Want to Sell Quickly? Boost Curb Appeal and More

This is a great time to sell your house. The weather is beautiful and everything is blooming. However, no amount of sunshine and flowers can overcome crummy curb appeal. While there are a lot of things you can do to make your property more appealing, none of those things matter if prospective buyers never make it inside.

Curb appeal is the first impression potential buyers get when they drive up to your house. I can’t tell you how often I hear from Realtors that, after driving up to a house to show it, their clients take one look and say, “Nevermind, we don’t need to go in.”

So, if you plan to sell your house, make sure it looks great from the curb. Paint the front door (and maybe the whole house), clean up the landscaping, put away ladders and trash cans and buckets cluttering the view. If the roof is in obvious need of repairs, fix it. I once looked at a house for sale that had such terrible dry rot next to the front door that you poke your finger right through the siding. Needless to say, I wasn’t interested in buying the house after that.

While you’re sprucing up the front and side yards, might as well keep going. Your back yard should also look great. If you have a pool, make sure it’s sparkly clean and the outdoor furniture around it looks neat and orderly.

Once you get prospective buyers in the door, the rooms where upgrades will make the biggest
impression are generally the kitchen and the bathrooms. Let’s start with the kitchen.

If you cannot afford repairs or upgrades, focus on cleaning and decluttering. No one wants to see dirty dishes in the sink or a counter covered in crumbs. Once you’ve cleaned as though your mother-in-law is coming to dinner, remove everything you can from the counters. Put away the knife block, cutting board, toaster, and coffee pot.

Then go to the pantry and pull everything out. Only put back the items that haven’t expired and that you actually think you’ll use someday. (Give yourself permission to toss the jam you got for Christmas from your neighbor who died last year). The last time I moved, I packed up my pantry without checking expiration dates and ended up with food that had expired more than ten years ago lurking in the back of my pantry.

If you cannot afford a remodel, you can still make small updates that have a big impact. You don’t have to replace all the cabinets, for example, but if you replace the cabinet doors or simply paint the existing cabinets, it can give the impression of a more modern kitchen. In my house, the cabinets date back to 1950, so I would definitely need to update them.

If you can afford to remodel an outdated kitchen, you will likely be able to recoup your costs (and possibly more) when you sell your house.

The next rooms to focus on are the bathrooms. As with the kitchen, do a deep clean before prospective buyers arrive. Be sure to close the shower curtain, put the toilet seat down, and hide countertop clutter.

If you can afford some upgrades, consider replacing the vanity and faucets. If your linoleum is old fashioned—and especially if it is discolored around the toilet—rip it up. If you see any water damage, call the pest and fungus inspector. Once you’ve completed any necessary repairs, replace the linoleum with a more modern choice.

All Around
I always recommend getting inspections as soon as you decide to put your property on the market. Inspectors often leave you with a list of repairs, many of which are simple and can be done in about five minutes. Each little repair you do shortens the list for potential buyers, so take the time to tighten wobbly doorknobs, replace the air filter, and whatever other little tasks you can manage.

Your Realtor can help you determine which updates and clean ups will improve the marketability of home, from curb appeal to other improvements. You may just find that once you’ve taken your Realtors advice and made all these changes that you don’t want to move after all.

If you have questions about property management or real estate, please contact me at rselzer@selzerrealty.com or call (707) 462-4000. If you have an idea for a future column, share it with me and if I use it, I’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to Schat’s Bakery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *