1. Focus on the Foyer
Most prospective buyers enter your home through the front door, so that’s a prime spot to make some improvements. Apply a fresh coat of paint if it’s looking dingy, eliminate or hide all clutter (mail, shoes, keys, newspapers), and clean out the coat closet so that it looks more spacious. Then pick one thing that you could upgrade in this area. Add a new hanging light fixture or replace that Civil War painting with a large mirror. Maybe it’s time to replace that old bowl of potpourri with a simple, fresh floral arrangement or a stack of design books with an ornamental accessory on top. The look should be simple and sophisticated.
2. Repaint your walls to match your drapes
Looking to add a luxurious, polished look to your home? Now is not the time for a bold design statement. Instead, create the illusion of space by pairing your wall and drapery colors (preferably in a nuanced, neutral hue). This gives the space an unbroken appearance, ultimately making your decor appear more integrated and smooth.
3. Use awkward spaces to your advantage
That spot under the stairs has been the perfect catchall to hold unused junk, but that won’t be a big sell to buyers, who are trying to imagine your space as the tableau for their new, clutter-free lives. Instead, take advantage of odd little nooks in your home by turning them into a reading nook or small office space. Or install built-in shelves in the area—they always rank high on buyers’ want lists.
4. Hang mirrors strategically
It’s okay to use just the teensiest bit of visual trickery to make spaces appear more light and luxurious. Mirrors hung in dim or cramped spots reflect lighting that gives a more spacious, luminous feel to the area.
5. Replace your bathroom towels
Give your restrooms the spa treatment by swapping out old, mismatched towels for some luxe, fluffy replacements in brilliant white. You can even do the same thing for your linens, trading old quilts and sheets for plush, clean, new bedding. There’s nothing like crisp, white surfaces to transport visitors, so their effect on your bathrooms and bedrooms should not be underestimated. Just think, finding the right buyer could be as simple as changing the towels!
6. Define Rooms
Make sure each room has a single, defined purpose. Also make sure that every space within every room has a purpose so that buyers will see how to maximize the home’s square footage. If you have a finished attic, make it an office. A finished basement can become an entertainment room, and a junk room can be transformed into a guest bedroom. Even if the buyer won’t want to use the room for the same purpose, the important thing is for them to see that every inch of the home is usable space. This includes alcoves, window seats, corners, breakfast nooks and so on.
Your home’s exterior will be the first impression buyers get and may even determine their interest in viewing the inside. Make sure your lawn, hedges, trees and other plants are well-maintained and neatly pruned and eliminate any weeds. To brighten windows, wash them well, and consider adding flower boxes to brighten them up further. If you can, power wash your home’s exterior – it can make it look almost freshly painted but with less effort and expense. Make sure the sidewalk leading up to the house is clear and clean, and purchase new doormats for the front and back doors. If you have a pool, showcase it by making sure it’s crystal clear. Creating some sort of outdoor living space in the backyard, such as a deck or patio with outdoor furniture, is another way to use the exterior of your home to its greatest advantage.
8. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Don’t hire a real estate agent just because they’re also a die-hard fan of your college football team or they’re from your hometown. What really matters? A track record of sales that proves they know how to sell your house fast. Are they familiar with the benefits (and negatives) of your neighborhood? Can they walk into your home and tell you precisely what buyers will love and hate? Are they, basically, the fairy godparent you never knew you needed? One way to be sure: check their reviews. “Check the online client reviews and feedback on all the agents you’re considering,” says Forss. You should also make sure your agent promotes their properties online. Make sure they hire a professional to take photos and includes a variety of photos on their site and social media. “The agent should promote the listing on social media to build up demand before it goes on the market,” says Forss.
9. Get real about pricing.
Today’s buyers are very educated about the comparable sales in the area, which heavily influence the fair market value of your home. And they also know that they’re in the driver’s seat. To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so, then try to go 10-15% below that when you set your home’s list price. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers. (Bidding wars do still exist!)
10. Listen to your agent.
If you find an experienced real estate agent to list your home, who has a successful track record of selling homes in your area, listen to their recommendations! Find an agent you trust and follow their advice as often as you can.