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Tips to Get Your House Ready to Sell Without Spending a Fortune
1. Create more curb appeal.
The outside of your house is what the buyer initially sees that sparks their interest. To create a great first impression you should trim the bushes, pull weeds, and keep your lawn cut. You can also pour a layer of new mulch over your flower bed to make it instantly look great. You can remove cobwebs and other dirt by taking a hose and watering down the house, especially around the entrances. Also, use your hose to wash away leaves and dirt from your porch, driveway and gutter. The idea of painting can seem like too much work, but sometimes just putting a fresh coat of color on the trim and the front door can make a huge difference in the appearance of your house. Take a look around for anything else that might look better painted, like your old garden statues, the mail box, or picket fence. Don't park cars in your driveway when showing a house or when pictures are being taken for a listing. The less objects obstructing the view of the home, the better.
2. Clean the house.
Clean houses sell for a lot more than dirty houses, so paying attention to detail can turn out to be your best and least expensive investment. The key places to focus on washing are your baseboards, light switches, door knobs and the areas around them. Wash window sills and clean windows inside and out. Take all your curtains off the rods and wash them too. If they look really worn, replace them. Bathrooms are usually easy to clean, but tubs can be difficult. If your tub is hopelessly stained or worn, consider re-glazing it rather than replacing it to save money. You might want to replace sinks and/or faucets if they look old and worn. If you're waiting to sell your house before you buy new furniture, consider putting some slip covers or even some nice throws over the old couch and chairs to make them appear new and fresh. Remake all the beds with attractive comforters, sheets and pillows. Wash your carpet if it looks worn or stained. Renting a carpet cleaner is an option if you don't already have one.
3. Clear out the clutter.
Too much furniture will make your home look small and cramped, so remove anything that is just taking up space. Also, people can see everything you are storing above your cupboards from a distance, so take down anything that may be up there. As you clean, you are unintentionally disturbing the dust and dirt from it's previous resting place, causing it to fall onto lower parts of the room. That is why whenever you do a thorough cleaning, it is always best to start cleaning up high and work your way down. Next, make sure the area above fridge is free of clutter and remove everything you don't use on a regular basis from your counter top, including appliances. Do you have a shrine of pictures of your family in your living room? If you do, remove them. When buyers view houses, they try to envision themselves living there and seeing another family's pictures everywhere will dispel that fantasy. Put away the nicknacks, figurines, memorabilia collections, etc. Clean out your closet and box up clothes that are out of season. In addition, rows of shoes sitting on the closet floor or hanging on the door rack make the closet look crowded and it may smell bad to your buyers. Only keep out what you are planning on using in the next few months.
4. Do repairs.
Make sure your doors don't creak by applying some WD40 or even a small amount of Vaseline. Remember to fix sliding closet doors that might come off the rails or get jammed when buyers open them. If you have missing tiles on the floor, attempt to replace them with the matching tile or something very similar, as opposed to spending a lot more money re-tiling the entire room. Plumbing problems are another issue most of us don't want to tackle. However, there are some smart buyers who will go around your house running your sinks and flushing all your toilets. Make sure they work. Replacing the washers on dripping faucets is easy and inexpensive.
5. Make improvements.
New lighting fixtures are often reasonably priced and can really add style to a room. You might want to upgrade to a fixture with a little more flair if the ones you have now look too plain. Also, add some dazzle to your kitchen cabinets and drawers with some new knobs. Paint rooms that have loud colors, or more than two colors per room. You may think your red and purple family room is beautiful and unique, but buyers may not have the same taste as you. Choose a neutral color such as white or light beige, which are the most commonly appealing colors to use.
6. Begin staging.
When showing your house, keep the curtains open to let as much light in as possible. Always turn the lights on when showing a house, even if it's a bright sunny day. Put fresh light bulbs in any outlet that may be missing them. It will really brighten the place up. You can also bring the outdoors into the house by placing plants in various places. When doing an open house, it's always a good idea to bake cookies. The smell will make buyers feel at home and a nice plate of cookies will be a wonderful treat. Lastly, set all the radios to play the same station in every room in the house and play music as potential buyers look around.