The summer real estate market in Omaha is in full swing and homes are selling quickly… well, most homes are!
There are always a few houses that linger on the market longer than they should, often not because they are “unsellable” or have significant issues, but because they aren’t ready to go on the market. A house that “shines” on the surface will sell faster than its neighbor will, even if both are structurally well maintained.
From my experience as an agent, I know that those “shiny” houses appeal to more buyers, and will sell faster and for a higher price. Buyers typically feel that if what they can see has been maintained, then what they can’t see has probably also been maintained. When prepping your house for today’s fast-paced market, consider these three factors: cost, curb and clean!
How Much Should You Spend?
Spend some time researching buyer trends that are comparable to your home’s value and specific neighborhood before setting a budget for your updates. Buyers will be impressed by large, costly improvements, such as a new kitchen, but the work and materials must logically fit price points and trends in your neighborhood, or you’ll be unlikely to see the desired returns.
Also consider making minor inexpensive updates to your house, such as painting cabinets, installing new hardware or touching up wood trim with fresh white paint. Realtors are familiar with buyers’ expectations in different neighborhoods and can advise you on what improvements to make, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Maximize Exterior Appeal
First impressions matter, so before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary to maximize its exterior appeal. When consulting with my clients, I recommend the following tips to enhance a home’s curb appeal:
- Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly
- Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly
- Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling
- Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint
- Clean and align gutters
- Inspect and clean chimneys
- Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles
- Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking
- During winter, keep sidewalks and driveways neatly cleared of snow and ice
- During spring and summer, consider adding seasonal flowers or plants, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance
- Re-seal asphalt driveways
- Keep garage doors closed
- Store RVs or old/“project” cars elsewhere while the house is on the market
- Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door
Maximize Interior Appeal
Just as important as investing in your exterior appeal, is updating your interior appeal, which also makes a huge impact on potential buyers. Start the process by giving every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all items that are contributing to clutter. Make sure to remove items from kitchen counters, closets and attics to create an inviting and spacious atmosphere. These alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter!
Some of my clients with crowded rooms have actually rented storage garages and moved half their furniture out, creating a sleeker and more spacious look. Or, since you’re already anticipating a move, hold a garage sale to eliminate unwanted items!
Here are some additional tips to get your living space ready to sell:
- Repaint dirty or boldly colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or gray. Use the same neutral scheme throughout the house to make rooms feel bigger.
- Check for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement
- Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint and tiles
- Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork
- Inspect and repair plumbing, heating, cooling and alarm systems
- Repair dripping faucets and showerheads
- Buy new towels for the bathroom, to be brought out only when prospective buyers are on the way
- Inexpensively spruce up a kitchen in need of major remodeling, by investing in new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or a coat of white, gray or neutral paint on the cabinets and walls
Commit to living in a clean and clutter-free home while it’s on the market, because you never know when a last-minute showing will be scheduled. I advise my clients to make a quick run-through of the house before leaving for work in the morning, looking for any “forgotten” items.
Follow these suggestions and your house will be ready to show! A little work goes a long way, and I think you’ll be happy with the payoff in the long run. If you would like help determining what updates you should make, send me an email or leave a comment below!