“Light filled, granite countertops, barn door, hardwood, mid-century rambler, stainless steel, renovated, lakefront, tankless water heater, ground floor bedroom, cul-de-sac, vaulted ceilings, built green, fully-fenced, three-car garage, elevator, air conditioning, geothermal heating, MIL suite, solar panels, Travertine tile, mountain view, five-piece bath, bonus room, river rock fireplace, skylights, custom closets, double oven…”
Attributes that appeal, terms that sell. But what if none of these words apply to your home? What if you own a 1970s split-level home with baseboard heating and mostly wall-to-wall carpeting? Don’t despair; there is hope. There also is elbow grease. The goal is to make your home move-in-ready.
Above all, clean
When you don’t have the means to renovate your kitchen with new cabinets and the latest line of appliances, there is one thing you can do. Clean it as you’ve never cleaned it before. Top to bottom, behind, and in between. Do the same to your bathrooms. When we’re in our birthday suit, we want things spotless. Steam clean your carpets. Wash all windows, inside and out.
Paint and light
If you spend money on anything, paint comes first, flooring is second. Color is critical. Consult with an expert. Yellow whites are out. Grey whites are in. Subtle grades in shades between walls, ceilings, doors, and woodwork can make a big difference.
Light lifts spirits. Clean all light fixtures and check the bulbs. Do they match? The day of the listing at least one will fail, so keep spares.
Comply with the law. Make certain there’s a smoke detector in every bedroom and a carbon monoxide detector on every floor.
Don’t curb the appeal
When you get home, you enter on your tires through the garage. When buyers come to your home, they are on foot walking up to your front door. Put yourself in their shoes and look at your home like it’s the first time. Pull the weeds, mow the lawn, spread the mulch, prune the bushes, plant some flowers that are in bloom. Then clean those gutters and straighten that downspout.
Speaking of your garage, it’s ok to store your furniture, belongings, and boxes there. As long as you provide a path and room around your furnace, water heater, and electrical control panel.
First, attract buyers
The mention of your water heater reminds you that it has reached its useful life. Why not replace it? If you have limited funds, buy paint instead. Your first goal is to attract buyers. A clean home preferably staged to look its best, will look good in pictures. That, in turn, will attract visitors who will not be disappointed. You can deal with that water heater after you have found a buyer.
So what if your home isn’t built green, doesn’t have a custom tile backsplash, and no interior barn door? Don’t worry. You will be able to claim the most important attribute of any home: move-in ready.
First published by Gerhard as his
November 2018 View from the Street Newsletter.