Many of the sellers we work with have a very tight budget for selling their home. They’re usually not willing to put much money into getting their home ready to list, especially before the listing even hits the market. When sellers ask, “What do I need to do to my home before we list it?” these are the least expensive (and most important) tasks they need to accomplish!
1: Cleaning: The Number One Free Commodity that Every Seller Should Use
If you’re looking for the best return on your investment, you can either clean your home (for free) or hire a good professional cleaner (for about $150) to do it for you. In the past year, we’ve seen a huge increase in sellers happy to pay a professional to clean because they know the maid will do a more thorough job. Homeowners often get so used to seeing fingerprints on windows and dust on baseboards that it can be hard to notice (let alone actually clean) the areas that need addressing. For sellers who are out of town, investors of tenant occupied properties, and homeowners who work 40+ hours a week, hiring a professional is the best $150 they can spend.
We have an entire blog dedicated to getting your home ready for showings, and it has a checklist for the areas that typically need some TLC (such as decluttering countertops and power washing exteriors). We can’t overemphasize how important cleaning is when it comes to showings. Potential buyers can overlook an outdated kitchen, but a cluttered, sticky-looking countertop beside a smelly fridge will make them eager to see the next home in their list of appointments for the day.
2: Painting: A $20 Bucket of Paint Goes a Long Way
If cleaning is the absolute cheapest way you can prepare your home to sell, then painting is the second cheapest. Likewise with cleaning, if you’re too busy to do the paint work yourself, we can recommend a good, affordable painter. Certain paint colors like red tend to be distracting for home buyers, and other colors like yellow can make a home look dated. So what color should you use when you repaint? Sherwin Williams’ Agreeable Gray is a fantastic choice because it’s not too dark, and it makes white trim and ceilings pop. New construction homes in Charleston are trending with gray finishes because it’s so popular among buyers, and regardless of where your current home is located, you’re going to be competing with new construction. In addition to making your home feel more updated, painting also fills in little nail holes and imperfections. It also makes a room feel cleaner and brighter. Having a fresh coat of paint is a huge perk for buyers, and this inexpensive trick is one of the best things you can do to sell your home.
3: Improving Curb Appeal: Your Home’s First Impression
In Charleston, you can tell when a new listing on your street hits the market because you’ll see a noticeable increase in drive through traffic. When buyers find a new listing online, they often drive by to see it in person before making an official showing appointment. This drive by lets them see whether the photos online match the look and feel in person. They can also check out the neighbors and neighborhood as a whole to see if it’s a good fit for them. A home’s curb appeal is crucial for getting buyers through the door, so to speak. The more showings you can generate, the faster your home will sell and the higher your price will be.
Before your home hits the MLS, it’s important to mow the lawn, edge the sidewalks, trim the shrubs, and remove leaves (if it’s colder weather). The numbers showing your address (on your front door, garage, or mailbox) should be easy to read from the street so that drivers by can locate your listing. Little things like repainting your front door, placing a flower planter on the front stoop, and buying a new door mat can go a long way, too. First impressions count with home buyers because studies show that buyers usually know whether they’re going to put an offer in on a listing within the first 2 minutes of the showing!