9 Must-Do Projects Before Selling Your Home
To increase the chances of a quick sale, here are the home improvements that should be handled before putting your home on the market.
1. Fresh Paint Inside & Out
Because walls get grimy and see a lot of wear and tear, it’s important to give your home a fresh coat of paint — inside and out, unless you’ve painted recently. While it may seem like a surprising thing to prioritize, painting your home will make it stand apart from other properties, help you get top dollar, and can cut down on sale time. Since you’re used to your home, it isn’t hard to overlook issues that might appear glaring to potential buyers, such as a peeling wall or visible signs of previous water damage.
In addition, if your home features accent walls, it’s a good idea to paint them to match the rest of the room, which is preferably a neutral color when prepping to sell. Neutral walls that are uniform in color allow the buyer to come into the space with a blank slate, rather than them immediately making a mental note that they’d have to repaint.
2. Clean the Windows
A part of the home that is easily overlooked are the windows. Spotless windows go a long way, so be sure to pull out all stops to get them scrubbed and polished. Clean, clear glass helps sell the impression of a tidy, orderly home.
Keep in mind that a power washer might be necessary to clean the exteriors, and if necessary, it’s even worth it to bring in professional window cleaners before showing the house. Taking care of these tasks will increase natural light and enhance any views the property has.
3. Deep Clean the Interior
Give the inside of your home a true deep clean. You know, the kind where you wipe down baseboards and break out the ladder to dust off ceiling fan blades and wall art. Clean the inside of the oven and the outside. Make that refrigerator like new again. Don’t forget to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system filters as well.
4. Declutter Every Room
Another project that costs little but pays off big is decluttering your entire home. Just think about what attracts buyers to model homes — they’re perfectly staged. While you may not be able to meet that standard (it’s a tough one for sure), just a little effort yields a huge return: clearing off table surfaces and countertops, packing up extra decorative items, and thinning out some of the furniture to help make rooms look bigger. The goal is to help potential buyers visualize their own furniture in the space.
5. Work On Curb Appeal
The first impression a potential buyer has of your home is from the road, which essentially means landscaping. If your landscaping could use a boost, it’s helpful to take the time to head to your local garden center for some informed advice on seasonal plants and ground covers that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Again, just a little effort can transform an average front yard into one that makes jaws drop.
At a minimum, you should consider laying fresh mulch, reseeding bald spots in the lawn, and incorporating colorful flowers in the garden beds, as these brighten up your home’s appearance and prime the buyers’ expectations for the home.
6. Handle Any Pest Issues
Does your home show any signs of pests? Be sure to address the outward signs appropriately and then call in a pest control professional to handle the nuisance itself. Familiarize yourself with where the major problem areas are in your home and monitor them for activity in the days and weeks leading up to your home being put on the market.
7. Minimize Pet Stuff
Much like minimizing children’s toys littering the yard and home, the same goes for pets and their belongings. Potential buyers just don’t respond well to them. Before opening up your property for viewings, take the time to declutter pet supplies and if possible, keep them hidden from view.
8. Refresh Kitchen Cabinets
Cabinets are typically the biggest element in a kitchen, and often the most expensive. That’s why refreshing them (rather than replacing them) is a great way to upgrade the space. There are a variety of options available to meet different budgets, from giving the cabinets a fresh coat of paint to swapping out the drawer and door fronts with a whole new style. If you have major budget concerns, simply scrubbing and polishing them with a cabinet restorer can often do the trick. Then just update the look with new hardware. These simple tricks can help your kitchen look largely redone without the hassle or cost of any real construction.
9. Install a Backsplash
Another smart way to modernize an outdated kitchen is with a new backsplash. For such a seemingly small detail, it packs a big design punch. And because the average backsplash is approximately 30 feet square, installing new tiles is surprisingly affordable.
Although trendy tiles can be fun, for a classic, time-tested look, go with a simple subway tile in a neutral color. If that is too basic for you, consider jazzing the tiles up a little by choosing oversized or irregular-sized subway tiles and running them vertically, or creating some sort of pattern, like a basketweave or herringbone. Another option is contrasting grout, which provides a more classic style with an unexpected twist.
While the purpose of a backsplash should always stay in the forefront of your mind — protecting walls from splashes, spatters and stains — having fun with it can bring some personality to the space as well.