can also add potted plants, a little bistro table, and chairs, as well as market lights to create a haven in which every buyer will want to spend time.
(You may also want to read How to Attract More Buyers by Increasing Curb Appeal.)
Painting the front door a bright color is an instant update for the exterior of your home. It will add vibrancy to the overall look plus it’ll only take one can of paint and a few hours to complete.
Interior of Your Home
If the outside of your home wowed prospective buyers, you want that feeling to continue once they’ve stepped over the threshold. Here are some quick DIY updates that will accomplish just that:
- Modernize your light switches. Instead of leaving the ancient light switches that flick on and off, update them with a sleek push switch or dimmer. Not only do these switches look more modern, they make the whole room feel that way.
- Update your lighting fixtures. Artists have come up with so many creative ways to light a room, it doesn’t make sense to leave the boring pendants in the kitchen or exposed bulbs in the bathroom. You may need to call a professional for installation, but consider hanging a modern chandelier in the entrance way, kitchen or even in the bathroom if your ceiling is high enough. If it isn’t, trade exposed bulbs for sleek wall sconces. All of your lights will be on during the open house so your fixtures are something prospective buyers are going to notice. If they’ve been updated, they’ll make the entire room look fresher.
- Replace the faucets in the sinks. This is a great novice-level plumbing project that you can complete in an afternoon. Choose updated styles, turn off the water, and follow the rest of the instructions carefully. If you feel like you’re in over your head, consult with a professional to finish the project.
- Paint or strip and stain your cabinets and drawers. In a weekend you can have your kitchen looking brand new just by painting or staining the cabinets and drawers. Doing this project yourself is much cheaper than paying for a full cabinet replacement and will also take much less time.
- Update the drawer pulls and cabinet handles. Another way to make your kitchen look updated is to modernize the hardware on the drawer pulls and cabinet handles. Choose a classic finish like nickel and clean lines and you’ll add instant value to your home.
- Replace a major appliance like the stove or refrigerator. Refrigerators, stoves, and sinks are the focal points in a kitchen, so you want to make sure they look updated. You may not be skilled enough to install a new sink, but a new refrigerator is easy. You just need a dolly, a wrench, a screwdriver and possibly a friend to help.
- Replace a bathroom or closet door with something decorative. One way to give the illusion of a bathroom remodel is to replace a solid wood door with something that contains frosted glass or an ornate design. It will catch buyers’ eyes and let them know something special is behind it. Just make sure you’ve also painted the bathroom and updated the fixtures.
When choosing a paint color for the walls behind that bathroom door, consider a blue hue. When conducting their paint color survey, Zillow found that homes with blue bathrooms sold for $5,400 more than expected. To learn more, read Harness the Power of Color to Sell Your Home.
- Install new window treatments. Windows are the eyes of the house so you want to make sure they’re framed with something attractive and functional. Buyers’ eyes will be drawn to the windows, especially if you have a view, so anything old, outdated, or broken will be noticed immediately and could leave a bad impression.
- Replace mismatched, missing, or damaged moldings and baseboards. The molding and baseboards throughout your house will show the most wear, especially if you have kids, and you may not notice it because it’s not in your direct line of site. But a buyer will. You may not have the skill or time to replace all of the crown molding or baseboards in your home, but with a screwdriver and some time, you can make it look like you did.
A complete home remodel may not be a possibility but the good news is, there are certain updates you can make yourself in a matter of days. And then you can get your house on the market quickly and in a condition that will garner plenty of buyers’ interest.