Tracking the local housing trends can give you a good idea about when to sell real estate — but life changes mean you may not always have the luxury of waiting for the most opportune time. Choosing a price that is neither too high nor too low is a great starting point to make sure your property sells for top dollar. But there are a range of things you can do throughout your home to help it sell faster, and for a better price.
Do A Major Decluttering
First things first, before you start contemplating any major renovations or heavy-duty work, start by doing an intensive clean and tidy through the whole house. There are a few reasons we suggest starting with this step:
- It will help the packing process when move-out day comes.
- It will give you the chance to get rid of things you don’t use.
- It generally makes your home look more open and spacious.
- Less clutter makes it easier for buyers to see their own lives in each space.
When we say “declutter,” we don’t mean you need to strip away every last spark of individuality in your home. Instead, this means simple things like clearing away the year’s worth of old magazines you have lying around and getting started on packing (but in a strategic manner).
In order to successfully declutter, go through your home one room at a time and see what you can do to cut down to roughly half the contents. That means packing up half the clothes in your closets, donating or packing away half of the toys in the playroom, and even packing away kitchen gadgets you use less frequently. While you’re decluttering, this is also a prime time to sort through everything and donating or selling anything you don’t use anymore. Bonus: that will mean less stuff to move and a little extra cash to help you along the way!
Get Organized & Depersonalize
Now that you’ve cut down on the detritus around your home, make sure everything that remains looks intentional. Organizational tools like matching storage bins or shelf dividers make your home look neat and well cared for. It also makes it so much easier to ensure your home is in good order if you get a request from your real estate agent for a last-minute showing! A few inexpensive, clear plastic bins in your pantry and spice cabinet will help the kitchen look orderly, and cloth-sided storage bins give kids an easy way to put all of their toys away so your house can shine.
Likewise, this is the time to go through the house and take down some of the more personal touches. This doesn’t mean you need to take down that artful arrangement of family photos and remove all of your kids’ art from the fridge. However, you should go through and pare down on elements that speak to your family and personal interests. Leave one or two of your kids’ drawings on the fridge, but pack away the rest with your keepsakes. Pack up your vacation souvenirs on display or your figurine collection. And if you have any outlandish art — think works with nudity or swear words — those should also get packed away (and replaced with something more neutral, if possible). You don’t necessarily need to make your house look as personality-free as a model home, but too much clutter can make it hard for home buyers to see the potential in your space. Make it easier for your house to show off all its best qualities with a bit of organization.
Let In The Light
Dim light and heavy shadows can make a space look smaller — and when it comes to enticing buyers, you want your home to look like it provides a ton of space for the price. Boosting the lighting, especially in dimmer rooms, can go a long way toward helping your home shine. First, go around your home and replace burnt-out bulbs. You may be surprised at how much this helps, without any other work! But if you still have some spaces that are heavily shadowed, consider adding light-colored curtains or a few lamps to lighten up those areas. Consider light, tall curtains to help small windows look a bit larger, and light-colored lampshades to provide a good amount of bright, diffused light.
Keep Pet Areas Clean (And Have A Pet Plan)
Most home buyers aren’t going to be turned off by a home that includes well-loved fur babies. However, no buyer wants to walk into a home they are touring and get smacked in the face by pet odors! Whether you have an outdoors-loving dog or a tank-only reptile, it’s important to minimize any animal appearances in your home. Keep all of your pet’s toys and feeding accoutrement tucked out of sight, and if you have a furry pet, make sure you’re keeping up with carpet cleanings so potential buyers don’t walk in and immediately get attacked by allergens.
If you have a dog or cat who freely roams the house, you will also want to figure out a plan to get them out of the house for showings. While most people are fine with a well-trained pet, there’s plenty of uncertainty in how pets will behave when strangers walk in without the familiar face of their family. Plan to take your pup to the dog park during showings, or head out on a long walk. Showing a house with cats can be tricky because you’ll also want to get them out of the house during a showing, if possible. Consider that even if you shut your cat safely in one room, the potential buyers will want to look everywhere throughout the house, so it can help your home sell if you can take your cats with you.
Plan Upgrades Wisely
It’s a strong market out there for sellers in Colorado Springs these days, but that doesn’t mean you can skip the house maintenance altogether. If you’re envisioning multiple offers or starting a bidding war over your property, it’s worth putting a bit of work into your property. However! A few smaller repairs and upgrades can help your home sell well. The key is to make sure you aren’t going overboard. Yes, do fix the broken hinge on that cabinet door, and consider replacing outdated door handles or other fixtures. No, you probably don’t need to do a full kitchen remodel unless the space is a broken-down mess from floor to ceiling.
The best way to find the balance between helpful upgrades and going overboard is to work with your local real estate agent. We keep a close watch on market trends, and we also research comparable homes in your area, so we have a good idea of what buyers are looking for. Before you dive headlong into anything more than basic repair work, check in with your real estate agent to see if you’re likely to see a solid return on that investment or not.
Make Sure Surfaces Shine
You don’t need to literally make the walls glisten, but it is important to make sure your home’s surfaces are looking good. Dingy-looking walls can make a property look and feel older than it is, and old carpet can make your home seem unclean. Even worn-down countertops can make a buyer question how well you’ve maintained the property over the years. It’s worth looking into what sort of work you can do to make the surfaces throughout your house shine. Consider:
- Renting a steam cleaner or hiring a service to refresh carpets
- Painting or staining worn cabinets
- Replacing countertops (possibly)
- Cleaning or repainting walls
It’s also a good idea to repaint if you’ve filled your home with bold, bright wall colors as this can be a surprising deterrent for buyers who have different tastes. Covering up those bright paint colors with a calm neutral can not only make your home seem newer and cleaner, but it can also help buyers picture themselves in the space more easily.
Have A Great First Impression
Getting your home ready to sell isn’t an inside-only job. You do want to give at least a bit of attention to the exterior since this will be the first impression most people get when seeing your property. You don’t necessarily need to do a full landscaping overhaul, but take the time to make sure your exterior paint looks good, the plants aren’t dead, and that the light fixtures aren’t rusting. Keep the lawn mowed, trim back overgrown bushes, and make sure house buyers can get a good view of the front. This is also the time to make sure you don’t have any flaking paint or other signs of damage on the exterior. And if you’re feeling fun, it’s not a bad idea to add a wreath or other decorative touches to make your home feel welcoming from the first instant someone approaches.
Personalized, Experienced Real Estate Guidance
This list might sound like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be so daunting! The best place to start is to connect with a local real estate agent. We can come do a walkthrough of your home and provide you with suggestions specific to your property, your neighborhood, and the local market trends. Want to learn more about selling your home? Connect with Holly Quinn & Associates today!