10 Ways to Make Your House More Salable
- Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to make closets seem roomier. Clean out the garage.
- Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior.
- Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. A clean house makes a better first impression and convinces buyers that the home has been well cared for.
- Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows.
- Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements and other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
- Make minor repairs that can create a bad impression. Small problems, such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet, may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well maintained.
- Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, and edge the walks. Put a pot or two of bright flowers near the entryway.
- Patch holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
- Clean your gutters.
- Polish your front doorknob and door numbers.
10 Ways to Make Your Home Irresistible
- Put fresh or silk flowers in principal rooms for a touch of color.
- Add a new shower curtain, fresh towels, and new guest soaps to every bath.
- Set out potpourri or fresh baked goods for a homey smell.
- Set the table with pretty dishes and candles.
- Buy a fresh doormat with a clever saying.
- Take one or two major pieces of furniture out of every room to create a sense of spaciousness.
- Put away kitchen appliances and personal bathroom items to give the illusion of more counter space.
- Lay a fire in the fireplace. Or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
- Depersonalize the rooms by putting away family photos, mementos, and distinctive artwork.
- Turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes to make the lawn sparkle
5 Ways to Speed Up Your Sale
- Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
- Get your house market-ready for at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
- Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a seller.
- Be ready for the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
- Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, be prepared to lower your asking price.
7 Terms to Watch for in a Purchase Contract
- The closing date. See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable for you.
- Date of possession. See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable for you.
- The earnest money. Look for the largest earnest-money deposit possible; since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out, a large deposit is usually a good indication of a sincere buyer.
- Fixtures and personal property. Check the list of items that the buyer expects to remain with the property and be sure it’s acceptable.
- Repairs. Determine what the requested repairs will cost and whether you’re willing to do the work or would rather lower the price by that amount.
- Contingencies. See what other factors the buyer wants met before the contract is final—inspections, selling a home, obtaining a mortgage, review of the contract by an attorney. Set time limits on contingencies so that they won’t drag on and keep your sale from becoming final.
- The contract expiration date. See how long you have to make a decision on the offer.
20 Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home
Make your home more appealing for potential buyers with these quick and easy tips.
- Trim bushes so they don’t block windows and cut down on light.
- Buy a new doormat.
- Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
- Put new doorknobs on your doors.
- Put a fresh coating on your driveway.
- Edge the grass around walks and trees.
- Keep your garden tools out of site.
- Be sure kids put away their toys.
- Buy a new mailbox.
- Upgrade the outside lighting.
- Use warm, incandescent light bulbs for a homey feel.
- Polish or replace your house numbers.
- Clean your gutters.
- Put out potpourri or burn scented candles.
- Buy new pillows for the sofa.
- Buy a flowering plant and put it in a window you pass by frequently.
- Make a centerpiece for your table with fruit or artificial flowers.
- Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.
- Buy new towels.
- Put a seasonal wreath on your door.
Tips on How to Price Your Home
- Consider comparables. What have other homes in your neighborhood sold for recently? How do they compare to yours in terms of size, upkeep, and amenities?
- Consider competition. How many other houses are for sale in your area? Are you competing against new homes?
- Consider your contingencies. Do you have special concerns that would affect the price you’ll receive? For example, do you want to be able to move in four months?
- Get an appraisal. For a few hundred dollars, a qualified appraiser can give you an estimate of your home’s value. Be sure to ask for a market-value appraisal. To locate appraisers in your area, contact The Appraisal Institute (www.AppraisalInstitute.org) or ask a REALTOR® for some recommendations.
- Ask a lender. Since most buyers will need a mortgage, it’s important that a home’s sale price be in line with a lender’s estimate of its value.
- Be accurate. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent over the correct price take longer to sell.
- Know what you’ll accept. It’s critical to know what price you’ll accept before beginning a negotiation with a buyer.