In the competitive world of real estate, a strategy that is vital to your success is making your client’s property stand out among the other properties on the market. In order to do this, homeowners may have to make renovations to the interior or exterior of their property. However, they are often working with limited budgets, which means that they need to focus on the most cost-effective renovations that will produce the greatest return on their investment.
There are a number of simple improvements that can be made to a home that will help attract buyers and possibly earn your client a couple of extra dollars. Read on for nine low-cost ways to improve your listings.
Clean, clean, clean
A little elbow grease is one of the best ways to make a home more appealing to buyers. The goal should be to make everything look new, which means that the house should be cleaned from bottom to top, including all of the hard to reach places, such as under the refrigerator and the stove. Some ideas for cleaning a home include:
- Cleaning all of the windows, fixtures and appliances.
- Cleaning the carpets and drapes.
- Cleaning the inside and outside of the stove, refrigerator and kitchen cabinets.
- Removing stains from carpets and area rugs.
- Eliminating any odors by using air fresheners, candles or potpourri.
Add fresh touches
Adding a touch of style or color to a home is a great way to attract a buyer’s attention. But, be careful not to go overboard. Though personal touches are charming, they can often be distracting to buyers, so it’s best to replace them with more neutral decorations. Some ideas for fresh touches you can add to a home include:
- Placing fresh floral arrangements around the home.
- Placing potted plants in empty corners or on your front steps.
- Placing bowls of fresh fruit in the kitchen or living room.
- Setting new handsoap out on the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Displaying fresh towels in the kitchen and bathroom.
Let the light in
Adjusting the lighting in a home is one of the best ways to increase its appeal to buyers. By using a combination of both natural sunlight and synthetic light, you can brighten up any dim area and create a comfortable and homey atmosphere. Some ideas for adjusting the lighting in a home include:
- Turning on all indoor and outdoor lights for a showing.
- Opening the shades or drapes to let the sunshine light the rooms.
- Adding additional lamps to create ambient lighting.
- Replacing old lightbulbs in rooms that tend to be dark.
- Replacing light fixtures if they are noticeably damaged.
Buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in the house they are being shown. This can be difficult if the house is filled with too much clutter or furniture. Getting rid of unnecessary items and decreasing clutter is a great way to increase buyer appeal. Some of the best ways to maximize space in a home include:
- Remove objects such as tools, toys, books or magazines from all countertops, tables or desks.
- Organize all closets, cabinets, pantries and bookshelves.
- Put all out-of-season clothing into storage to make closets roomier.
- Put at least one-third of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces, such as entertainment centers and televisions.
- Store and neatly arrange items in a place where they will be least noticeable, such as the garage or basement.
Strategically placing furniture can help buyers envision themselves and their belongings in a home. Staging furniture can also demonstrate the amount of space a home has to offer. To a homeowner, it will appear bare, but to a buyer, it will appear new and organized. Some ideas for furniture staging include:
- Turning a spare room into an office space.
- Setting the dining room table.
- Creating a reading nook in the living room or master bedroom.
- Arranging the living room in a conversational way.
- Adding cozy-looking blankets to the backs of armchairs or couches.
Showcase the kitchen
The kitchen is perhaps the most central room of a home. If your client is thinking of spending a part of their budget on interior renovations, the kitchen is a great place to start. This doesn’t mean installing all new cabinetry and appliances though. A couple of small updates can make all the difference, such as:
- Replacing the hardware on the cabinet doors.
- Painting the walls a neutral color.
- Replacing light fixtures.
- Installing under-cabinet lighting.
- Installing cabinet organizers to maximize space.
Buff up the bathroom
The bathroom, like the kitchen, is also one of the most important rooms of a home. Bathroom updates can vary from full-blown makeover to minor updates. However, if your client’s budget will not allow any elaborate renovations, there is still plenty that can be done to buff up a bathroom. Some low-cost ideas include:
- Replacing smaller, less expensive items such as the toilet seat or towel bars.
- Adding a fresh coat of paint.
- Scrubbing dirty shower tiles or floor tiles.
- Peeling away old caulk and laying down new in its place.
- Reglazing the tub and sinks.
Spruce up the entryway
The entrance is another important area for effective home staging. Not only does the entryway affect curb appeal, it marks the threshold between the buyer’s old home and their potential new home. Though the adjustments don’t need to be extensive, the entrance should invite buyers to explore the rest of the house. Some ideas for staging an entry area include:
- Placing a new welcome mat in front of the door.
- Arranging potted plants on the front steps or on either side of the entry.
- Painting the front door a vibrant color that complements the home’s exterior.
- Repairing or replacing the porch lights, screen door and doorbell.
- Polishing or replacing the front door’s hardware.
Improve curb appeal
What buyers see when they first drive by your client’s home is incredibly important. The conditions of a home’s exterior, including the yard, driveway, sidewalk and surrounding shrubbery should prepare buyers for what to expect when they enter the home. Some ways to improve curb appeal include:
- Trimming the lawn and any surrounding shrubbery.
- Repairing or replacing shutters, gutters, shingles or window screens.
- Cleaning the windows.
- Adding a fresh coat of paint to the siding, trim and shutters, lamp or mailbox posts.
- Pressure washing the roof, vinyl siding, walkways and driveway.
McKissock Learning is the nation’s premier online real estate school, providing continuing education courses and professional development to hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country. As part of the Colibri Real Estate family of premier education brands, McKissock Learning, along with its sister schools Real Estate Express, Superior School of Real Estate, Allied Schools, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Gold Coast Schools, The Rockwell Institute and Hondros Education Group, helps real estate professionals achieve sustainable success throughout each stage of their real estate career. Learn more at mckissock.com/real-estate.