I have heard from several Windsor home owners that they want to sell, but they think it will cost too much to make the needed repairs or updates. This is what I always say in reply: You would be surprised what a difference you can make with your property for little money.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot to get the most money out of your home. True, the majority of buyers are looking for move-in ready homes, but if your house is priced correctly, and in a good location, buyers will overlook certain things. Many home improvements just take some elbow grease and require very little money. Here is what I suggest if you want to update your home, but don’t have lots to spend.
How much does a gallon of paint cost? You can totally transform a room in a day with a simple coat of paint. Take this one example that made a HUGE difference to some clients recently. They were selling their house, but the bedrooms were painted in bright bold colours. Not only did it make the rooms look smaller, but you practically needed sunglasses when you walked in. At under $100 dollars, they painted each of the three bedrooms a neutral colour that made such an incredible difference you almost thought you were walking into the wrong bedrooms based on what they looked like before.
But don’t let a bucket of paint stop you. Even if you have a room that is freshly painted, if you fill it back up with clutter, then you basically shot yourself in the foot. Once a room is painted, only put in what you need and get rid of clutter or anything that personalises the room. For example, put in a bed, a dresser and end table if necessary. Forget posters on the walls, too many toys or clothes stuffed in a closet or anything that makes it impossible for a buyer to imagine living in your house. This goes for every room. This costs nothing, but takes some work. Walk around model homes to get an idea of how clutter free a home should be.
The old saying goes: “Buyers like wallpaper, just not your wallpaper.” Because this is a very personal decorating choice, the best thing we can advise you is to remove the paper and repaint. Again, this costs very little and the impact is sudden and dramatic. I have seen buyers walk out of a home that is otherwise a good buy, they just don’t want to mess with taking down wallpaper. Should they ignore this? Yes, but many don’t.
It costs nothing to clean a home, just time. Buyers want to walk into a home that not only looks clean, but smells clean. While this may seem like a no brainer, cleaning just doesn’t mean walking around and sweeping the floor and wiping down counters prior to a showing. It means scrubbing walls if necessary, hosing screen doors, wiping down doors, getting cobwebs off by the front door. It’s a deep cleaning that may take some time, but believe me, if you don’t do anything else, make sure your home is clean. I have seen houses where sellers leave dirty bathrooms, beds unmade, dishes in the sink and lots of other unpleasant things for a showing. I guarantee you, buyers can’t see beyond this.
I’m not talking about completely redoing your front yard, but make sure that it is properly cared for. Mow it regularly (even twice a week during the summer if necessary), pull weeds, plant seasonal flowers and trim hedges, bushes and trees. Make that first impression count! If you have animals, make sure you clean up after them. Also, if you have young children, put away all outdoor toys prior to a showing.
At the very least, make all necessary small repairs. Do you have a faucet that is leaking? Fix it. What about a door that gets stuck every time you try to open it? Fix that as well. Remember, if your buyers walk in and hear drip, drip, drip or have trouble managing a door, they are going to wonder what else is wrong. Usually, smaller repairs can be handled at a low cost. Look on the Internet to see if you can repair yourself.
Finally, flooring is a big deal with buyers. If they see carpet that is worn and dirty or tile that is cracked, they will immediately start deducting money if they think they may want to make an offer. At the very least, get carpets cleaned or rent a professional machine to do yourself. If you have floors that need to be repaired, sanded or polished, then at least get three estimates to see if this is something you can manage financially.
All of the above improvements cost very little money yet can make the biggest difference. For all sellers, take comfort in the fact that it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg to get your home ready for the real estate market.