If a hot housing market has you thinking about selling your home, you’re not alone — record numbers of people are using this era of “quick real estate turnarounds” to upgrade to their dream home, downsize and consolidate, or move to another region of the country.
But deciding to sell doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to sell; in fact, making the decision to sell is usually what prompts homeowners to finally take care of all those repairs and updates that they’ve been saving for another day (or year).
Even if you’ve maintained your home exceptionally well, you probably have at least one or two things to take care of before your house is “market ready.” Let’s explore five home updates and improvements that all sellers should consider before listing with an agent:
1. Reset and Refresh with Paint
As a low-cost improvement with a high rate of return, painting is one of the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways to refresh your interior spaces and make your home feel more neutral and inviting.
Neutral tones appeal to buyers because it helps them see your home as a blank canvas that will readily accommodate their style preferences. If you’re not sure which color combinations are best for your interiors, ask a design professional what they’d recommend based on lighting, flooring, and other architectural elements.
Don’t forget to refresh dingy ceilings as well as trim — using high-gloss paint on baseboards, crown molding, and door and window trim can go a long way in brightening and redefining your space.
2. Minor Bathroom Update, Major Impact
As one of the highest-use spaces in any home, bathrooms are typically designed with longevity in mind. But that doesn’t mean they remain perfectly functional and aesthetically appealing forever; in fact, bathrooms tend to call for minor updates more frequently than other spaces.
An outdated bathroom can be a major turn off for prospective buyers, but you don’t have to gut and renovate it completely to make it more appealing; basic improvements and upgrades are often all it takes to get the job done.
A fresh coat of paint, a new sink, and updated lighting can transform a small powder room, while replacing the tub, tile surround, toilet, vanity, and fixtures in your main bathroom almost pays for itself — nationwide, minor bathroom renovations offer a 60% ROI (return on investment), meaning you’ll recoup three of every five dollars you spend when it’s time to sell.
3. Give Your Kitchen a Little TLC
It may not be time to design your dream kitchen when you’re ready to sell, but it is time to take a hard look at your space through the eyes of a prospective buyer. What works in your kitchen, and what needs a little TLC?
A minor kitchen remodel carries a 72% ROI in the average real estate market, meaning you can expect to recoup 70 cents of every dollar you spend when you sell. Apart from its high ROI, a minor kitchen update can be a major selling point — a beautiful kitchen is more likely to lead to a quick, effortless sale than an outdated one that needs obvious work.
A fresh coat of paint, new flooring, and updated fixtures can do the trick if your cabinets and appliances are in great shape; new countertops and a tile backsplash can enhance a basic kitchen. Make outdated cabinets look current and fresh with a simple and cost-effective refacing.
4. Replace or Refurbish Worn-Out Flooring
From decluttering your spaces to completing minor repairs, there are a lot of simple ways to enhance your home’s appeal for prospective buyers. There are also more expensive home improvements that carry a lot of weight with buyers, such as new energy-efficient windows or upgraded lighting fixtures.
If you have a bit of money to invest in your home to make it more tempting for buyers, it’s always a good idea to consider the state of your floors. Just as no buyer wants to see dirty, worn-out carpeting in a prospective bedroom or family room, most people think twice about buying a house that seems to require major flooring updates.
Have soiled carpet cleaned by a professional, and replace carpeting in key areas (like the main bedroom) if it’s shabby or past its prime. Consider refinishing scruffy, scratched up wood flooring and replacing old dingy laminate or vinyl flooring if you can.
5. Refine and Enhance Your Curb Appeal
First impressions matter, especially when it comes to making someone else feel like your house could become their home. But first impressions don’t begin in the interior entryway of your home; they begin at (and around) the exterior threshold, as viewed from the curb.
Refining and enhancing your home’s curb appeal gives prospective buyers more incentive to see what else your house has to offer. Start by tidying up your yard: get rid of weeds, replace unhealthy plantings, edge and mulch your garden beds, and add landscaping lighting.
To update your home’s exterior façade, try painting your front door, updating your lighting fixtures, removing outdated awnings and shutters, upgrading old wrought-iron railings, or adding a pergola over a bare front stoop.