You’ve made the decision. It’s time to put your home on the market. You’re ready to sign the listing agreement, but that’s only the beginning. Of course you want to maximize your selling price and your profit. And you don’t want to invest a fortune in the process. Here are ten simple, cost-effective steps you can take immediately to show off your home at its very best.
- Visualize. Look at your home as though you were seeing it for the first time. Better still, look at it like a prospective buyer would. What do you see? As a buyer, what would you like to see? Start making a checklist outside first, then move inside, and then look at structural issues. We’ll cover each of these areas in more detail below. Just remember that throughout the selling process, you need to forget it’s YOUR house and instead visualize what the buyer wants.
- Compare. Look around your neighborhood. How does your home stack up with others in the immediate vicinity? Are there other homes for sale? If so, how do you look next to the competition? You need to compete on price, of course, but you also need to compete with appearance. That means doing something creative to set yourself apart. Do all the front doors look ho-hum? Paint yours red. Make sure your home’s most appealing features are clearly visible. (And work to camouflage those that aren’t so appealing.)
- Repair. Starting at the front of the house, look for cracks in the sidewalk and driveway. Check the foundation, the patio, and the stairs. If it’s loose, tighten it. If it’s sagging, prop it up. If it’s broken, fix it. Squeaky screens and doors are not welcoming—a quick spritz of WD-40 can fix that right up. Make sure your garage door and any sliding glass doors open and close easily and with a minimum of noise.
- Wash. Before you invest a lot of money in an outside paint job, do a power wash. Just getting rid of the accumulation of dust and dirt will give your home a face lift. Hose down the roof and clean the gutters too. And then clean your windows, inside and out, until they sparkle.
- Plant. Depending on the season, add flowers or seasonal color to your landscape. Of course you’ll keep your lawn mowed and edged and your shrubbery trimmed. Even if you’re short on yard space, you can put some colorful pots by the front door and around the deck or patio.