So, you’ve got a house you’re desperate to get rid of. You want it off your hands, done, gone, finito! The only problem is, when it’s all said and done, you don’t have a ton of extra cash lying around for expensive renovations or fancy staging. Don’t freak! There are plenty of things you can do to get your home in selling condition, without burning a hole in your wallet. Here is a handy list of our top 6 favorite no-cost tricks that you can use to make your home more appealing to buyers.
1. Banish the clutter.
With the latest Marie Kondo craze sweeping the nation, you don’t want potential homebuyers to know that you’re basically the only person left in the U.S. who’s home is still filled with junk. Too much clutter can make a space feel suffocating and claustrophobic, which is definitely not what you want. The idea is to make the home feel open, clean, and full of possibilities, so that the prospective new owners can more easily envision their own personal belongings inside — you do not want them to be so distracted by all of your crap that they lose sight of the potential.
For the purpose of selling your house, you don’t necessarily have to do a complete overhaul of all of your possessions, just the very visible ones. Which, unfortunately for you means most every accessible location in the house, even the closets. Potential buyers will want to look everywhere. Yes, even those neglected storage nooks that you haven’t touched in years. For example, do you have a library full of worn books in your office? Tons of random appliances taking up valuable kitchen counter real estate? What about a thousand porcelain cat figures on display in the living room? Any mass quantities of very similar items that you touch less than once a year, either consider getting rid of them or boxing them up for storage, but make sure they are far away from view. Anything you can think of to clear up more space, DO IT!
2. Give your house a fresh new look.
Rearranging your furniture and decor can do wonders for a space. Plus, it’s kinda fun. And hey, this could be your opportunity to try out Feng Shui! This should be the step that comes after organizing and decluttering, when all of the little doodads and knick-knacks are out of your way and you can really focus on making the space look nice. When you’re doing this, you want to focus on a few things. First, the main goal is to make the space more functional. Consider what the purpose of the room is, and remove or add furniture to cater to the functionality of the room. For example, there shouldn’t be a craft table in the living room or a rocking chair in the kitchen. Even if you prefer to use the family room as a gym or the office as a dining room, prospective home buyers should be able to imagine themselves fulfilling the home’s potential. You don’t want their first thought when they walk into an area to be “Hm, this is a weird room.” And what’s the point of a living room that doesn’t have a couch or a dining room without a dining table?
Also, you want to consider the flow and accessibility of each room. Guests should be able to enter and exit the room without bumping into tables or tripping over ottomans. There are also ways to arrange your furniture to give the room the appearance of spaciousness. Don’t arrange furniture diagonally across corners, this reduces the size of the room immensely and leaves you with a non-functional corner area that’s only really good for collecting miscellaneous junk that falls down behind there. You’ll also want to get rid of any furniture that is kind of just floating in the room with no real place or purpose. It’s much better to have a few really nice, functional pieces of furniture than a vast number of not-so-useful pieces.
3. Clean! Clean! Clean!
Now that you’ve decluttered and arranged the furniture to create a more functional space, it’s time to get on your cleaning gloves. Leaving your house covered in a layer of dust and grime is a surefire way to turn off buyers, but it’s so easy (and free!) to clean your house yourself. Take extra care in mopping the floors and dusting/scrubbing surface areas. And don’t forget about the windows, natural light is key in making your home appear more open and spacious. The more natural light that can filter through, the better. Clean like your life depends on it! (In this case, it kinda sorta does.)
4. Stage everything.
I want it looking like a Martha Stewart cyclone blew through your home. Now is the time to finally take out and dust off that ornate tablecloth and elegant placemats that only see the light of day on Thanksgiving. Walking into the dining room and seeing the table all set up with your finest dishware will make visitors instantly wonder: did they take a wrong turn and accidentally step into a Pottery Barn? No! They’re in the right place, they just got confused for a second because your house looks like it belongs on the front page of Veranda. The idea is to help the potential home buyers imagine their family living there, so you want to do anything you can to make the house more inviting. Choose a few really great statement pieces (vases, artwork, etc) to add a pop of intrigue. And although it isn’t exactly no-cost, livening up the kitchen counter with some fresh, real flowers can really make all the difference. Heck, you can even set out a plate of chocolate chip cookies if you want to really go over the top.
5. It’s the little things that count.
Like we mentioned in the last tip, setting out a nice vase of fresh flowers is an excellent way to impress your visitors. But really, any greenery or fresh produce will do the job. Even if you have some wildflowers growing nearby, it might be nice to pick a few, dress them up, and arrange them in a vase. Or, if you have some fresh fruits and vegetables lying around on your counter or in your fridge, you could place them in a nice bowl and set it out on the counter. After all, though you want your house to be spotless and in great condition, you don’t want to make it seem like no one even lives there. Again, the idea is to create a space that is appealing to a family, so that they may envision what their life could be like in the home. A sterile, empty environment with no personal flair doesn’t exactly play into that whole concept.
Giving the home some character is important too. Just because we recommend cutting down on clutter, doesn’t mean you can’t display your Grandmother’s antique cuckoo clock. The point is that everything should have purpose. If you feel that a cherished family heirloom perfectly represents what the house means to you, you should put it on display. Featuring one or two sentimental items can actually really make guests feel that your home is a special place.
6. Be your own marketer.
You don’t have to rely on your real estate agent to get the word out about your home, nothing is stopping you from doing a bit of your own promoting! Let all of your friends and family know you’re selling your house, and tell them to pass on the word to anyone who may be interested. Make sure your home is posted on all of the real estate databases with quality photos and a killer description of all of the amenities. As long as you own, or know someone who owns, a phone that takes quality pictures, you can take some great photos yourself to pass around and post on the web. Post the images and write about it on your social media wall and ask friends and family to share. Or better yet, post in all of the neighborhood groups in the area. Usually there are hundreds to thousands of people in those groups, and someone is bound to take interest. You can even post flyers around town advertising your home. You never know where you could find an interested buyer, so the more visibility the better.
Perhaps the best part about utilizing these no-cost tips is that it will save you money that you can use to put towards the important bits that do require some cash, such as paint, repairs, etc. And though most of these do require some work on your part, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment from your amazing self-sufficiency. So get out there and tackle at least one of the things on this list, and you will be one step closer to closing the deal on your house!
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