If you’re in the market for selling your house, you have to understand that you’ll need to pull up your sleeves and do some dirty work tidying it all up. You wouldn’t buy a property that looks decrepit with cracked paint on the walls, dusty furniture with a hole or two in each piece, and faulty wiring that makes the lights flicker every now and then.
The problem is that if you haven’t been taking good care of the house, you might feel overwhelmed with the amount of work you’ll have to do. Fret not, as this list will break down the entire process of giving your house a good overhaul without the need to break (too much) of a sweat.
1. Remove clutter.
The very first thing that you need to do is clear out all the rooms in your house of any unnecessary items. It’s the easiest way of making the entire place look clean. Removing all the clutter also makes it look much more spacious than it really is, and people looking to buy houses love having a lot of space to work with.
Get rid of the stacks of books and papers eating up space in your shelves. Take out a couple of your worn out chairs and stools that only serve to prop things up. Clean out the closets filled with your old clothes, used bags, empty shoeboxes and whatever else you have in there.
Little decorations that you might think gives some charm to your rooms should also go. This includes centerpieces on your living room’s coffee table, picture frames on drawers, frilly lampshades, and whatever “artistic masterpieces” you have hanging on your walls.
If you happen to live in a big house with plenty of rooms, you may want to tackle each one in separate time slots with a big break in between, so you don’t wind yourself out.
2. Make it look more generic.
Having that ratty old couch on which you had great times watching movies with your family and friends in the living room might look like it “adds character” to the place, but for most would-be byers, it really is nothing more than a ratty old couch.
You need to come to terms that you are saying goodbye to your humble abode. The new owners will want to fill it up with their own items to truly make it feel like their own home. The best way to do that is to give them plenty of space, helping them imagine how they would make it feel alive with their personal touches once they move in.
This means taking everything that has sentimental value to your new house. Photos of your loved ones stuck to your fridge, your personal collection of stamps/vinyl records/comics/figurines/etc., toys hidden away in attics/basements—basically everything that lets the new owners remember that you used to live there has to go.
3. Add a fresh coat of paint.
Sometimes, all a house needs in order to look brand new is a whole different layer of paint. It covers up small cracks and fissures, ugly discolorations due to age, and whatever stains that might have splattered against the walls. With the right color, it can also breathe new life into any area.
The dilemma comes into what color will suit the house including the exterior and each room.
There is a school of thought that will tell you to just stick to using plain white for the entire place. The thinking goes that white makes the house look clean and spacious because of the clarity of the color and the emptiness that it invokes. It’s also the safest color to go with, unlike choosing a specific one that some people might just hate.
However, just having the whole property covered in white might make it look sterile and boring especially if the furniture placed inside it doesn’t complement it well.
The other option is to brighten it up a little with warm colors like yellow, orange, red and their lighter shades. Such colors project a welcoming, homey air that people generally embrace.
4. Fix the lighting.
When presenting your house to interested buyers, you need to make sure every room is well-lit so they could see just how good the property they’re inspecting is. All the arranging, decorating, painting and cleaning up won’t amount to anything if your fixtures portray everything in a negative light.
Start off by checking each of your bulbs to see if they’re all in good condition. Replacing them if they aren’t should be a priority, as the returns will more than make up for cheap light bulbs. You can also try upping the wattage to get the most out of each light source. A good level to reach is 100 watts per 50 square feet.
Of course, that shouldn’t come from just one bulb if it can be helped. You have to take into consideration your general lighting from overhead sources, and your accent lighting on your walls to highlight certain areas.
There’s also functional lighting for simple tasks like reading, going through drawers and closets, and using home computers, which might not be immediately apparent on the first glance.
Best of all, nothing beats natural light, so pull open the curtains and blinds to bathe the rooms in glorious sunshine.
5. Eliminate odors.
You can get all caught up in how good you want to make the house look, but it won’t make a lick of difference if the entire property smells.
It doesn’t even have to be a stomach-churning smell to turn people off. It could be the wafting smell of smoke permeating all rooms if you or anyone else in the house is a smoker, or it could be the lingering scent of your pets.
Because you’ve been living there for a while, you probably don’t even notice the odor anymore. For some people, this could very well be a deal breaker so avoid the risk by cleaning up every corner of your house.
Scrub the walls and floors, wash the carpets or replace them outright if they’re beyond the point of restoration, clean out the vents, take out the trash, and stop smoking inside if you can’t break the habit.
Conventional wisdom says spraying the area with fragrant disinfectants or lighting scented candles before the buyers turn up, but these odors can also be unpleasant to others so just try to keep the house smelling as neutral as possible.
The take home here is to make the house as presentable as possible by opening up spaces, giving it a good retouching, and removing elements that keep the new owners from truly making it feel like they own the place.
Let us know how you would spruce up a house if you were to sell it, right here in the comments section.