By Shannon McNay
NEW YORK (Credit.com)Are you in the process of selling your home? Could you use some help selling it for more without breaking your budget? You're in luck! Here are a few tips to help you move your home off the market faster and sell for more so you can move on to the next home of your dreams.
The first thing to do is put yourself in the mindset of people who will be looking at your home. They've gone through their list of things to do before buying a house. They've figured out how much of a mortgage they can afford. And now they're ready to buy your house. But you'll need to fix a few things in order to get the maximum value for it.
Spruce it Up
Sounds obvious, right? Well, if you're on a budget and your home has been sporting the "lived-in" look for a few years, then it can be hard to decide where to start. Looking at all the things that could use a makeover in your home could make you run the risk of feeling mentally (and fiscally) overwhelmed. So let's start with the first thing everyone sees: the front of your house.
Adding curb appeal to your home is the first thing you should do. It's easy to neglect this part of the house since you see it less often than anything else. However, it's the first thing potential buyers will see and it can dictate their opinion of your house before they've even walked in the door. See now why it's important to spruce it up? Luckily doing this doesn't have to be a budget-buster.
In order to make the outside of your home more appealing, start with your lawn. Is it well-maintained? Is the grass a nice shade of green? Some extra nutrients from your local hardware store can make a big difference. Then plant some flowers and maybe even shrubs to give more dimension and color to the outside of your home. This can be done at a relatively low cost (if you do the day's work yourself) by obtaining plants at your local hardware store or flower shop. Finally, if you have a little extra room in your budget, consider a paint job. Pretty soon your home might be the shiniest on the block.
[Related Article: The First Thing to Do Before Buying a Home]
Now that the outside is spruced up, neutralize the inside. This might feel contradictory, but bear with me. If you've made a lot of personal design and style choices with your furniture and paint, your home might actually be off-putting to someone whose style choices differ from your own.
It's not easy to remove some of your most beloved decor, but remember that you're moving out of this home and into something better for you. This home is no longer about you it's about the future owner. Give them a clean slate so they can picture themselves (and their own sense of style) in your home as soon as they walk in. The best way to do this is to pare down any brightly painted walls, remove excessive family photos, clean up clutter (especially from toys), and store away furniture that is of a very specific taste.
While it may seem obvious that potential buyers should look past anything that doesn't fit their style, at the end of the day you don't want them to think about anything when they do an initial walk-through. All you want is for them to feel like this is a place they can immediately move into and love. It's hard for even a savvy buyer to look past cosmetic things that are easily changeable. Plus, any change they want to make equals money they will want to negotiate off the offer price so they can allocate that to making the improvements themselves.
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Manage Minor Repairs
Do you have a door that creaks every time you open it? How about nails in a floorboard that trip you up every time you walk by? Do all the doors and windows in your home close all the way? These things may sound minor, but they have a bigger impact than you might think. Before you allow buyers to tour your home, take a day or two to oil up rusty door hinges, repair anything that's cracked, leaking, or not fully functioning, and give everything else a nice deep clean.
Managing minor repairs costs you more in time than it does in budget, which is actually good news. The power is in your hands to exponentially improve the appearance of your home (and thus increase the final sale price). Think of it this way: a mortgage can last up to 30 years. Is that a purchase you would make lightly? Or would you go into this both feeling like you can't wait to buy but terrified at the same time?
I would venture to say the latter. That means that even if someone finds a home that they swoon over, small things will stand out and make them doubt if they really should put in an offer or see if they can put in a lower offer to save money for repairs. Homebuying is something that's easy to be talked into if someone loves a home, and just as easily to be talked out of anything appears to be wrong. Don't let minor repairs that you could have done on a Saturday afternoon give someone an impression that even more might be wrong with your home. Keep everything in perfect working order and wait for the potential buyers to swoon and sign.
Selling your home for more doesn't mean you have to renovate every room with the help of an interior designer and a fat budget. You can simply increase your home's value by making it sell faster and with less negotiation. Sprucing up the outside, neutralizing the interior, and making all necessary repairs will make your home look new and in perfect working order. All of this equals a few days of work for you but potentially thousands more on the final sale price.
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