Sunday, August 4, 2019

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home - 7 Simple and Necessary Improvements that Don't Require Renovations

Getting Ready to Sell Your Home Without Renovating

If you're getting ready to sell your home but can't afford any major renovations, lets review a list of updates you can do that won't cost a fortune.

1. Declutter

When getting ready to sell, the first step is to declutter your entire home. Include the basement, sheds, and garage as well. Go through all cupboards and closets and get rid of or store items you don't/won't need during the selling process. Remove unnecessary knick-knacks. Keep coffee and end tables sparingly decorated with lamps, candles and plants.

About the garage: Empty out the clutter so prospective buyers can easily determine whether their car(s) will fit inside. 

2. Paint Rooms

Painting can be time consuming, but it's an affordable first step to give your home a face lift before selling. Keeping the color scheme neutral will attract a broader range of potential buyers. Think in terms of grey, tan, beige, or white. Keep the baseboards and doors a nice crisp white. Avoid multi-colored baseboards! White baseboards provide a lovely border against the wall, rug/floor. Add pops of color with accessories only. Colorful pillows and throw blankets can bring interest to a space.

3. Create a Feature Wall(s)

A feature wall is an affordable and faster way to give your home something extra.  As an example, in the master bedroom, consider a focal wall behind the bed. Ideas for feature walls include faux brick, real brick, vinyl designs, wainscoting, and murals. Anything 'peel and stick' is the easiest.

4. Remove Personal Photos

Some sellers resist doing this. The general thought by those who aren't keen on removing their personal photos is that they feel displaying photos promote the family aspect of their home. However, that's not the way to think about this. 

When potential buyers walk into a home, they're not thinking about your family, they're thinking about how their own family will fit with the property. 

From the moment a buyer steps onto a prospective property they're analyzing the 'feel' for their own family. Emotion guides that process and a multiple combination of the smallest things move buyers closer to a decision. Looking at photos of your family is a distraction to the natural flow of this thought process. Why add a distraction? Let the buyers achieve an emotional connection to your home without disruption.

Your photos represents 'your' house, no photos allow the buyer to imagine their family in this new home. 

5. Clean, Clean and Clean

Let's go through a quick cleaning list:
  •  Declutter kitchen counters, shine kitchen sinks, wipe the cupboards and clean appliances
  •  Clean the grout on all tiles (floors, backsplash, bathtubs)
  •  Scrub bathrooms spotless!
  •  Steam clean all carpets and wash floors
  •  Vacuum your entire home
  •  Wash all the bedding, fluff pillows, and make a pretty bed (it's the focal point!)
  •  Steam clean couches and chairs
  •  Touch up any wall scuff marks with paint where applicable
  •  Ensure all light bulbs work
  •  Wash all the windows and screens
  •  Double check that all closets and cupboards are organized. Buyers will open them!
  •  Rid your house of unsavory pet and cooking odors - Try essential oils
  •  Give your pet area and/or litterbox a thorough disinfecting - Think good smells
  •  Trim overgrown trees, weed the garden and present a lovely entry way by ensuring there's a clear path to the front door.
6. Do You Have Pets?

If you have pets, and are able to, have your fur babies stay with friends or family during the selling process. If you can't arrange that, ensure your pets are secured or removed from the house before a buyer views your home. 

7.  Staging Your Home

Not everyone can afford a professional stager. However, you may reconsider staging when you read about the return on that investment! On average having your home professionally staged costs between .5 to 1 percent of a homes value. But get this: According to the National Association of Realtors for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400! 

