By Jeff Anttila
You’ve been trying to sell your home and you did everything you thought was expected of you. You connected with a real estate agent, had professional photos taken of your house, and opened your home to numerous strangers as they paraded around your halls on private tours and open houses. But after weeks of your home being listed, not a single reasonable offer has been made. Sound familiar?
Currently, the median number of days a home sits on the market is 41 days. And, of course, the longer your home sits on the market, the more control homebuyers have when it comes time for negotiations. So, take your house out of seller’s limbo by adding perceived value (and actual value) to your home.
Here are nine easy home improvements you can do that will make your house more appealing to potential home buyers and help sell your home fast.
1. Upgrade Your Mailbox
Upgrading your mailbox might seem like a rather silly thing to do at first, but if we are talking about making a great first impression to potential home buyers, the mailbox is often the very first thing someone sees before pulling in the driveway. It’s also the easiest home improvement you can do.
It could just be a new mailbox that replaces the old, weathered one you’ve had for years. And let’s face it, most homeowners don’t put much thought into what their mailbox looks like, often becoming an eyesore to your driveway. Or, you could upgrade to a “Next Generation” mailbox that allows USPS to deliver large packages to your mailbox instead of your front door. And we all know packages that are apparently visible to any passerby have a better chance of not being taken.
In fact, with more and more consumer products being purchased online and delivered to homes, you may even consider upgrading to a security mailbox that keeps your mail and packages safe from theft altogether.
Either way, upgrading your mailbox is a simple, cost-effective method of bringing perceived value to your home.
2. Paint Your House Inside and Out
This cannot be emphasized enough, but painting the inside of your home with a fresh neutral color goes a long way with potential homebuyers. For example, your kids’ rooms may have very unique colors that they had insisted upon at one time, but not every potential buyer is going to enjoy that purple room as much as your kid does. You’ll want to put a fresh coat of paint on those walls so anyone touring your home can envision themselves living in your space.
In fact, everything you’re doing to prep your home for sale is making your home look its very best and allowing potential homebuyers to envision themselves in every room of your house. You want people touring your house to think, what if I bought this house? This room could be my office, nursery, guest bedroom, etc. However, it becomes hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in a room with purple walls.
Alternatively, painting the exterior of your home may be the best solution to getting your home sold faster. If your home’s color has faded from its former glory, the paint is chipping, or your house has always been that home on the block the neighborhood kids call the orange house, you may want to consider getting your home painted a more contemporary color. Though painting the exterior of your home can be pricey, when done by professionals, the process has a very quick turnaround time and the result will be sure to leave a lasting impression on potential buyers.
3. Enhance Your Curb Appeal
First, you’ll want to look at your landscaping in front of and around your house. How does your lawn, trees, and overall vegetation look? Make sure your lawn is freshly trimmed, all dead debris (like sticks and leaves) are picked up, and 2 to 3 inches of fresh bark mulch is placed around your shrubs, trees, and plants.
Do you have hedges that line your property or some other form of fruit or decorative trees on your property? Having your hedges trimmed and your trees cut back can make your yard go from something that resembles an unruly wilderness to a well-maintained and welcoming paradise.
Also, if you don’t already have decorative plants bringing color to your front driveway and entrance, a few well-positioned potted plants are an inexpensive and inviting sight for newcomers to your home.
Nothing turns potential homebuyers away faster than an unkept and cluttered home. If you’re looking to sell your house quickly, it might be a good idea to hire professionals to get your house in order. Decluttering and staging your home is a must if you want to make your home and all its uniqueness shine its best for potential buyers.
If your closets are overflowing with winter jackets, or you have too many large pieces of furniture in your living room, your spaces will not be showcased the way they should be. People touring your home like to look not just at the larger rooms, but also poke around in closets, drawers, and other storage areas to make sure their stuff will fit. If your stuff is in the way, that makes it much harder for buyers to see themselves in your space.
Furthermore, a deep cleaning is a must before any open house or home tour takes place. If you have a cat or dog (or both), you probably don’t smell them anymore. However, people that don’t have pets are acutely aware of homes that do, simply because it’s a scent they’re not used to. If you’re looking for a quick turnaround, a professional can help eliminate odors, stains, and any number of other things you may no longer be aware of and make your home feel brand new again.
5. Fence in Your Backyard and Refinish Your Deck
It’s amazing what a refinished deck or new cedar fence enclosing a backyard can do for a home. Not only is it functional and aesthetically pleasing, but the return on investment is nothing to shy away from if you’re looking for an easy project that will help you get your home sold fast.
In fact, the national average in 2019 for recouping the cost of a wood deck addition on a home is 75.6%. So, although you may take a small hit financially by adding a wood deck onto your house, you would recoup most of the cost and potentially sell your home faster because of the added feature.
Likewise, adding a fence to your property can do wonders for your home in a relatively short period of time. And according to a 2018 survey by the American Pet Product Association,”67% of U.S. households own a pet,” meaning over half the people touring your home have a fuzzy little friend, and a fenced in backyard is a bonus to some homebuyers but a must for others.
6. Fix Your Light Switches and Update Your Fixtures
So it’s true, people touring your home will play with your faucets, open your drawers, and test ALL your light switches. If you have a light switch that doesn’t work (or an electrical outlet), now is the time to get it fixed. Light switches that do not work signify to homebuyers that your house may have electrical issues, when in fact, it may be something much more simple. Nonetheless, at that point, you’ve already lost that potential offer.
You’ll also want to replace all your burnt out light bulbs to make sure every room in your house is bright and inviting. Furthermore, all your interior lights should be the same color temperature for consistent lighting throughout your house.
Updating your light fixtures, ceiling fans, and even your hardware on doors and cabinets is an easy and cost-effective way of increasing the perceived value of your home. If you already have an electrician fixing your light switches, they could also replace your dated brass light fixtures with ones that have a more contemporary feel. Beyond making your interior appear more modern to homebuyers, you can take this opportunity to find fixtures that can help brighten your home and make it stand out among other homes for sale in your area.
7. Upgrade Your Garage Door
Installing a new garage door is one of the simplest and quickest ways to give your home a much-needed facelift and impress potential homebuyers. New garage doors recoup nearly all the money invested into them, and, in some areas like the west coast, a new garage door actually recoups more than its initial investment at 123.8% on average. Meaning your new garage door could actually put money back in your pocket.
There are several styles and designs to choose from, just make sure that you go with a style that fits the look of your house. Especially if you’ve recently painted your home a more contemporary color, a new garage door can be that easy home improvement that pushes home lookers into actual offers.
8. Get a New Front Door
Give others entryway envy by upgrading your front door and transforming the character of your home. Over the years, front doors see a lot of abuse and begin to look worn and tired. Luckily, a new front door is quick to replace and a very cost-effective way of making your entryway unique and aesthetically pleasing to anyone stepping up onto your doormat.
Solid wood doors are always a classic style for homes not to go out of style anytime soon. They’re solid and typically last much longer than alternative materials like fiberglass. Additionally, front doors with inlaid glass can also give your entryway more natural light for the interior of your home. Either way, a new door is a quick and easy way to impress homebuyers.
If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, updating your kitchen with modern and timeless stainless steel appliances is a great way to go. Though this can be costly, new appliances really appeal to first-time homebuyers, and as a result, you could see more competitive offers.
Furthermore, there is a good possibility your appliances probably need to be updated anyway. Typically, larger appliances like fridges and stoves should be replaced every 10 years, while smaller appliances it’s recommended to be replaced every 5 years. Nonetheless, updated appliances are a safe bet if you’re looking to sell your home fast.