When you decide to list your home for sale, you’ll undoubtedly want it to sell quickly for the right price. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get your property ready for an open house.
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If you want to boost your home’s appeal to potential buyers even further, consider these nine low-cost — or free — improvements you can make to help speed the sale and return top dollar.
Boost the Curb Appeal
You get only one chance to make a first impression. Your home’s first impression starts at the curb.
“Making sure a home has attractive curb appeal is the first thing a home seller should do; because, if the exterior of the home doesn’t present well, the buyers won’t take the time to view it,” said Jason Gelios, a Michigan senior real estate specialist and author of “Think Like a Realtor.”
“This can be accomplished by simply removing excess brush, clearing walkways of obstructions, adding mulch around plants and trees and adding low-maintenance plants that attract the eye.”
See: How To Avoid Paying Taxes When You Sell Your House
A new coat of paint can make anything look fresh, but be careful with the colors you choose.
“Neutral colors and finishes will make the space look more spacious and appealing to a wider range of buyers, rather than lime green bathrooms, orange living rooms or dark purple in the girl’s room,” said Anna D. Smith, a fine art and real estate broker. “While such color schemes are the preferences of the current occupants, they will only make it more difficult to sell the home.”
Switch the Hardware
“Minor updates like swapping out outdated cabinet hardware in the kitchen can give the room a fresh, modern look without a significant investment,” said Eric Bramlett, a real estate agent and owner of Bramlett Residential in Austin, Texas. “In one of my experiences, a simple hardware upgrade caused a buyer to comment on the renovated kitchen, leading to a quick sale.”
Clear Out the Clutter
Potential buyers will better envision your space as their space if it contains less of your stuff.
“When listing your home, the goal is to make it look its best. If you had a date with your longtime crush, you wouldn’t roll out of bed and go; you’d put in extra effort [to look good]. The same holds true when listing your home,” said Ashley J. Farrell, an associate real estate broker with Corcoran in New York and Florida.
“Consider the buyers your dates. If my sellers do nothing else, I ask them to remove knickknacks and personal items. A heavy decluttering not only does wonders for listing photos but is a huge differentiator during showings — and it’s free. A clean space allows buyers to imagine the home as their own with their belongings. A home with too much furniture, hundreds of pictures and heavily covered surfaces is a distraction.”
Remove Dated Decor
As you declutter, you’ll want to remove furniture that buyers might consider outdated. Those pieces could give a negative impression, said Denise Supplee, a Realtor and property manager who co-founded Spark Rental.
“Buying a home is largely emotional,” she said. “It is the biggest purchase most people will make. Often, when a home has much older décor, it can give an implication that it was not well cared for.”
Let There Be Light
“Lighting can make or break an interior space,” said Ryan Hawker, the CEO and owner of H3 Homebuyers in Ohio. “Most of the time, simply installing the right light fixture can make a property appear larger. By making the house brighter and more well-lit, you can create the optical illusion that it is spacious, calm and brand new. Installing energy-efficient bulbs will also attract customers because they believe it will help them save money.”
When it comes to light, Colorado real estate agent Kevin Capra advised switching bulbs to make sure every fixture and every room has the same level of brightness.
Emphasize the Entry
“Be sure the entryway looks great in person,” Capra said. “Put a fresh coat of stain/paint on the front door to make it pop and continue that theme as you head inside.
“When a buyer shows up to the home to check it out in person, you want them to be just as excited as when they saw it online. And the reality is: The first thing they’re doing is standing on the front patio, looking around while their agent works to get the key out of the lockbox. So, make sure everything is perfect for them.”
Make the Bathrooms Sparkle
“If the vanity is old or unsightly, consider replacing it,” Capra recommended. “Then look at the light and do the same. Glance in the shower while you’re in there. New silicone beading can do wonders, especially if the caulking is stained or cracking. If the shower curtain or towels don’t look new, grab some cheap new ones at the store. It should go without saying, but if all of that is done and you still have a wooden or worn toilet seat or any cute fuzzy covering, pull the cover off and replace the seat to make it appear new.”
Fix Safety Issues
After a home inspection, a buyer will probably ask you to fix potential safety issues. It’s best to do that before selling.
“A client once had a beautiful vintage home with lots of character, but there were some safety concerns due to its age,” Bramlett said. “Fixing those issues not only ensured a safer home for the future owner but also drastically increased buyer interest and the final selling price. Remember, a buyer’s peace of mind can often be the determining factor in their decision to purchase.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 9 Inexpensive Tips To Fix Up Your Home and Sell Fast