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Five Things Under $500 To Get Your Home Ready To List

Feb 5, 2013

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One of the most common questions I get during a listing presentation is what needs to be done to get the home ready. Most sellers understand the importance of getting a home ready for sale and it can be the difference of getting top dollar and a quick sale.

Since the economy has been slow for years, some sellers are not in the position to spend thousands of dollars to get their home ready. With a little elbow grease, here are five things under $500 that will help kick start any seller in the right direction.

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  1. Beauty Bark Flower Beds, Mow and Edge. In the front yard, beauty bark the flower beds and mow/edge your lawn, especially the area around the front entry. You may have some items you can’t correct inside but first impressions are always key so addressing the yard is important. You don’t want any buyers to continue driving past your home because of the yard not being presentable. Yard work is hard work but FREE. 2-3 yards of bark can go a long way to clean up a yard.

    Approximate cost for bark is $75.

  2. Clean, Sweep, Paint and Polish the Front Area. The first stop any buyers and their agent will make consistently is the front door. The majority of real estate agents will hang their lock box on the front door so time will be spent pulling the key. It may not be the fastest process so more then certain any buyers will be looking around the front entrance area. Cob webs and dust bunnies apparently love to hang out within these areas so doing a sweep and wipe down of the area is the first step. I always suggest painting the front door and putting on new hardware. If budget is an issue you can get away by polishing the hardware as long it does not look worn out. Having that fresh painted door can make a big difference.

    Approximate cost for a quart of paint and brush is $25.
    Approximate cost for new door hardware is $150.

  3. Declutter, Vacuum, Wipe Down, and Take Down. The biggest and cheapest way to make an impact on your home is to declutter, vacuum, wipe down and take down. Majority of buyers want to see themselves someplace better and more beautiful so your home needs to be organized, clean and attractive.

    To start, remove items off your counters and tables to present a clean simple look especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. These areas are the most impactful and most talked about by buyers. When listing a home, those personal photos can become a turnoff to potential home buyers. There are differences of opinions in regards to personal photos but I feel having too many can be a distraction. You want the buyer to focus on the home and not your family vacation. Take down the majority of the personal photos and only share a few to create a sense of home. You will be packing when you move so to start now will only make your home show well and get you ahead of the game. If the funds are available then a good steam cleaning is a great idea.

    Approximate cost $0 or steam clean carpets is $150.
  4. Paint an Accent Wall. Once you have decluttered, you may feel some of the walls are not as presentable and need a splash of zest. A quick way to address this and add freshness to a room is to paint an accent wall. By painting just one wall with a splash of accent color can make a bold statement. This is where you only paint one or two walls in a room to create pop and freshness. One way to paint an accent wall is to choose a color a couple of shades darker than the other walls. If working with a white wall a latte color works well. 2-3 gallons of paint can go a long way to freshen up without painting a whole house. For more info on color selection read my Color Blog.

    Approximate cost for 3 gallons of paint with supplies is $75.

  5. Light and Senses. There are two items that always seem to get the most feedback from buyers when viewing homes. How dark a home is or the funny smell in the home. I always tell my sellers to clean all the windows and to have as much natural light come into the home. It makes a place feel fresh and clean. An unpleasant odor can really leave a bad impression. It might seem a little silly, but a pan of vanilla or cinnamon and water placed in a warm oven can create the homey illusion of baking cookies. An alternative is to purchase air freshners that are not overbearing. Any one of these things will help keep a buyer in a home longer to help possible close a deal.

    Approximate cost for cleaners and air fresheners is $25.

These simple five things are cost effective and things you can do yourself to get your home ready to sell. What do you think?

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