Simple repairs to help your home show better and sell faster
What are some easy and cost-effective ideas to get your home ready for buyers? Try some of these tips to increase the wow factor and curb appeal.
–If your home has vinyl or wood siding, pressure wash it. Rent, borrow or buy a decent pressure washer. (1800 psi models will do) If this is your first time pressure washing, remember not to get the nozzle too close to the wood or vinyl to prevent damaging the siding. If you own a brick home, use a mild bleach or cleaning agent to brighten up the mortar between the brick. Take a hard plastic brush and apply the mixed cleaning solution to the cracks in the brick. Let it soak for 10-15 minutes and then take a hose or pressure washer to wash clean.
–Next, take that same pressure washer and get to work on cleaning the driveways, patios or other concrete outside surfaces. Unlike the wood or vinyl siding, you can hold the pressure washer nozzle pretty close to the surfaces. The trick to getting this job done right is taking the driveway or other concrete surfaces in sections. Take your pressure washer nozzle and go side to side in a slow motion. You should see a blackish residue coming off the surface. Take your time and ensure that all the section surface is clean. If you miss a spot, it will show once that surface area is dry. Just go back and pressure wash that area to finish that section. A plastic push broom helps to clear the excess water if your driveway doesn’t drain well. Be careful around cracked sections so as not to damage them any further.
–Now it’s time to start looking at those gutters full of leaves and debris. Take some work gloves and scoop everything onto the ground. If you have a helper, have them hold a large bag open. This saves a step in cleaning up the mess you have on the ground.
–Let’s move on to the landscaping. Showcase, accentuate and highlight every outside feature. Use solar lights to showcase your property for night. You never know when a neighbor or potential buyer is out looking. Make sure any flower beds or landscaped areas are well mulched and fresh-looking. Address any bare grass spots with new sod or grass seeds. If I’m a buyer and comparing your property to every other potential home for sale, what makes yours memorable? You, as a seller, need to show the buyer that the outside is move-in-ready as well as maintenance-free. Give those buyer’s every reason to want to come inside and see your home as their new place.
–Ok, now it’s time to add that wow factor! Try some stained cedar shutters out front. There are plenty of guides online on how to build and stain your own cedar shutters. Even if you have to hire a contractor or handyman to build them, your return on investment and wow factor is huge! The cedar wood left over from shutters can also be used to build a few planters for the front windows. Bright annual flowers such as Petunias and French Marigolds go well in planters. Some other simple fixes are replacing an outdated or rusty mailbox, brighten up the house numbers, update older outside light fixtures and make those windows sparkle like new.
–When it comes to the inside of your home, you can never clean enough to make it show well. Make sure every inch of those bathrooms and kitchen are spotless and smell great. If your carpets are dirty, rent a machine or hire a service to clean them. A $250-300 cleaning is a lot better than a buyer asking for new carpets in repair concessions. If you have older floor tiles or another tile area that looks dingy, try this solution. Mix baking soda with water until it becomes like a paste. Use an old toothbrush to brush the paste in the tile grout lines. Leave it on for 30 minutes so that the oxidation, in the baking soda, has time to work. Go back with a sponge and warm water and clean the grout lines well. They will look like new and impress your buyer. Be careful of using any type of bleach or cleaner with bleach on darker grout. You could risk ruining the grout color. Also, another area that gets overlooked is your baseboards. I see so many homes where the baseboards are scuffed, worn and paint chipped. Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and get a few cans of interior semi-gloss white paint. Last time I bought this it was $15 for a gallon. Buy a few rolls of blue painter’s tape and put down on floor under baseboards. Get an angled brush and apply 1-2 coats to each baseboard. Allow an hour between painting each coat. You can take a fan and decrease the paint drying time in half. Your baseboards will sparkle and give the buyer one less thing to worry about and fix.
–Kitchens and baths are areas where you don’t want to skimp. If your bath faucets are outdated, you can replace them with new ones for as little as $30-40 apiece. Try to focus on the stainless, brushed nickel, satin finished or oil-rubbed bronze finishes. Make sure that the knobs and pulls on cabinets match the faucet style as well. Decent knobs and pulls will run you $2-4 apiece. Take an existing drawer pull handle with you to ensure that the new drawer pull handle screw holes match up as well. Even though you will probably be taking the shower curtains and rugs with you, make sure they look modern and match. People are visual and they need to see the complete package put together. Go for neutral colors and don’t get crazy with the finishes. Your mission is to appeal to the biggest range of buyer preferences and you can accomplish that with neutral color pallet choices. If you’ve replaced bath faucets with a brushed nickel finish, make sure that your toilet paper holder is brushed nickel. The flow and feel must be continuous in either the whole house or each room.
–Wall paint is another area that most sellers should take into consideration. That bright yellow or hot pink you put into every room is a serious turn-off to most of your buyers. Just as with the towels, bath rugs and shower curtains, the flow and colors must match the overall look and feel. Most of your successful sellers and home re-modelers agree that you should find a neutral color and only use 3 shade variations throughout the entire house. Your home is custom to you but you have to make it a neutral canvas for the new buyer to put their own stamp. I will reiterate from a previous post. You must emotionally detach yourself from the home when selling. If your purpose is to sell your home quickly, you must do everything possible to appeal to the broadest range of buyer’s taste. As a home re-modeler, it’s still tough to emotionally detach myself from a home. Whether it be memories or almost a year of sweat equity and improvements, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Nothing is easy about it and the irony is sometimes you have to work very hard to sell what you love the most.
Hope these tips give you some more insight on marketing your home the right way. If I can be of service, please feel free to call (901) 444-2884 or email me. If you have additional suggestions or feedback, please leave below. Thanks, John.