We may still be in the final throes of winter, but the spring real estate market is already beginning to heat up. With tons of new listings about to pour onto the market, many sellers want to know how to make their home stand out from the crowd and get the most money from their sale. Before you invest tons of time and money into unnecessary updates and remodels, we’ve outlined seven effective ways to increase your home’s value before it hits the market.
Consult a REALTORⓇ
First things first: consult a licensed real estate agent before doing anything other than basic cleaning and upkeep.
“I’ve had clients go over lists of what they need to do before going on the market that were a mile long, and all they really needed was a thorough cleaning, carpet shampoo, handyman, and help with staging,” says Urban Acres agent Tia Perez.
Not all home improvements will generate the same return on investment. Your go-to Urban Acres agent can tell you which renovations and repairs will generate a higher sales price and which aren’t worth your time.
1. Clean, clean, clean… and then clean some more.
A deep clean is the first major step most people take before listing their home, but don’t underestimate how much a thorough spring cleaning can add to your home’s value.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth hiring a professional to assist, the answer is yes, as the cost will pay back many times over. Talk to your Urban agent for recommendations of carpet shampooing or cleaning companies. Your REALTORⓇ will know who does the best job at the best value!
If you choose to tackle the task yourself, don’t forget to look up as you’re cleaning. Buyers’ heads are on a swivel, and they’ll take into account everything they see high and low!
2. Declutter and donate.
When a potential buyer walks into your home, you want them to see plenty of room to store their things. You don’t want them to envision themselves quickly outgrowing the home. Decluttering and organizing closets, drawers, and garages helps a home sell faster and for money.
When sorting through your belongings, Tia recommends making three piles: keep, toss, and donate. Sort through your items carefully. Box up any items that are seasonal or that are not used frequently (they’ll need to be boxed up for your move anyways). Throw out anything that cannot be donated.
3. Be smart about repairs.
Broken door knob, tilted cabinet, chipped tile, or worse? Small repairs add value to a home, but there are often creative solutions that can save you money while still increasing your home’s worth.
It’s always best to consult an agent before making such repairs. A REALTOR® will know where to draw the line and where to spend the extra money. They’ll also know what a home inspector will look for and can offer advice on whether to replace or repair. Plus, our agents have connections in the community and probably have a favorite handy-man/woman, electrician, or plumber they can recommend.
4. Repaint, but proceed with caution.
Many homeowners are tempted to assume that a fresh coat of paint throughout will automatically increase the value of their home. However, it’s extremely important to talk with an agent before undertaking a repaint to ensure you choose neutral paint tones.
“Because we spend so much time in the market, we know what can be overlooked versus what needs immediate attention – like the neon green your kid picked off the Sherwin Williams wheel,” Tia says.
Agents also know which colors are currently working best to sell homes (at the moment, shades of gray). Your agent may even be able to give you the name of a specific color so you can simply run to the store and pick it up. All that’s left to do is hire a professional or pay some buddies in pizza and beverages to help you complete the job. Whichever route you choose, be sure it’s a quality paint job. Sloppy painting won’t do you any favors!
5. Stage your home.
Whether you are still living in your current home or already living in another state, staging will give you an edge in the market.
Staging can take many forms, from a full furnishing of an empty home to a few finishing touches after you’ve decluttered. A certified staging agent can help you stage to draw attention to certain features and away from less desirable features that cannot be changed.
Staging is also negotiable when you are developing your listing agreement. There are agents who are staging pros themselves, agents who hire professional stagers, and some who do no staging at all. Some agents also include furniture supply in the commission and some do not. Check with your agent on whether staging is included.
6. Have professional photos taken.
Professional photos, video, and drone shots of the top and exterior of the home are vital for showcasing all the hard work you’ve put into prepping your home for the market.
“Whether it’s a $50,000 home or a $2 million home, professional photos are a cost that always pays back,” says Tia.
Whether you hire a professional yourself or go through your agent as part of their listing package, great photos are a must when listing a home. Now more than ever, the way your home looks online will directly affect your bottom line. The better your home looks in the listing, the more buyers that will line up to see your home, and the higher your chances are of receiving a great offer!
7. Boost your curb appeal.
The exterior of your home is what makes the first impression for potential buyers. While it’s important not to judge a book by its cover, investing a little TLC into the exterior of your home certainly doesn’t hurt. In the National Association of REALTORS® 2018 Remodeling Impact, agents listed lawn care as the most appealing feature for homebuyers. A trim lawn, well-maintained shrubbery, and a few decorative plants go a long way. Definitely make sure any pieces of garbage in your yard are picked up and any lawn equipment/tools are put away.
The moral of this story? Consult your favorite Urban Acres agent before undertaking any home improvement projects—even a simple repaint—to ensure your time and money will actually increase your home’s value. Ready to start prepping your home for the market the smart way? Reach out and one of our experienced agents would be happy to help!