1. Improve Curb Appeal
At the very least, buyers visiting your home will expect a decent paint job. If the body of your house is in good shape, you may just need to touch up the trim. This work will make your house stand out. A gallon of paint and a paint brush don't cost much, but they can really make a difference. Exterior paint isn't just for show. A quality paint job provides an important layer of protection against moisture, mildew, and the effects of the sun.
Further, keep your yard tidy--it's one of the first things potential buyers see before entering your home. If your lawn is in pretty good shape, there's no need to hire a landscaper. The National Association Of Realtors recommends that you spend no more than 1 or 2 percent of your home's value on sprucing up landscaping before you sell. We recommend spreading mulch on beds around trees, mowing grass, and trimming shrubs and walkways. And if the season is right for blooms, place flowerpots around the entry and on the patio.
2. Clear The Clutter
Too much stuff makes rooms look smaller and less appealing. Keep tables and countertops clean and clear, and remove extra furniture. But don't relocate your possessions to a garage, attic, or basement. All you're doing then is cluttering another space and turning off potential buyers. If you plan to hold on to "Granny Imo's" armchair and your collection of coffee mugs, consider renting a storage space. A 10' x 10' storage space ranges from about $40 to several hundred dollars a month, depending on the region.
3. Make It Homey And Inviting
Set the stage for comfortable living. A bright, tidy home will sell a lot faster than a dingy one, Hang your guest towels in the bathroom, set your dinner table with your best china, and place fresh flowers in an attractive vase. Appeal to the potential buyer's sense of smell as well. Clean carpets and drapes. Empty the trash and freshen cat-litter boxes.
4. Don't Over-Decorate
Gold-plated faucets or a bathroom tiled in puce won't add to the value of your home. If your interior features splashy colors, or paint appears dirty or worn, repaint with neutral colors that won't feel dated. Further, simple white or beige walls provide potential homeowners with a clean slate on which they can envision their own personal touches.
5. Fit-In With The Neighborhood
Before you make changes to your home, take a hard look at houses in your neighborhood. You'll get the biggest bang for your buck by keeping up with the Joneses, not by going them one better. If most houses have three baths and yours has only one and a half, adding a new bathroom will boost the value of your home. The same goes for bedrooms.
Elaborate and expensive window treatments featuring this season's favorite colors and tones may appear out of date next year. Kitchen appliances can also go out of style--remember avocado and burnt orange refrigerators of the 1970s? Stick with the basics and avoid being too trendy.
6. Price To Sell
Research prices on comparable properties in your market. Scour newspaper and Web listings, attend open houses, and, most importantly, consult your real-estate broker for sales information on comparable properties.