Getting To Sold
All Of The Easy Home Fixes To Make In This Market
Just a year ago you could put a dilapidated cabin with an active leak perched next to the highway
smelling of cats and it would get multiple offers. In this market there is still a lack of inventory
but buyers are taking their sweet time to buy. We know from this post, that it’s critical to have a
sale strategy. In addition to that, what repairs should you tackle to get your house sold in this
market? In this post we discuss all the easy and inexpensive fixes you can do to get your house
to stand out from the competition. In our next blog post we’ll reward you by telling you all the
repairs you can avoid, so stay tuned!
Paint the interior of your whole house a neutral color like Edgecomb Gray, Shoji White, or
Dover White in a flat, eggshell or satin sheen. We’ve used all of these colors in large spaces and
know they should work in any home. This is one of the least expensive, most effective things
you can do to get your house sold. It instantly updates it, makes it seem more cohesive, and
lends a designer element to it. To keep costs down, just touch up the trim paint instead of
repainting. We aren’t big fans of going to the expense of painting cabinetry but it can transform
certain spaces. If you’re confused about color selection or if you should paint your home or
cabinets, reach out to us. We have a lot of experience and love advising people about paint
If you don’t have to live in your house while it’s on the market, then store your things and stage
it. Staging plus new paint will make it feel like a brand new house even if kitchens and baths are
dated. People respond emotionally to staging. They can feel themselves suddenly having
extraordinary taste by living in a staged home. Once your Buyer associates your home with good
feelings, you’re in! If you can work out staging logistically this is a top recommendation. If you
need staging recommendations, reach out to us. We know great, affordable stagers who can help
The rule of thumb is to put away personal photos and store anything smaller than 12”. (I won’t
go into the roars of laughter this recommendation created at our sales meeting). It’s best if you
can sell your home staged and vacant, but the second best bet is to make it look vacant. We know
this seems tragic, but it’s not really your house anymore so you have to get it ready for the next
person who will love it. Buyers get distracted by shoes, clothing, purses, photos, and they get
overwhelmed by clutter. You can hire a professional organizer to help. We know several if you
need a recommendation.
There is possibly nothing worse or sadder for Buyers than a half empty house filled with
furniture rejects. Your Buyer does not want to buy your leftover furniture and the lonely,
desperate feeling of you moving on leaving unmade decisions behind is a total turn off. Donate
or sell any furniture you aren’t taking with you. Do not, under any circumstances, leave your
house half furnished. We know resources for donations and sales, so contact us if you need help.
Make sure your house is deep cleaned. That means baseboards, light fixtures, shelves,
appliances, closets, garage, basement, decking, walkways, windows, and carpets are all
thoroughly cleaned. Even the messiest Buyer is impressed by a clean house. We have seen
Buyers who refuse to buy a dirty house even though cleaning is such an easy fix. If you can do
nothing else, deep cleaning and decluttering are the two must do items to get your house sold.
Before you put your home on the market or get a home inspection, make sure you’ve had your
furnace, gutters, and other systems cleaned and serviced, as needed. When these items are dirty,
Buyers become uneasy that the Seller hasn’t maintained the home.
This one often gets overlooked but it’s one of our favorites because it’s fun, fairly inexpensive,
and you can take it with you. Buy high quality neutral bedding and beautiful throw pillows. You
can add an air of luxury with linen or linen-look duvet covers in neutral tones with matching knit
blankets folded at the bottom of the bed. Add some inexpensive throw pillows in a similar color
palette and your room is transformed. Match the bedding throughout the house. Most of these
items are available at TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Target or IKEA. Stagers do a great job with
bedding so if you’re looking for inspiration, take a look at some staging websites. It doesn’t need
to be expensive to look expensive.
FLOORING & CARPETING.
It’s tough to figure out whether to spend the money on flooring since it’s so taste specific. We
definitely advise against trendy, cheap flooring fixes such as the ubiquitous gray, driftwood
luxury vinyl plank. Often Buyers now see this flooring and wonder what other cheap repairs the
Seller has made.
Here are some other tips:
Wood: If you have hardwoods that really need work, refinish them with a more matte finish and
update the stain color to something without orange, gray or red undertones. A natural finish or
dark brown works well in most homes. It may be that professionally waxing or polishing your
floors will do the trick.
Carpet: If you have carpeting, get it professionally cleaned. If it still looks tired, buy some
inexpensive larger throw rugs at Home Goods or TJ Maxx and put them down on top of the
carpet. Try to keep the colors or your throw rugs similar throughout the house. If they look funky
in your space, you can return them. If they look good, you can take these with you to your next
house. You can also have older carpet restretched if it’s still decent but bunched up in places. If
your carpeting is really tired, stained, smelly and dated, consider replacing it with something
neutral. We can help advise on what’s being used in today’s homes.
Tile: Clean the grout in all of your tile. You can use Grout Renew which will instantly turn grout
its original color without scrubbing. This may be enough to change the look of your tile without
any other fixes. If the tile is older than 20 years and/or looks extra dated, then you can consider
painting it or covering it with tile stickers or luxury vinyl. You can replace it as well, but that’s a
very last resort. If you’re confused about your tile, reach out and we may be able to point you in
a good direction.
If you have dated ceiling fans – I’m talking to you faux wood with shiny brass accents – or
lighting, consider replacing the largest most offensive fixtures. The entryway, dining room,
living room and kitchen are the best places to start. You can also use wax like Gilder’s Paste to
change the color or sheen of the metal. Finally, make sure the fans and fixtures are extra clean
and that any bathroom or multiple fixtures have matching light bulbs.
Do you have faux stained glass in your front door? Windows on the diagonal? Would Bobby
Brady feel at home walking through it? Then it’s time to change out and paint or stain the front
door. There are many places you can buy a new or used front door that looks updated. We
recommend painting it a gloss black (Tricorn Black to be exact) if that matches your home.
Other good front door colors are Aegean Teal, Evergreen Fog, or Heritage Red. If that doesn’t
match the style of your home, consider staining it or leaving it natural and using a matte varnish.
If you’re selling in the non-winter months, take some photos and use a critical eye to see what
could be added or removed to make your house look its best. Make sure you do the easy things
first such as putting down new mulch, trimming overgrown shrubs, weeding, repairing broken
sprinkler heads, seeding brown patches, and mowing. If you’re adding shrubs or flowers, make
sure to use one color of flower that matches your homes exterior to add to the cohesive look of
your home. For example, use all whites or pinks or purples – don’t mix them up if you can avoid
ADD OR EXPAND A DECK.
A deck isn’t tremendously expensive, can add a lot of value to your home and is a must for
Buyers. If your deck is too small or you don’t have one, this is the only real major construction
item we recommend. If you do add a deck, make sure to make it cozy with an outdoor rug and
some plants. Even if you have no deck furniture, those items can make it feel like home to a
PRE-SALE HOME INSPECTION.
In this market, it’s a great idea to have a home inspection before you put your house on the
market. Buyers are looking for ways to pay less and they may use items in the inspection to
renegotiate the price. Have your home inspected and take care of the easier repair items and get
multiple bids for more major repairs. That way you’ve got accurate, competitive estimates of the
cost to repair. It means you won’t be caught getting high, last minute bids or losing the sale over
surprise items in the inspection. We know many good inspectors if you need a recommendation.
Are you exhausted just reading this? Don’t despair! Remember, it has traditionally
always taken a long time to sell a home and this market is no different. You can take your time,
make a list of priorities, make a budget and timeline, and reach out to us or your favorite agent
for guidance. It’s what we do and we love doing it!