Home Improvement—Tips To Prep Your House for A Speedy Sale Without Breaking the Bank

September 2014 View more

Family looking at house for saleAwhile back, I wrote about selling homes and came away with a few inexpensive tips to speed up a possible sale: patch walls and paint them a neutral realtor white; remove clutter and family pictures, sports memorabilia and other distractions so buyers can picture themselves living in your home; make your home spotless and the landscaping manicured. Here are a few other things to consider before you put your home on the market.

First Impressions

According to Sue Vidmar, brokerowner of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Elite Realtors in Naperville, first impressions are everything. When the buyer drives up, the first thing they’ll get a feel for is curb appeal. “You have 10 seconds as you’re pulling the key out of the key box at the front door and 10 seconds as you enter the home for the potential buyer to establish an impression,” said Vidmar.

Avoid Visual Turnoffs

Homeowners are often unaware of visual turnoffs to buyers, and much of the time it’s room-clutter related. The two cushy recliners and big sectional couch in the family room might be comforting for the homeowner, but might be a show stopper for buyers looking for a more spacious area.

Hire a Home Stager

Jim McEneaney, regional manager, senior vice president, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, who oversees operations of 11 offices including one in Naperville, says home stagers work with realtors and homeowners to add another set of eyes when it comes to getting your home in shape for sale. “The cost of using a stager will vary depending on the scope of the job. It could simply be a matter moving furniture to storage or eliminating pieces of furniture that don’t work as well as they should together, then renting some furniture,” said McEneaney.

Staging services offer a variety of service and pricing options. For a modest fee, a stager like Simply Staging in Naperville will tour your home and give you a verbal consultation while you take notes. Then again, your realtor may be a pretty good advisor, and you’re already paying them a commission.

Taking it up one notch, your stager can do a walk-though, similar to the verbal consultation, but also spend time jumping in and doing some of the work to get the transformation started. One notch higher, Simply Staging’s “Do It for Me” services are for homeowners who want professionals to transform their home into a place buyers will fall in love with.

Put It In Storage

The cost of offsite storage can range anywhere from $50 per month for a 5×5-foot unit, which is big enough to pack up boxes of knick-knacks, to as much as $500 for an 18×20 or 10×25 space.

Want a cheaper way to go? I found a book by Lauri Ward, titled Use What You Have Decorating, which works just as well in helping you rearrange your current furniture if you’re selling as it does helping you design rooms if you continue to live there. Finally, if you have a friend whose home screams streamlined, but livable, invite him or her over for some honest advice.

Home Improvement

Your realtor will have the best feel for your competition in the local housing market. McEneaney says that sometimes spending another $10,000 on important upgrades – especially if neighboring homes on sale have made those investments – could be worth your time and money in upping your ultimate selling price.

If you are planning to remodel or renovate you might want to do some research online for the top remodeling projects that pay back the most. The updated Remodeling Magazine’s “2014 Cost Versus Value Report” is another good online source that shows the average return on investments for 35 remodleing projects using Chicagoland statistics.