Real estate has a record of increasing in value over time, but there are simple things that a property owner can immediately do to increase the eventual sales price of a home. The final sales price of a home is determined by factors that are common to all properties like: number of bedrooms, number of baths, size of rooms, square footage, etc. However, the actual sales price of the home will be established when the buyer and the seller come to a mutual agreement as to the actual dollar amount.
This being the case, it is possible for the seller of the property to do a number of simple tasks that can, and probably will, increase the actual dollar amount that the buyer is willing to pay. What are these things and how expensive will it be to complete or finish them? Before we examine 10 relatively easy things the seller can do to increase the marketability of the property as well as the ultimate sales price of the house, let’s put our “buyer’s hat” on.
The price of a property is a factor of the Supply/Demand function. If you can increase the demand, then the price of a home will increase. How do you increase the demand? It’s simple, you must operate on the fact that BUYERS BUY BENEFITS! If you want to increase the number of potential serious buyers, you must illustrate the benefits of the property to the buyers. The way you can do this is to put yourself in the mind of the buyer. Ask yourself, “What are the things that would make you want to buy this property?” Start thinking like the buyer as you walk through your own home. Forget the fact that you’re the owner and have to fix any problems you see. Look at the things you can do to make the property more appealing to all the potential buyers. Here are 10 Easy Ways to Increase the Final Market Price of a Home.
Easy Way #1 – Start at the Gate
Remove any and all miscellaneous trash and junk. Remember to look at the property as if you were just getting out of your car. As the buyer, your first impression will factor into two different questions: Would you want to own the property? And How much would you pay for the right to own it? You want to ensure that the potential buyer is answering these questions positively.
Even if you have a special emotional attachment to old tools and the wheelbarrow that belonged to your father – get rid of them. You want the first impression to be one where the buyer is imagining what he or she would do to enjoy the yard. Take the time to clean up anything that could be considered to be clutter. The more clean and uncluttered the property is, the better the first impression will be.
Highlight the entrance. Even before the buyer enters the home, he or she will focus on the entrance to the house. The cleaner and brighter you can make the front door and porch, the better impression you will make. Once again, remove excess items from the porch like shoes, toys, and above all else – garbage.
Easy Way #2 – Improve the Curb Appeal
You want positive impressions and feelings when the potential buyer looks around the yard. So, start by mowing the lawn and pruning the shrubs. If your property needs some lawn sod to improve the first impression, go ahead and have it installed. Whatever steps you can do to improve the looks of the yard, the better off you will be. If you need to hire some help from neighbor boys to make the yard look like something out of a magazine, it will pay huge dividends.
Pay special attention to the front of the house itself. Does the house need painting or would it help if you just got a pressure washer from the rental store and hosed down the whole thing? Once again, buyers buy benefits, and you want the buyer to see the benefit of a great looking house and yard.
After cleaning everything up and removing excess debris from the property, take a minute and look up and down the street and ask yourself, “What could I do to make the house look better than the houses of all the neighbors?” We’re not talking about spending a lot of money, but rather just being conscious of how to improve the looks of the house and yard from the street. Sometimes a little bit of money and some diligent work in the yard will pay huge dividends in the actual sales price of the home, and in the shortened time in selling.
Easy Way #3 – Clean, Sweep, Mop, and Clean Again
Start by removing any and all trash, and then do a survey of how you can clean the house as if it were a new home. As a buyer, what would you notice about the cleanliness of the home? Is there dust on the pictures? Yes, you need to dust, sweep and vacuum throughout the house. If there are bookcases, the books need to be straightened and lined up. Furniture needs to be moved and straightened, after cleaning underneath. Bedrooms must be immaculate with all excess items removed.
Now you need to get to the bathrooms. Take the time to scrub and scour and make the toilets, showers, and tubs look as new as possible. Clean the floors and baseboards. Don’t forget to open the cabinets and clean and straighten. If there are excess or old items, discard and trash them.
Next stop is the kitchen. Appliances are key. Start with the stove and fridge. Even if you are taking the appliances with you, they are an integral part of the kitchen and they need to show as brilliant and clean. Pay special attention to the cabinets. Straighten the dishes and clean the doors. Many people spend a little bit of money and actually paint the cabinets. If necessary and if you have the money, new cabinets can sell the home as people spend most of their waking moments in the kitchen.
Finally, don’t forget the garage and storage areas. They need to be cleaned and made to look as clutter free as possible. Many people judge a home on the amount of storage space available. You don’t want your storage areas to look cluttered and dirty.
Easy Way #4 – Do a Final Declutter
Throughout the cleaning process we have been consciously removing as much of the clutter as possible, but now we are looking at ways to maximize spacial perception. When there is too much furniture in a room, the room looks small. If you want the potential buyer to think the rooms are large and spacious, try removing some of the furniture. Many sellers realize that they weren’t actually using the items they removed as part of the declutter process.
If you can declutter the closets in the bedrooms, you will find that the closets seem larger. Clutter clogs up any room, and when you remove excess items from the room, everything seems larger.
The garage always seems to be a magnet for clutter, and now you want to get rid of as much of the clutter as you can. Some sellers have realized that renting a small storage unit for a few months can actually be financially smart when they move their clutter from the house to the storage unit. However, it doesn’t seem to take long for these same people to realize that they weren’t actually using the items they put into storage.
Easy Way #5 – Store Your Personal Memories
Buyers want to make the new home (hopefully your house) theirs. They want their own memories. If you have a ton of family photos occupying all the wall space, it might be time to pack some of the photos up and leave room on the walls. You aren’t getting rid of the photos – only freeing up wall space.
Easy Way #6 – Brighten the House
You want to let in as much light as possible to the home. Avoid heavy dark drapes that create depressing feelings. Windows are designed to let in the light and you want as much light as possible.
Consider visiting the paint store and getting neutral color paints to cover the walls. Paint isn’t expensive and can lighten the rooms of the home dramatically. Avoid heavy colors like reds and dark blues. People have been found to be more positive when they are in light and bright rooms. There is a reason why windows occupy most recovery rooms in hospitals. If your home is deficient in the amount of outside light you have, then consider using floor lamps and table lamps to give a bright and cheery effect.
In certain rare instances you may want to add a window to let in more light. When you add windows, make sure you get professional help in order to avoid problems later on.
Easy Way #7 – Add Living Plants
Nature is soothing and when you can add a limited amount of living plants in vases and pots within the house, it creates a feeling of comfort. You can use plants to emphasize certain parts of the house that can positively impact the buyer. Consider putting a few plants next to the fireplace. It will draw positive attention to the fireplace.
Easy Way #8 – Use the Senses
Smell is an extraordinary sense in selling homes. It can be a negative if you have stale smells in a home, like cigarette smoke or cooking bacon, but it can be a real positive if the smell is one that evokes positive thoughts. Some years ago, most malls allowed cookie smells to be wafted throughout the malls. Sales were great, but other store owners objected and malls quit allowing the baking cookies to be smelled throughout the entire building. Today, you have that same opportunity. Baking bread and cookies can be a delight when people enter the home to view it.
On the negative side, if you have any smells or odors permeating throughout the structure, you need to clean the walls and take the steps to get rid of unwanted smells. Oftentimes, you might have to remove carpets and repaint to rid the house of the bad smells. It also helps to air out the home and make sure you have good ventilation throughout.
Easy Way #9 – Create Extra Space
As we declutter the home, we give the impression of added space. Now we need to increase this illusion whenever possible. Avoid huge bulky furniture in decorating. Too large furniture will make the room smaller.
It’s not recommended to start adding rooms to every home, but if you have a room that is presently a storeroom and is large enough to be a bedroom, you may have another option. Maybe it would be wise to store the storage items in your new storage unit and turn the storeroom into a bedroom by adding a new window. If there is not enough room for a full closet, consider using an armoire as an alternative option.
Throughout the house you want to create the feeling of a large space. When people remodel loft areas in renovated buildings they leave the ceilings open. High ceilings create the feeling of much larger space.
Easy Way #10 – Use Small Renovations
This final tactic is one that has to be weighed financially. Some renovations are very costly and may not create any added value beyond the cost of doing the renovation. The exception might be something like finishing a partially finished basement. This would create added space to the home but should be done in a very professional manner.
You may want to update appliances and fixtures in the kitchen or bathroom. These are two rooms that have a strong eye appeal. Whenever you update these rooms, make sure you use neutral colors and bring in lots of light.
First impressions are lasting ones. If you want to improve the marketability of your home, then pay attention to the little details. Simple easy-to-follow tactics like the above strategies can pay big dividends in finding more potential buyers, and when you have more buyers, the price you receive for the property should naturally increase.