The house hunting season is fast approaching, and you may be thinking of selling your current house and relocating or downsizing. It is currently a seller’s market, but you still need to have your house in tip-top condition and as accommodating to buyers’ needs and wants as possible if you want to reap top dollar for your property.
So what do buyers today typically look for in a house?
Today’s buyers are all about plenty of open space, so anything you can do to open up the space in your house or create additional space (or the impression of additional space), go for it. You can spend a few dollars and knock out a non-structural wall, or you can just remove big pieces of furniture and paint the house one neutral tone throughout to create a sense space and a harmonious flow.
Proper lighting enhances a home’s appeal. Buyers look for bright, well-lit spaces, with a lot of natural light. Make sure all your lights work, consider buying an eye-catching chandelier and increasing the wattage of your existing bulbs – brighter bulbs make small spaces feel larger. Keep your windows uncovered and, if the weather permits and there is no noise outside, open them up during a buyer’s visit.
- Kitchens and bathrooms
It is common knowledge in the real estate market that kitchens and bathrooms sell the house. But you don’t have to do major expensive projects to improve the look of these rooms. Most important of all, they need to be spick-and span clean. That means cleaning the grout, applying fresh caulk, removing rust stains and mildew, spiffing up shiny surfaces – this will cost you just some elbow grease. For a relatively small amount of money, consider updating doorknobs and cabinet pulls, replacing faucets, installing low-flush toilets or just buying a new toilet seat for your bathrooms.
In the kitchen, you can replace the kitchen faucet set and get new cabinet door handles. If you have a slightly larger budget, consider refacing or replacing the cabinet doors, and buying matching stainless steel appliances. These improvements may cost you a bit, but an updated looking kitchen will definitely make your house more saleable.
- Curb appeal and house entry
Real Estate brokers say that people make up their minds whether or not they like the house in the first seven seconds of entering it. So don’t miss your opportunity here. Enliven your entry doors by painting it, adding new handles and matching hardware, hanging a seasonal wreath, and switching out your old mailbox and door mat for a new one. A couple of planters with colourful or seasonal decorations always make the house seem cared for. And of course, a freshly mowed lawn, a swept walkway without chipped tiles, and a recently sealed driveway will give potential buyers a great first impression of your house.
Most real estate professionals recommend spending money on floors. Today’s buyers look for hardwoods, but if that is not in the budget, at least make sure that carpets are professionally cleaned, and broadloom stretched. Consider covering worn-out or dingy spots with area rugs. And for small areas, such as bathrooms, think about installing new tiles or cost-effective vinyl tiles – new flooring for small areas is not likely to be very costly.
According to a HomeGain, an online real estate marketing site, landscaping is one of the top investments that bring the biggest return. But if your budget does not allow for new plants and bushes, at the very least, make sure your house is surrounded by clean, weed-free, freshly cut lawns, there is no debris on walkways or clutter around the building, and bushes and trees are neatly pruned.
What is one of the first things potential buyers go to check when entering a bedroom? Closets. Consider adding a wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms and even pantries and entry closets. It can usually be just a DIY project. Or you can hire a closet specialist to do a custom job. Even the more sophisticated closet makeovers can be done in a weekend or less.
For additional, always-in-demand storage space consider getting a shed. A shed will increase the value of your property by providing additional storage area and by actually extending the house’s overall space. It’s not just a place for putting away seasonal items, a well-built shed with proper ventilation can function as an office space, an art studio or a child’s playhouse.