1) De- clutter. This costs you nothing and can have a significant impact on how well your home shows. I often think of a deal that I was involved with in which the finished basement and garage weren’t dirty but simply had a lot of unorganized stuff. When the home was listed it sat unsold. Once the sellers understood that the clutter was an issue things were put away and the home sold in a week.
2) Foyer. Create an inviting entrance or foyer. Make it as impressive as you can depending on your budget and available space. It’s the first introduction to your home so you want it to be as attractive as possible. If possible add a small table in the foyer with some cut flowers or an attractive table lamp. Or perhaps add a handsome hall mirror.
3) Paint. A coat of paint with light neutral tones will freshen up the appearance of any room. The lighter colours also create a feeling of a larger space. Painting also gives you the opportunity to patch up any small wall imperfections that have appeared over time.
4) Kitchens. Your buyer will pay particular attention to the kitchen. But be careful not to overspend. In addition to painting walls paint the cabinets if they look outdated. Replace the cabinet hardware and add a new do it yourself backspace available at all the big box hardware stores. A new counter top although a bit more expensive can also do wonders in terms of modernizing the appearance of your kitchen.
5) Bathrooms. The other area a potential buyer will focus on are bathrooms. Bathrooms must be clean and smell clean. Here you can upgrade by installing a new elegant shower curtain or new towel racks for relatively small amounts of money. Check to see if areas with caulking need to be refreshed. If your vanity is showing signs of wear consider painting it and adding new hardware.
6) Cleanliness and Scents. We don’t alway know the smells of our own homes, hence the term nose blind. Make sure you home is clean and smells clean. On more than one occasion I have seen clients walk into a home and quickly leave if they think there is something off with the smell of a home. This is especially important if you have pets. They can create a low level odour that you may miss but that buyers notice right away.
7) Pets. Make sure your kitty litter is clean and out of plain sight. If possible remove your dog from the home during showings. Not long ago I did a showing with buyers and the owners dog was in his crate. He cried and barked almost the whole time we were there. It created a rather stressful atmosphere.
8) Electrical. Replace your outlet and light switch covers with new. This is especially important if you have painted a room. It helps give the room a more finished look. The same can be said for outlets and switches. Or if you have lighting that looks outdated consider some updates. Although a word of caution. Electrical jobs are better left to an electrician.
9) Accents. There are several do it yourself accents that can be added to great effect. Add a ceiling medallion to a dining or livingroom. Crown moulding can also provide a nice accent along the tops of walls or on the top of kitchen cabinetry. Strategically placed mirrors can create a feeling of space and openness as well.
10) When you have left. If circumstances have meant you had to move out before the home sold consider home staging. Although not normally part of a list of inexpensive ideas to sell your home, an empty home is harder to sell. If you sell your home more quickly as a result of staging in the long run there is a good chance you are financially ahead as the carrying costs of the unsold home can in some cases add up rather quickly as the weeks roll by. A furnished house will be more attractive for buyers because they can visualize the house more like a home. And buyers may be more tempted to low ball the price because they think, “ it’s vacant so the owner must need to sell fast”.