“Older homes have character and often offer more space at a lower price than comparable new build homes, but they also face the stigma of upcoming repairs,” said Matt Lavinder, CEO of New Again Houses in Charlottesville, in an email. “When it comes to selling your current home, there are a few simple things homeowners can do to maximize the property’s selling price.”
Lavinder suggests these important improvements to help a potential buyer focus on the top of your home.
On the outside of the house, Lavinder recommends:
1. Wash your driveways, decks, sidings, and other surfaces with electricity. Be extra careful with siding to avoid damaging your specific outdoor product. Generally, however, washing thoroughly will remove the exterior for years and get a much-needed facelift.
2. Paint the front door and change the shutters. Pick a complementary color for the door and it will help “pop open” when someone pulls up. Shutters are a relatively minimal hassle but can modernize the feel of the home.
3. Improve your landscape. We cannot overdo this. Curb appeal is everything for first impressions. Mow the yard, rake the leaves, cut the hedges and lay fresh mulch.
Inside the house, Lavinder recommends:
4. Pay for professional staging. We have sold hundreds of converted homes and I can tell you from my own experience the difference a high quality staging will make. We concentrate on the living, kitchen and dining areas. Most cities have a few local businesses that offer property for a small fee. Ask your agent or broker for suggestions.
5. Get a professional home inspection before listing your home for sale. Many market contracts in our region fall apart due to the results of a buyer’s home inspection. First-time home buyers can be especially nervous. Completing a home inspection before listing is a bit like taking your final exam before the actual testing day. It gives you the option to fix particularly problematic issues or perform simple repairs so that buyers can focus on the positives your home has to offer.
6. Paint. What surface cannot be improved with a little paint? Mending the cladding and putting a fresh coat on the walls brighten the rooms. Stick to neutral, contemporary colors and let the future homeowners personalize the living spaces as they see fit.
“When you’re done with this, you can choose to just move back in,” Lavinder said. “If not, at least you know that when your home comes on the market, you gave yourself the best chance of attracting motivated buyers.”