Winter is the perfect time to do some updating inside your house before you list it in the spring. And some updating always brightens up those occasional winter season blues. Indoor contractors are usually looking for winter work in the off-season. New paint, flooring, or an area rug can refresh a home nicely. Here’s some tips and hints for easy updates to get ready to list your home.
1. First and foremost, de-clutter. This will be a head start on packing up the household for the move to your new home. Take a few days to look around and really consider what you want to take to your new home and what needs to be donated to your local thrift shop. Those tax deductions to the thrift shop will work well for your tax return and benefit a good cause. Try to pack up a lot of personal items like collectibles and family photos that you want to take with you. You want buyers to see themselves living in the space. Define spaces and keep the decor clean and simple. This will help you clear the walls and get them ready for update #2 – paint.
2. Most painted walls and baseboards in a active family home only take a few years of wear and then they are ready for updating. This step will give your home that new house look and a well-maintained home feel. Choose a neutral but contemporary color. Need help deciding? Neutral nuance paint palettes are available at all your local paint stores such as Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Willams. Their paint professionals can help you choose the perfect color. They will also be a good reference for choosing local paint contractors.
3. Replace flooring that is worn or in need of repair. Replace all broken tiles. Refinish scratched and dirty hardwoods. If carpets are neutral colors without heavily worn places then a professional steam cleaning will refresh them for the sale. If rooms are clad in an array of different colors or types of flooring then invest in putting in neutrals throughout the house. Winter flooring sales provide great savings. You can usually get three to four rooms carpeted for the price of one. That’s why winter is the best season for updating your house.
4. A modern kitchen will be on every buyer’s list of must-haves. If you cannot afford all new appliances in the kitchen at least make sure they are not mis-matched. Clean them up to like-new condition. Counter tops need to be sleek and clutter-free. Put small appliances like blenders and mixers out of sight. There are so many choices for up-dating countertops and cabinets. If the countertops and cabinets are in good condition you could leave that update to the buyer’s preference. Just remember that updated kitchens reap great dividends in quick sales and great selling prices.
5. Nice bathrooms are another thing buyers have on their must-have list. Bathrooms need to be sleek and spa-like. This can be accomplished with organizers under the cabinets for all personal items removed from the countertops. Make sure those mirrors, lights, and fixtures shine. Fresh white towels and a simple white candle will provide just the right touch. Keep a box of quick-wipe cleaning pads handy for a fast clean-up before potential buyers drop by for a look.
6. Fix whatever is broken. No one really wants to feel like they are buying a fixer-upper. Whatever expenses you have in repairs will be gained back in your sale price. If you don’t take the time and expense to repair things before your home is listed, it will certainly come up during your home inspection and negotiations. You’ll be glad you avoided the complication. Most buyers desire a house that has been well-maintained and is move-in ready.
7. Clean from top to bottom. There are a lot of local cleaning services available at a very reasonable price for one-time overall clean-up. Ask friends and neighbors for references. It is well worth the investment. First impressions count big!
8. Make closets and rooms look bigger by storing some items in a different location. As in step #1, de-cluttering should extend to closets and storage areas as well. Buyers need to be able to see a place is available for all of their stuff. You want them to be awed by the amount of storage. If every closet is filled to the brim it will be hard for the buyers to see the asset of storage. If you have an armoire, wardrobe, or shelving unit that takes up a lot of space in a room and is not essential to everyday needs, store it or sell it. Make sure every room has only the essential furniture needed to define the space.
9. A beautifully simple, clean and neat exterior with a few splashes of seasonal color will welcome buyers into your house. The driveway should be free of oil or chemicals. Flowerbeds freshened up with new mulch. Shrubbery should be trimmed neatly. Clean or replace the exterior light fixtures. Curb appeal matters!
10. Consider hiring someone to stage your home. They can arrange furniture and decor, bring in furniture and decor, or consult with you on how to do it yourself. This is especially important if you move out of your home before it’s listed. Contrary to popular belief, buyers do not want to imagine what the empty spaces would hold but rather want to see a house as a home so it should be minimally staged.
Once you make it through these steps you’ll be ready to contact a real estate professional to list your home. It will be ready for marketing photographs and showings. If you live in Northwest Arkansas I’d love to help!