De-clutter, de-personalize and deep clean are my three go-tos for getting your home ready to sell without breaking the bank.
QUESTION: We want to put our home on the market in the very near future. How can we make our home look as good as it can without spending a lot of money?
ANSWER: De-clutter, de-personalize and deep clean are my three go-tos for getting your home ready to sell without breaking the bank.
First, pick up all the STUFF around the house: kid toys, dog toys, cat toys... Pick up knickknacks, paper, magazines, opened and unopened mail.
It goes without saying to put all of your valuables away. Clean out medicine cabinets. Do not leave prescription drugs around or in plain sight. Put away personal items such as family photos, also religious or political objects, college or sports banners, etc.
When a potential buyer walks into your home, you want to make him or her feel that it could be theirs. (By the way, once you put your home on the market, it is no longer your home. It is just a product that you are trying to sell. De-personalizing your home will help you detach from it and become more objective about it.)
In addition to de-cluttering and de-personalizing, take out as much furniture and clothes as possible. You are going to be moving anyway, so just start the process early.
You want your home to look and feel as spacious as possible.
Now you are ready to get down and start cleaning. Clean carpets. Get out odors, especially if you have pets or are smokers. Wash windows. Clean your kitchen until it sparkles. Do minor repairs such as caulking around the tub or shower, repairing broken or missing tiles, railings, etc.
If you do nothing else - at least paint. A fresh coat of paint, especially in high traffic areas such as the kitchen or bathrooms or entrance way can make a world of difference. Choose neutral colors, such as tans or grays.
Return rooms back to their original use. For example, an upstairs bedroom converted into an office might be better staged as a bedroom, especially if you are in a community or neighborhood with good schools and lots of children.
Finally, ask your real estate agent for advice on what minor repairs or fixes you can do to your home to make it more attractive and saleable. I know you do not want to spend a lot of money, but you could research staging professionals in your area. Most will work on a budget.
Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.