By Jeremy DeLay, Tulsa Home + Design Realty
At the writing of this article, in June of 2021, the real estate market across the country is seeing unprecedented times. To call it a “seller’s market” would be a monumental understatement. Home values are increasing rapidly, and homes are selling for tens of thousands of dollars over list price, often within a day or two of listing. While the market is currently soaring and homes are, in a sense, selling themselves, market trends always ebb and flow, and this current market will eventually subside. When it does, people wanting to sell a house will again need to evaluate the best ways to add value to their home and get it ready to sell for top dollar. Below are 5 effective ways to add value to your home when you’re thinking of selling.
Nothing turns away a potential buyer faster than a dirty house. Likewise, first impressions are everything in real estate, and you often only get one chance to impress. Before you list your home, take time to start from the outside and work your way in, ensuring that everything you see is as clean as it can be. Have the exterior surfaces of your home professionally power washed. Make sure your flower beds are in good shape and there isn’t mulch or soil spilling out onto the walkways. Declutter the entrance and bring down any old cobwebs. On the inside, splurge a little to have your house deep cleaned by a professional. Aside from the visual first impression, odors are a huge factor in how people perceive your home, and in their ability to picture themselves living there. According to HGTV, “If you have older carpets in your home, they might be hiding contaminants and allergens. The first step to determine if these need replacing is to hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality.” Take the time to make sure your home not only looks clean, but smells clean and fresh as well. Have you noticed the grout in your tile floors looking dingy? Take the time to bring that back to life with some good grout cleaner. Clean your windows and mirrors, which should help to make the space look and feel brighter and more open. The next tip builds on this point, and that is once you’ve got your place looking spotless, it’s time to beautify.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to make your house look ready to sell is paint. A new paint color, inside or out, can give your house a completely different look. Even if you aren’t changing the color, a fresh coat of paint can liven up a space that may be looking a little dull. Especially in high-traffic areas like the kitchen or kids’ rooms, a fresh coat can help eliminate stains and smudges that you may not even notice anymore. Another way to add beauty to your space is to open it up. If you’ve got heavy curtains or drapery, trade them in for something light and bright that opens up the space and gives the illusion that it’s larger than it is. Additionally, add some greenery. Like with cleaning, start from the outside and work your way in. How do the flowerbeds look? Take time to add fresh mulch and new flowers, perhaps even plant a tree. Inside, are there areas that could use a pop of green or just a fresh touch? If you’re having trouble thinking of ways to spruce up the yard or beautify the inside, talk to a professional landscaper or an interior decorator. You can often pay a small fee to have them spend an hour or two with you and just get their thoughts on what would look best. Don’t be afraid to spend a little time and money on this part, it will pay off when you finally list your home. Once you’ve cleaned like you’ve never cleaned before, touched up the paint, and added some fresh décor, it’s time to really start considering what’s out of date.
When you’re selling your house, small updates can have big returns. Aside from paint, there are a number of areas you should consider updating before you list. First, look up. Do you see popcorn on those ceilings? If so, consider having it removed. While this is something you can do on your own, trust me when I say it’s a messy job and one that can easily get away from you, so it may be best to hire a professional. Next, look around at your light fixtures, wall sconces, and ceiling fans. Do you remember when they were installed? If not, it’s probably been a while. Updating fixtures is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to really bring your home up to date. Again, if you aren’t sure what’s considered “up to date,” don’t be afraid to ask for help. Or if you want to go it all alone, utilize tools like Pinterest, Houzz.com, and even Instagram to see what’s trending right now. These platforms can be incredibly helpful as you are making updates to your home. Like with light fixtures, cabinet hardware is another small update that packs a big punch in the overall appearance of your home. You don’t have to do a full-on kitchen remodel to add value to that space. As with everything else we’ve talked about, make this an exercise where you start at the front of your home and work back, and think through any and everything that may seem dated. Once you’ve exhausted the quick and easy updates, it’s time to move on to bigger things that may need replacing.
We’ve talked about visually starting from the outside and working your way in, which is still a good idea here. Another good way to think through what may need to be replaced is to look down and work your way up. As you look down, what type of flooring do you see, and what condition is it in? Replacing old carpet with new is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to add some value. If you’re able, an even more effective way to add value would be to upgrade from carpet to hard surface flooring, like hardwood, laminate, or vinyl. This one replacement will address each of the things we’ve already discussed. Likewise, replacing floor tiles in your bathroom or kitchen that may be outdated or dingy-looking is another great idea. You want to be careful as you get into the “major remodel” territory that you understand how much you’re putting out versus what you can realistically expect to get back. While all of these replacements and updates will ultimately pay off, the bigger you go, the longer you’ll want to stay in your home to make sure you earn a solid return on your investment. As you look up from the floors, another majorly important area to consider replacements is in the kitchen. Replacing old or outdated kitchen appliances should be high on your list of upgrades before you list. They say that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, and there’s no turn-off like walking into an otherwise fine kitchen and seeing decades-old appliances. The kitchen is another important area to be mindful of how much you’re investing in upgrades for resell value and balancing that with earning a solid return on your investment. If it fits the budget, consider updating counters and cabinets as well to maximize the selling potential. This brings us to our 5th and final tip, staging.
I’ve previously written an entire article on staging, so I won’t rehash that all out here. But I will say that once you’ve followed the tips above, staging your home to sell is the easiest and most efficient way to add to the perception of value and help you sell faster and for more money. A few important things to consider here are to declutter, depersonalize, and clean like you’ve never cleaned before. As you stage your home you want to make your home look as bright and spacious as possible, removing anything that may hinder a potential buyer from being able to picture themselves living in the space. Like I’ve said before, make use of the many resources available and work with a professional. It is well worth the small investment.
These are just a few ideas of things you can do as you prepare to sell your home that will add value for potential buyers. Below I’ve linked a few of the sources used for this article, and there are quite a few additional tips listed there as a resource.
*At Tulsa Home + Design we work with clients at every step of their home-buying and owning journey to help them find and create spaces to live and grow. Call us today. www.tulsahomeanddesign.com