Get Your Home Ready to Sell on a Budget

Selling your home in today’s market can be a challenge.  Buyers have an abundance of properties to choose from so they can afford to be picky and wait for just the right one.  To get the most out of your investment your home needs to stand out from the crowd, but you don’t need to spend a fortune getting your home ready to list.  If you are thinking of putting your house on the market for the most active months of the year, April through August, now is the time to start getting it ready.

A small investment can make a big difference in how quickly your home sells, and help you get top dollar when it does.  Here are some tips to get your home ready to sell on a budget.   If you have questions about listing your home or what you can do to maximize your home’s potential contact me and lets get started.

Keeping you In the Loop!

General Maintenance

A home that looks dingy, dirty or beat up will immediately discourage your buyer no matter how many great features it has to offer.  Taking care of some simple trouble spots will make your home look more appealing to your buyer.

  • Clear the Clutter – Everything should have a place!  Closets, cabinets, shelves and drawers that are busting at the seams tell buyers that there isn’t enough room in your house for their things.  Rent a dumpster and throw things out that you don’t need.  Box up the rest and ask a friend if you can store it in their basement or garage.
  • Shampoo the Carpet – Carpet is a major expense for home owners and many buyers cannot afford to replace it when they move in.  Have your carpet professionally cleaned, or rent a cleaner, and get rid of all those stains and dingy high traffic areas.  At the very least, you want your buyers to think they can live with the carpet as-is and not have to deal with it before they move in.  If you are looking for a carpet cleaning service I recommend Dave’s Pristine Carpet Care, I use them for my home and they do an amazing  job.
  • Repaint the Baseboards and Trim – Baseboards take a beating from the vacuum cleaner, mops, and kids’ hotwheel cars.  Find some high gloss white paint and cover those dings and scratches to make them shine.  While you are at it vacuum along them too!
  • Replace the Lightbulbs –  Make sure all the lightbulbs in the house are working and that the fixtures are clean.  Buyers look everywhere so make sure you don’t forget the crawl space and utility closets.
  • Clean the Windows – Cleaning your windows inside and out lets in the natural light and doesn’t distract from the real reason they are there — buying your home.  Don’t forget the tracks, sliders and blinds.
  • Clear the Cobwebs – Remove the spiderwebs and dust-bunnies from the corners of the walls, chandeliers, and plants.  Modern homes have all those cool plant shelves and nooks, crawl up there dust them as well.
  • Clean the High Touch Areas – Wall switches, doorknobs, railings, and doors get dingy and dirty.  Nothing says neglect like grimy high touch areas.  Get rid of those nasty fingerprints!

Curb Appeal

You’ve heard it a hundred times, “First impressions are everything”.  When your buyer pulls up to your house for the first time make sure your home looks inviting and appealing.  Don’t turn off your buyer before they get to your front door.  Instead, make your buyer excited to find out what is inside.

  • Repair the Fence – Fix any broken, cracked or warped boards and power wash both sides of your fence.  If the fence is badly discolored or has sprinkler stains consider repainting or restaining.
  • Gutters and Downspouts – Clean your gutters and and fix the downspouts.  Make sure they are painted to match your trim.  In the winter make sure the are no ice dams or blockages.
  • Power Wash the Driveway – Use a power washer to remove the oil and grease stains from the driveway and garage and spray away the winter grime.
  • Paint the Front Door and Railings – A freshly painted front door in a bold color will make your home stand out.  Repaint the railings of the porch or steps to make your entrance sparkle.
  • Trim Trees, Hedges and Shrubs – Trim those unruly shrubs, hedges, and overgrown trees.  The City of Longmont will take your trimmings for free to make mulch.
  • Mow the Grass or Shovel the Snow – Keep your grass green and trimmed in the summer.  In the winter keep the sidewalks clear.  For north facing homes, keep the snow shoveled and the ice out of the gutters.  This will help buyers forget about the direction the home faces.
  • Replace the Welcome Mat – A nice, new welcome mat will lead your buyer to your unworn home!

Kitchen and Bath

The condition of your kitchen and bathrooms is a great indication of how clean and well taken care of your home is.  Make these rooms sparkle to help your buyer see that your home is cleaner and in better shape than any others that are out there.  Make sure to remove all the clutter from these rooms as well.  You want to show off as much counter space as possible.

  • Stop the Drip – Repair leaky faucets and clean any water stains in the basins.
  • No Running Toilets – Repair the toilets that run all the time or don’t flush well.  New kits are available and are very easy to put in.  If your toilet seat is beat up consider replacing this as well.
  • Scrub the Grout and Repair the Caulk – Clean the grout lines and replace the caulk around the bathtubs, showers, and counter tops.  Even the cleanest houses get mildew, but by redoing the caulk you can make your home look like the exception.
  • Replace the Shower Curtains – New shower curtains can make a bathroom look so much brighter and cleaner.  For less than $20.00 you can replace those dingy, musty old curtains and liners.
  • Make the Appliances Sparkle – Even if you are not leaving your appliances for the buyer, the condition of them will influence how your buyer sees your home.  Make sure that you clean the shelves in the fridge, and pay special attention to your oven.  Glass cooktops can be cleaned with a special cleaner.  A shiny cooktop will make  your kitchen look immaculate.
  • Makeover the Cabinets – Dark, dated kitchens can be quickly and economically updated with a coat of paint and modern knobs or pulls.  In a neighborhood of older homes, a bright modern looking kitchen may be all you need to sway a buyer your way.

Living Spaces and Bedrooms

  • Clear the Closets – Take all of the unnecessary items out of your closets and storage areas.  Even the biggest closets can look cramped and crowded when they are overflowing with clothes.  Consider only keeping only your seasonal clothes and packing up the rest for storage.   An extra closet rod, a set of storage baskets,  and matching hangers are a nice touch.  You should be able to put two fingers between your hangers when they are on the rod!
  • Remove Excess Furniture – Too much furniture makes a room look crowded.  Maximize the space by storing extra or large furniture and make your rooms look as big as possible.
  • Freshen the Paint – A fresh coat of neutral colored paint, especially in the main living spaces, will brighten your home and give it that new-home smell.  Consider repainting loud, bright colors with more neutral ones.  Don’t lose your buyer because of your teenager’s hot pink room!

Following this advice will make your home more appealing to your buyers which will reduce the amount of time it is on the market and bring you more for your investment.  If you have specific questions on what you can do to your home before you list it to make certain that buyers fall in love with it,  contact me for a one-on-one consultation.


1 Response to “Get Your Home Ready to Sell on a Budget”

  1. February 1, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    This is so true and will help sellers getting their homes sold so much faster. Not everyone realize that. Great job Mandy!

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Mandy Wormke, Realtor
Keller Williams
606 Mt. View Ave.
Longmont, CO 80501

303.776.3200 (office)
303.548.4158 (cell)

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