If you can't afford a professional stager, complete these fundamentals:
  •  Minimize furniture in smaller rooms
  •  Position furniture so that people can walk through a room naturally without having to walk around pieces to get to doorways
  •  Use simple window coverings, leave them open for viewings
  •  Bring energy to a room by adding plants where applicable
  •  Display baskets of fresh fruit and/or herbs in the kitchen
  •  Turn on lamps and lights before viewings
  •  Ensure the laundry is completed and your mudroom or front closet is organized
  •  Clear the entry way of coats, shoes and boots
  •  Put a lovely seasonal wreath on the front door

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. When my son sold his house, they did exactly as you stated above, especially the 'declutter'. Before listing their house for sale, they first downsized (getting rid of things they did not want to keep), then rented a storage unit to store all non-essentials (winter clothes, extra books, too many toys, etc.). Besides giving their home a clean look, and consequently making the rooms look bigger without a lot of 'stuff' filling the spaces, by the time they sold their home they were half-packed for their move. :)

    1. Pat, they knew what they were doing. Did everything right. Bonus to have half the house packed ahead of time as well!

  2. Barbara, this is such great advice for anyone who wants to sell their home as quickly and profitably as possible! We’ve seen time and again on shows like Property Brothers the difference these cost-effective changes have on how fast a home sells and how much buyers are willing to pay. Great job!

    1. Thanks Margaret. There can be a lot to do when it's time to sell, so whenever possible it's nice to give yourself a year to get everything done, especially if there are a few renos to do. Some people don't have that much advance notice though of course. Our neighbor spent a year getting ready - they sold a number of years ago.

  3. I haven't sold a home in over 20 years (thankfully, I really hate to move). I know for a fact your tips and recommendations are excellent advice. When we did sell our last home, I set the price on the house for more than the realtor thought it would get (I knew the area well). We rented an off-site storage unit and moved boxes full of personal items, as well as a few pieces of furniture. I also made a photo album of the house in different seasons to show off my flower beds at their best. I left it on the kitchen counter. Actually, it was the only thing on the kitchen counter. The first day the house was on the market, the calls started immediately. 5 showings were set up starting at 10am the next day. I cooked brownies, swiped through the bathrooms, grabbed our children and our dog, and went to my mother's house for the day. We got 3 offers that day and ended up getting more for the house than the listing price. I know the size of the house was the biggest selling point. There were 3 bedrooms downstairs and a single gameroom upstairs. It truly was the perfect home for a couple with young children. The family that bought from us still lives in that house, just as we still live in the house we bought that month. We looked at a ton of houses when we were considering moving and I was stunned by how people even left dirty dishes in the sink and clothes on the floor. I wouldn't dream of buying a house that was so filthy and I don't think anyone else would either. I have no doubt people lose money because they show houses in "lived-in" condition instead of setting the house up to sell quickly.

    1. You absolutely knew what you were doing! Multiple offers is proof of that. Fantastic that you stuck to your guns re the price. Sometimes that doesn't pan out, but it sounds like you knew the area very very well. Your prep to sell was bang on as well. When we decide to sell our home, the mindset should be 'we've already moved on'. The entire process becomes more of a business transaction at that point. Of course when we've lived in a place for a long time, there's emotion even tears to say goodbye. However, getting a top sale price is key, and that requires planning and a measure of detachment that you clearly understood.

  4. Moving out of a home is difficult enough, let alone trying to sell it. This list if reminders and information is an excellent one. The one time I bought a home - many years ago, I offered much less than it was listed for... because it needed repairs and was not "neutral" at all. The ladies that lived there had it clean but completely full of their collections and decor. I'm convinced that's why the house didn't sell before I looked at it. Other potential buyers couldn't see past the stuff, in my opinion.

    1. Dawn, yep there are properties like the one you describe where they sellers list it 'as is'. That can hurt the price, or cause a price adjustment when listing as well. Your analysis, I'm sure is correct, people couldn't get passed the cosmetic. A lot of people can't. That type of sale requires a specific buyer type. Sounds like you're that type. :)

  5. Oh there is so much work to be done when selling a property, but, you must do these things in order to get the best price. Thanks Barbara for providing a great list of things to do along with the MUST DO'S! Great list and I will share with many who might be in this boat.


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