The housing market crisis has dominated the news for months. Hopefully spring and summer will bring a turn around and those who want to sell will find buyers and those who want to buy will get financing. In the mean time, there are several things you can do to get your house ready for the market. Even if you don’t have plans to sell, these simple updating ideas can give your home a fresh look at little cost.
One thing clients always seem concerned about is the resale value of anything they do in their home. I answer with a question: How long to do plan to stay? If the answer is more than two years, my advice is to decorate for you. After all, your home should reflect your personal style. If the answer is two years or less, then you should consider resale when making choices.
I know it’s hard to look at your home with a critical eye and really see it as though for the first time. That’s where I come in. I assess your home and come up with suggestions for selling. I look at your things and the architecture with an objective eye. I will be honest about what goes, what stays and how to get the biggest bang for your buck.
These simple tips can make your house stand out in a competitive selling market.
Clear the clutter. That means the entire house and closets too.
- Pack up the personal items and family photos.
- Make sure toys are out of sight.
- Organize three piles: donations, trash, keepsakes. Anything you plan to keep put in boxes and send to a storage unit.
Start with the floors
- What condition is the carpeting? Can it be cleaned to look new?
- Is the color neutral or dated? If you still have mauve from the 70’s, it’s time to rip it out.
- Wood floors are a great selling feature; otherwise, replace old carpet with a neutral color.
- (As much as I hate builder’s beige, even I recommend neutral colors for selling a home!)
Paint is still the cheapest way to update any room.
- Neutral colors help sell the house, but that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate all color. Pale, soft colors can stand in as neutrals.
- Prospective buyers want to imagine their furniture and personal items in the space.
- If you have strong colors in the living areas and master bedroom, you will need to invest in paint. (Have I mentioned paint?)
Play up the best features.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure it is the focal point.
- If the view is spectacular, emphasis the windows.
- Window treatments are expensive, so draperies can help sell the house. However, if your are faded, dirty or droopy take them down. If the window needs covering, invest in inexpensive panels.
- Room should be obvious. A dining room should have a table and chairs. An office a desk, bedrooms, beds and dresser, etc.
Bigger is better. Everyone wants big rooms with as much space as possible.
- Make your rooms feel bigger by eliminating extra furniture and accessories.
- You’ve already removed the clutter and personal items, not take out the accessories and furniture you don’t need.
- By giving away the potted tree (fake or real) you’ve just opened up a corner.
- The magazine rack or basket of DVDs can be stored in the closet-instant floor space.
- If you can’t walk around the bed, remove a dresser or two. Being able to see the floor makes the room appear bigger.
Clean the kitchen
- Remove the kid’s artwork from the refrigerator.
- Clear your kitchen counters. Keep the basic necessities (a coffee maker, canisters, basket with spoons) everything else gets put away.
- Straighten the pantry. Neat and organized makes it look bigger.
Let me know if you need help getting ready to put your house on the market. If you are in the Milwaukee area, I can do an assessment in person. If you live across the country contact me and we can do a virtual update by e-mail!
If you are planning to sell, it’s important to get the house ready. But why put off fixing up your house and then do it for future owners and not your family? If you go to the trouble and expense of updating or redecorating, shouldn’t you enjoy the outcome too?