Cleaning up, finding the right real estate agent, and updating small things like light fixtures will help your home sell fast without expensive staging.
Mortgage rates have been falling lower and lower. So why can’t I sell either of my houses?
That’s right, I have two homes to sell: the house I live in now and the house I grew up in. My current home has been on the market for more than a year, and my family home since a month after my mother’s death. But despite showings, open houses, and those historically low mortgage rates, neither has sold.
But I’m confident that will change – because I recently consulted professionals whose advice should help me sell faster. Implementing some of their advice would cost hundreds, but some could be cheap or free…
Let’s start with the potentially most expensive. Staging a home is just about making it more like an uncluttered luxury hotel suite and less like your family’s home. Do it on the inside and outside and your home will probably sell faster and for more.
Sometimes you forget the obvious: The best, smartest thing a homeowner can do is find the right real estate agent for them. There are all kinds of pros out there, with all kinds of approaches and personalities. So how do you find the perfect fit? The easiest ways are also free:
Cleaning is obvious – we shouldn’t even have to mention that a dirty kitchen or bathroom will cost you customers. But clutter is another matter. Step back and try to look at your home the way someone else would for the very first time. The half-dead philodendron? Toss it out. That old ratty hassock? Goodwill.
And what about the garage? If you use it to store everything but your car, clean it out so a prospective buyer can imagine pulling their own vehicle in there. (Although they’ll probably do just like you and use it for storage.)
Mow the lawn. Trim the shrubs. Buy a new welcome mat. Add a hanging plant next to your entrance, or some large terra-cotta pots filled with colorful blooms. This is crucial - online pictures of your front door will likely be the introduction to prospective buyers.
If a professional home staging profession is too expensive, ask a friend or your real estate agent to come in and give an honest assessment of your home. Having someone objective look at what you see everyday can yield results regarding items or spaces you as a homeowner have become blind to.
Substituting one room’s use for another is a cheap way to transform a three-bedroom home with a den into a four-bedroom home. If it doesn’t have a closet, add an armoire. Or maybe your home has a formal dining room that’s never used. Add doors if it doesn’t have them and a freestanding wardrobe – and you’ve got an instant main floor master bedroom.
Nothing can instantly transform a room like a new coat of paint. That’s especially true if you’re going from something dark and dingy (and scratched and dirty) to something light, bright, and white. Painting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to change and improve a room’s appearance. Anyone can do it. I know, because I have. A bedroom upstairs and the kitchen and dining room in my main house, and two bedrooms in my parents’ home. HUGE difference.
Plant the decorative plants not just in the ground around the deck, but inside. Furnish your seating areas outside with things you would normally find indoors, like soft cushions. Bridging the inside and the outdoors expands the feel of your home.
New homebuyers are always looking for storage space. Maximize what you have by adding a closet storage system, incorporating shelves, two-tiered hangers, and the like. Storage doesn’t have to be deep to be useful. Open up a space between studs and walls, install shelving, and you’ve got the perfect place for a series of small shelves to store CDs and DVDs.
Ceiling fixtures tend to get hung, then forgotten, which means they look dated before long. Inexpensive replacements from a home improvement store can brighten up the interior and make a room look more current.
Ross Bossoineau is a writer for Money Talks News, a consumer/personal finance TV news feature that airs in about 80 cities as well as around the Web. This column first appeared in Money Talks News.