There's no denying that preparing and staging your home for sale can be a daunting prospect – especially when you consider all of the other aspects of moving houses. But there are a few things that you can do to spruce up the interior of your house to make it stand out during showings, and they don't have to be expensive.
The first thing that you'll want to do is to de-clutter all of your rooms, closets, and cupboards (and don't forget the basement and attic). Prospective homebuyers want to see as blank a canvas as possible when considering whether they'd like to make your home their own, so clear out excess belongings and furniture. Have a yard sale, make donations to local charitable organizations, and if necessary, pare down your furnishings by renting a local storage unit. Empty your home of anything that is too personal so that potential buyers can envision their own belongings in your space.
Paint is an inexpensive way to spruce up your home. It goes without saying that when you list your home, you'll want all paint –and the underlying walls – to be touched up and in good shape. This includes trim and baseboards. Garish or unusual wall color can be an enormous turnoff for a potential buyer, so keep colors neutral – creams, off-whites, greys, and beiges work well. Pure white can look a little too stark, so consider a color that lends a little depth to each room. Continuing a paint color from one room to the next will give the illusion of more space.
But neutral wall color doesn't mean you have to completely avoid colorful touches. After all, you want your home to come across as warm, appealing, and "homey." An inexpensive way to achieve this is through the use of throw pillows or cushions that can add a splash of color (and style) to an otherwise neutral room. If your window treatments are dated, consider looking into something new. There are plenty of chic, inexpensive options on the market. Your best bet is to go with something minimal to provide privacy while giving a prospective homebuyer the opportunity to add something more personal upon moving in.
Fresh flowers, houseplants, potted herbs, and bowls of fresh fruit lend warmth to a home, but don't go overboard. If your existing fixtures look dated, consider swapping out doorknobs and switch plates. And make sure your lighting is bright enough to really show off your home. Bright rooms appear larger than dimly lit areas.
The kitchen is often considered the heart of a home. If your appliances are dated, you probably don't want to have to spend a fortune on replacements. Instead, concentrate on a few less expensive fixes that will add charm to the room. Faucets, cabinet handles, and old lighting fixtures are easy to replace and there are plenty of attractive fixtures available at any local home improvement store. Clean off your countertops and store extra small appliances elsewhere.
Bathrooms are also important to prospective buyers. Make sure your bathroom wall color is a light shade to create the impression of spaciousness. Replace any fixtures that are dated – as with the kitchen, faucets and drawer pulls are easy fixes. If your shower and bathtub are in bad shape, you might want to look into a prefab makeover – there are companies that specialize in these "makeovers," which are generally a cheaper option than replacing all of your tile or an entire bathtub. A curving shower rod can help modernize your bathroom, and don't underestimate the power of investing in a new shower curtain – a white curtain will add more brightness to the room. Make sure any towels you have out are clean and fluffy. Lastly, put away your toothbrushes and other personal care products.
Finally, clean your house from top to bottom. Make everything sparkle. Dust, mop, vacuum, buff, and polish. Since your home will likely see multiple showings, make sure to keep on top of this on a daily basis. Empty wastebaskets daily and wipe down bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
Now your home is ready for sale. It may have taken a bit of work, but it will be well worth the effort when the offers start to come in.
Vice President and Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage