The freefall in home prices may be over and we may be in a seller's market (for now). Home sellers still need to be aware that today's buyers’ are more particular and savvy. The most appealing homes sell first, fastest and for the best price.
It’s the simple touches–not the big renovations–that often matter the most.
Clean and De-Clutter
Cleaning your home and freeing it from all clutter can be the most important of all pre-sale activities. Suggested tips include organizing closets and storage rooms, removing all personal possessions and removing appliances from kitchen counters to free up the space.
Staging means dressing up your home by hanging artwork, putting out fresh flowers or turning on the fireplace in the winter. The techniques may seem basic, but a 2009 survey of Realtors found that $300 to $400 spent on staging can yield a $1,500 to $2,000 increase in home price.
Most home buyers browse online listings, and good ads with video walk-throughs are clicked on 150% more than those without. Web appeal is more important than ever in selling a home.
New Front Door
Jean Nayar, author of Staged to Sell (or Keep), says a home’s exterior can have a big impact on potential buyers. For cash-strapped owners, replacing the front door is a cheap exterior enhancement that can have a big impact.
“Tier 1″ Renovations
Bill Carter, president of the National Association of Remodeling, recommends piecemeal renovations rather than complete overhauls, such as upgrading HVAC systems and hot water heaters, as well as installing double- or triple-paned windows. Homeowners who are able to get a small loan should invest in energy-saving projects and utilize the available tax credits.
Outdoor Entertainment Areas
Because of the recession, “people are starting to realize they’ve got to rethink their way of life,” Carter says. He notices that families in warmer areas are emphasizing outdoor living space, such as patios and decks, rather than taking vacations.
An attic bedroom is a great green renovation for families able to afford it. Instead of building an addition, homeowners can add space without increasing their carbon footprint. “You already have the roof and the joists and the walls there, so you can take advantage of costs already spent,” Nayar says.
Installing water-conserving faucets and adding weatherstripping to movable joints are good, money-saving improvements for buyer and seller alike.
Pre-Sale Home Inspection
A pre-sale home inspection may not add value to your home, but it can certainly prevent loss, says David Tamny, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. He says some homeowners are now advertising their completed pre-sale inspections as added insurance that their home is ready for sale.
Neutral Paint and New Carpets
It’s easy to get lost in the suggestions for increasing home value, but a new coat of a neutral-colored paint and new (or shampooed) carpets are always a good base from which to start.