How to get thousands more when you sell your house.


The most important consideration in selling your house for the best possible price… it’s all emotional.  Your potential buyer will respond emotionally the first time they see your house.  They will respond emotionally to everything in the house.  Your job is to make your house emotionally appealing.  Once you do this the rest is easy.  You will get top dollar in the negotiations that follow.


The Initial Impression


It’s called curb appeal.  How your house looks when the potential buyer drives up.  Make sure your home’s exterior looks like a dream home. Trim your shrubs, weed your flower beds, fix any peeling paint and make sure the walkway is clear. Add a row of potted plants along the walkway and put an attractive plant near your front door. This can make a huge difference.  It won’t cost very much and can boost your sale price by thousands of dollars.


If you are on a very tight budget, at least spruce-up the front entrance. That first impression goes a long way.


Inexpensive Interior Changes


Make sure that everything is clean.  Dust everywhere.  Dust on top of the fireplace mantle and fan blades.  Polish your appliances and faucets, and give the windows a thorough washing.  Consider using a cleaning service.


Pay attention to smells. “Don’t cook bacon in your home the day of a showing.”  The smell is strong and lingers for a long time. Ask a friend or neighbor to drop in and tell you what they smell.  You may have become unaware of even a strong odor.


Clear out the clutter.  No more piles of stuff anywhere. 


Repaint the walls neutral colors. Bold painted walls could turn off a many potential buyers. Repaint your rooms in neutral tones like tans and whites.  This will focus attention on the beauty or your house, not the color of the walls.


Keep the décor simple so your potential buyer can imagine themselves living there.  Get rid of any art or other décor that might turn off people with different tastes. Classic landscape paintings are fine.   Exotic furniture?  Use a slipcover or hide it somewhere.


Remove all personal items. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in your home, so remove anything overly personal, like family photos in the hallway or your kids’ artwork on the fridge.


Make sure that everything is well illuminated.  Open up all the window blinds and drapes to let in natural light.  Add floor or table lamps to areas that are dim. A bright, cheery room looks bigger and more inviting.


Bring nature inside. Add a few potted plants or pretty buds in a vase to bring energy into a room.  Fill in empty corners with a plant. 


Get rid of bulky furniture. Make sure that your furniture fits the scale of the room.  Store any extra or oversized items that could make your space look smaller than it really is.


Organize your closets so they look really neat.  Storage space is a huge selling point.  If your closets are stuffed to the brim potential buyers will think that there isn’t enough closet space. Get some boxes and dividers to help you make your look more organized.  Remove extra items you don’t need immediately (you can store them).


Repair anything that is broken or looks tacky. All those little things that have been accumulating, like loose doorknobs, a leaky faucet and scuff marks from long ago.


Do an inexpensive remodel.  Small changes can make a big difference in the overall feel of a room. If the kitchen is a little outdated then replace the fixtures, faucets and hinges. Is some of your furniture worn? Throw some slipcovers over it.


Give each room a purpose.  Pick a use (office, guest room, crafts room) and clearly stage each space to showcase that purpose.


Turn the bathroom into a spa. Some new bathmats and towels in coordinating pastels, a few pretty washcloths tied with ribbon, some scented candles and faux plants will transform your bathroom into a luxury spa at very little cost.


Close the toilet lid! This can make a surprising difference.


Turn the living room into a conversation area. Help potential buyers imagine themselves relaxing with family and guests by grouping your furniture into arrangements that inspire conversation.


Make sure it is easy to navigate your home. You don’t want people bumping into furniture as they tour your home.  It disrupts their focus and makes your space look cramped. Do a dry run and change anything that interrupts the flow.


Make something that smells really good. Put out fresh cookies to give your house a homey smell like fresh baked cookies or bread.  Guaranteed to get a favorable emotional response from your potential buyer.


Make your house look lived in with little touches. This helps your potential buyer imagine themselves in your home with vignettes that showcase how your home can be lived in. An inviting armchair and a tray with a coffee cup and book can turn that empty corner into a reading nook. Pretty soaps in a decorative tray can make your tiny half-bath more appealing.


Highlight your home’s focal points. Draw buyers’ attention to any special features with bright colors or bold plants. A red throw pillow can draw a buyer’s attention to a lovely window seat. A striking fern on the mantle can show off your fireplace.


The Bottom Line


You can make your house very appealing to potential buyers with these inexpensive changes, probably less than a thousand dollars.  Your sale price will increase by many times this amount.


Take photographs of your house as is.  You will then be able to spot many desirable changes by making them easier to detect.  It’s sometimes hard to evaluate things that we are accustomed to.


And finally, ask your realtor for help.  They have been through this process many, many times and can help you get top dollar for your house.


In Closing


I hope that this article is useful to you.  Hopefully it has prepared you well for the many steps in buying a house.  Correctly done this can be the best investment you could possibly make.  When done incorrectly it can be a nightmare. 


I’m here to help you if you would like.  No charge.  Please give me a call.


Judy Bernal



About the author:


Judy Bernal is passionate about real estate and getting the right results for clients. She is ready to help you make your real estate dreams come true. A Los Angeles native and a Realtor since 1990, Judy does her homework: She consistently views new listings and knows the history of the market, as well as the homes that are currently available. Judy has a true insider's knowledge of the local area and the current market. She possesses excellent communication and negotiating skills and a genuine desire to help you achieve your goals.


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