Think Your Home Needs an Overhaul Before You List? Think Again

If you feel your home won’t sell without a massive amount of costly and time-consuming upgrades, you could miss out on the opportunity to move (it).

It’s also easy to “over-upgrade” and not receive the return on investment you were hoping for.

But it pays to make some free or low-cost and easy improvements before you list your house. Read on to learn more about where to maximize your efforts to see the biggest profits. 

Curb Appeal

People frequently judge a book by its cover — a residence that looks raggedy on the outside won’t attract many hopeful home buyers. But with a little sweat equity, you can vastly improve the appearance of your place and ramp up that curb appeal.

Revitalizing your front yard doesn’t take a long time, especially if you have some assistance. Simply mowing the lawn and removing weeds can be accomplished quickly and costs practically nothing. Adding mulch is an inexpensive way to improve the appearance of flower beds, bushes, and trees while controlling weeds, and it’s available in several colors. 

Freshening up your front door with a coat of paint is also a great way to entice buyers. Real estate agents say the colors that are most likely to result in a sale are black, slate blue, and olive green. Buy a new doormat too!

Creating a welcoming entryway with plants, outdoor seating, and colorful pillows makes your home seem much more inviting.

If your house numbers or mailbox is hard to see, dingy, or otherwise unimpressive, invest in new ones. These low-cost items provide a world of benefits. 

Grabbing some colorful seasonal flowers from your local nursery is another superb way to add visual appeal. Be sure to snag ones that will thrive in the unique Chicagoland climate, such as asters, purple coneflower, garden phlox, and oakleaf hydrangea. Flower pots and window boxes are a cheap and easy way to give your home some lovely personality.

Check your outdoor lighting, replace broken bulbs, and repaint fixtures that are chipped or discolored. Clean out your gutters, and pressure wash your driveway, walkways, concrete patios, and overhangs. 

In one weekend, you could possibly increase the value of your home by thousands of dollars.

The Inside Fix

The first thing you should do indoors is clean and declutter. Home buyers can overlook quite a bit, but a place that smells bad or looks like a location from Hoarders is a major dealbreaker. 

Dust and dirt can hide anywhere, and when people are viewing a house they might make an offer on, they look everywhere — so a thorough application of cleaning supplies is totally called for. A spotless home always looks much larger.

Don’t forget to look up. Ceiling fans, HVAC vents, light fixtures, and the tops of door frames trap dust and cobwebs that will drive buyers away in disgust. 

Conquering chaotic clutter is also key to making a good first impression. If this seems like a daunting task, just take it room by room. For especially challenging or large areas like the kitchen, take it one step at a time.

Get rid of things that are broken, stained, and of no more use. Recycle old newspapers, magazines, gift bags, and cardboard boxes. Donate books you’ll never read again and clothes you’ll never wear so someone else can enjoy them.

Many real estate experts suggest that you put away family heirlooms and memorabilia to depersonalize the space and give viewers a blank slate where they can imagine their own things. You may want to consider renting a small storage unit while you’re on the market so you can make your place look as spacious as possible.

Another thing to do that has a huge impact and doesn’t cost anything is washing your windows. Ensuring that there’s no dirt or fingerprints allows loads of natural light to shine through and impress your visitors.

Check your window treatments. They probably need to be dusted or washed, or you could buy drapery in pale shades and hang them ceiling-to-floor for a dramatic new look to add height and light to any room

Painting interior trim, doors, and frames is also a simple way to brighten up your whole house.

Closets, laundry rooms, and the kitchen pantry should also get some TLC. If they’re lacking in illumination, don’t panic, you don’t have to spend a lot of money or time. There are many super-affordable wireless lighting options that are perfect for small but mighty spaces. 

Shelving that’s neat and orderly and not jam-packed with too many items looks the neatest. Having tons of storage is always a desirable feature for any home. 

Out Back

Now that your place looks amazing from the street and as visitors walk through, the last thing is to check your garage and backyard. 

While a messy garage is somewhat de rigeur, that doesn’t mean you can’t buck the trend and offer buyers a stunning, well-organized part of the property that’s ready for their favorite hobbies. 

Creating an outdoor living space in your yard can also boost value without costing you a fortune. A seating area or shade structure can become an ideal spot for entertaining or relaxing, which appeals to prospective homebuyers. Stone fire pits and built-in grills are also typically in high demand if you’re up for an affordable one-day DIY project.

Expert Advice

Owning a home brings financial freedom and joy, but we all know it’s hard work to keep a home looking its best. Sometimes certain disagreeable tasks might get put off until another time. But when you decide to sell your house, it’s a smart move to take care of cleaning everything and removing anything unpleasant that could affect the value.

You might think that you’ll have to spend a lot of money to upgrade and remodel to attract qualified buyers, and that’s not necessarily true. 

A clean, bright, uncluttered property is always going to seem more inviting and therefore more attractive to buyers.

Be sure you’re getting the best advice on selling your home. We’ve been working with owners and buyers for over 167 years, and we know exactly how to showcase your home’s best features and get the highest offer possible. 

Get the most qualified team on your side — reach out today!

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