After being in this business for more than 10 years, I can say without a doubt, the best investment a home seller can make in their home before placing it on the market is staging. Most home upgrades will address one issue in one room. Home staging addresses every issue throughout the entire house! Honestly, there's no better investment or home selling hack. I've seen home owners forego a much needed new kitchen renovation, a new bathroom renovation, newly finished hardwood floors, new paint and new windows to instead opt for staging the entire house.
Choosing to stage your house doesn't mean you can forego obvious or necessary repairs to the home. Staging is not going to help a home buyer see past a distressed property. But presenting your house in its best light can help home buyers see beyond updates and upgrades that could be done and recognize the beauty and potential of the house.
However, not everyone is convinced that staging alone can make such a huge impact. If a home seller still wants to install home selling upgrades to the house before staging it, here are my other top nine recommendations of what to do.
1. Paint the Walls a Fresh, Light, Neutral Color
As homeowners, we love to add our personal style to our home. Potential buyers, however, are greatly affected by paint colors and can easily be turned off by the photos listed in the MLS if wall colors are bold or especially personalized. Light grays and beiges typically show well. Sometimes a soft green works too. Soft blues are good for bathrooms, kids’ rooms and occasionally basements. Reds, purples and yellows tend to turn buyers away, so you should change any walls with those colors to the others shades I’m recommending here.
2. Paint the Kitchen & Bathroom Cabinets
Painting the kitchen and bathroom cabinets is a fantastic idea if your original oak or dated white washed cabinets are still in good condition but simply need an updated look. Off white, dark brown/black or dark gray are all great color choices.
3. Install New Kitchen Countertops
Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Depending on your particular home and where it is located, you may find it worthwhile to replace the kitchen countertops. The kitchen has always been considered the heart of the home and can make or break a home sale. But since countertops can be a high ticket item, make sure you are moving in the right direction by choosing an appropriate material and color.
4. Paint an Ugly Fireplace Surround and the Interior of the Fireplace
Painting the fireplace surround isn’t something people think of doing and it makes such a big change. Plus, it’s an amazingly easy fix for the old, dated fireplace. Go ahead and paint it the same white shade as your trim. Be sure to use a semi-gloss paint. You can also use the same white for the mantel. Or paint or stain the mantel darker if you prefer.
5. Replace Light Fixtures Through the Entire Home
Changing your light fixtures will quickly give your home a new look! Buying and installing new, coordinating fixtures is generally much less expensive and much easier to do than homeowners realize. And once you see the difference it makes, you’ll be very happy you did.
6. Add New Hardware
In addition to replacing light fixtures, update the door knobs, kitchen cabinet pulls, bathroom vanities pulls and light switch plates. Yes, these are items you don’t really pay attention to on a day to day basis, but home buyers coming through your house will definitely notice them if they are old, faded or beat up. Keep your new hardware in the same color family as your light fixtures. And remember what we said above about neutralizing personal style? Change out all the floral or decorative light switch plates.
7. Clean or Replace Carpeting
If your carpet is old or worn, replace it. In addition to giving your home a fresh, renewed look, new carpeting also removes those funky house odors that live in carpeting. If your carpeting is still in good condition, at least have it professionally steam cleaned.
8. Coordinate the Exterior Features
Like the hardware, the house lights, house numbers, mailbox and porch paint are not elements you notice every day when you leave from and return to your house. But these features will make the very first impression on buyers when they show up to see your house. The façade sets their expectations of what is to come. You want them excited to see more before they even get out of their car! Add a welcome mat and potted plants to punch up the impact.
9. Clean Up the Yard
A freshly cleaned and pruned front yard helps improve your home’s overall appeal, not just your curb appeal. Take your yardscaping a step further by adding trees and shrubs for privacy or a sound barrier. No one wants to see wild, untamed landscaping when shopping for a house. That’s the equivalent of saying “look at all this work you’ll have to do once you move in!”
In addition to the all-important home staging idea, all nine of these suggestions will help improve how your home shows to potential home buyers. But if you don’t have the time, money or energy to implement any of them and you still want to sell your house fast, call Express Homebuyers today for a fair cash offer.
Tracy Kay Griffin is a member of Express Homebuyers Design Team. She was the Series Designer for HGTV’s “Get It Sold,” a Guest Designer for HGTV’s “My First Place” and the Lead Stager for Washington DC’s premier staging company, Red House Staging & Interiors.