Selling

7 Easy Updates that Will Make Your Home Sell Faster

By bradschmett|February 4, 2020

With all the positive trends we’re seeing in the Palm Springs real estate market, there are a lot of investors looking to snap up the perfect properties. That’s good news for anyone planning to sell a home in the area soon.

But don’t assume your house will sell as soon as you list it, even with the market being as hot as it is. Buyers will be looking closely at all the details of your home, not just at red flags during the home inspection.

Sure, there are plenty of big, expensive remodels that can greatly increase the value of your home. But we can’t all take on those sorts of projects.

That leaves the question: What easy, low-cost changes can you undertake to help sell your home faster and for more?

In addition to a really clean home that they can imagine as their own, the features potential buyers want to see include:

  • Modern and energy-saving appliances
  • Fresh paint
  • Professionally cleaned carpets
  • New or like-new sinks, electrical outlets, tiles, blinds, mirrors, etc.

Here are our top 7 recommendations of small improvements that will make a big difference when it comes time to sell your home, from the least to most expensive.

1. Clean Up & Depersonalize

Cleaning and decluttering is a free home improvement that will have the biggest impact on your ability to sell your house quickly and for an attractive price.

Start by decluttering the kitchen and the bathrooms — these rooms are most important to buyers. The kitchen is the center of the household, where people imagine cooking and spending time with family and friends. And the bathroom is the home’s relaxation zone — buyers want it to feel like a spa (don’t we all?).

After those rooms are de-cluttered, move on to the rest of your home. Don’t forget your front and back yard, the garage, shed, and any other outside areas, too.

Part of the goal of decluttering is also to depersonalize your home. A buyer wants to imagine themselves in the home — think of your favorite home living magazine, or a quality home brand catalog like Pottery Barn, and stage your house to look like a home you might see in one of those.

Once everything is decluttered and depersonalized, it’s time to deep clean your home. Be sure to scrub out deep stains and pet odors (you may not notice them anymore, but others will).

You may want to hire a professional cleaning service, which is a small investment for a big return. Some of the best home cleaning services in the Palm Springs area include:

2. Put in New Lightbulbs

New lighting is a cheap and easy way to, well, brighten up your home! But the goal here isn’t literal brightness — soft, low-wattage lighting is far more attractive to buyers. It gives the space a sense depth and coziness.

If you have old lightbulbs that give off harsh light (like flat white fluorescent bulbs), replace them with low-wattage “soft white” bulbs that give off a warm, yellowish light.

The primary areas where more white light is a good idea are workbenches, in the garage, and in outdoor security lights.

3. Re-Paint in Neutral Colors

Repainting the inside of your home is a way to drastically change first impressions when buyers walk into your home. You may love your dining room’s floral wallpaper, but it may be holding you back from finding the best buyer.

Repainting your walls in light, neutral tones makes rooms look bigger. It also gives the impression of cleanliness (a dark wall could be hiding who knows what).

Finally, a neutral tone puts possibility and potential for each room at the front of a buyer’s mind. Light neutrals may seem boring, but they allow a buyer to imagine endless options for your home.

If your walls are already painted in neutral tones, you may only need to clean them. Start by dusting them, then use a towel with a mild cleaner (either water with some dish soap mixed in or a solution of a gallon of water with a 1/2 cup of vinegar and a 1/4 cup of baking soda) to wipe them down.

Another nice touch that’s easy and low-cost is to repaint the trim and molding with a satin or gloss finish to add a bit of freshness to each room.

4. Update Faucets and Fixtures

 

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An easy way to quickly update the look and feel of the bathroom and kitchen is to prioritize your faucets and fixtures. Modern, trendy faucet designs will update the look of your bathroom and kitchen sink.

Delta and Kohler make some stylish faucets with options for different modern finishes. We like these ombre and matte black options from Kohler:

 

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Updating the following fixtures is another quick way to modernize your home:

Start in the kitchen and bathroom (remember, these are the rooms that buyers care the most about) and if you have the time and money, expand your upgrades from there. While you’re making these updates, looking for missing, broken, or ugly light switch and electrical outlet faceplates that you can replace.

5. Clean or Re-Do Your Floors

Before you show your home, have your carpets professionally deep-cleaned. If they’re too beat up for a cleaning, then replace them. Carpets that are 5 to 15 years old (or older) may need to be replaced, depending on how much use they’ve seen. Look for worn out, warped, or stretched areas of carpet, or stains and smells that just won’t come out.

If you have hardwood floods, clean them! If they still lack shine or have deep scratches visible after cleaning, you may need to refinish them.

By the way, hardwood is more popular than carpet with buyers right now, so if your carpets need replacing, you might want to consider upgrading to hardwood.

In the bathroom and kitchen, now’s the time to look for chipped tiles and replace them. Clean your grout or consider a full re-grouting.

If your bathroom is at the point where it needs new tile, take the opportunity to install heated flooring — this can usually be done for under $1000, and it’s something that buyers absolutely adore.

6. Update Kitchen Appliances

Time and time again, we realtors see that the kitchen sells the home. That means it should be a priority when looking for ways to upgrade your home before selling.

Short of a full remodel, the easiest and most affordable way to turn your kitchen into a knockout is to upgrade your appliances. That includes the fridge, the dishwasher, the stove, and the microwave.

Buyers across the board say that energy-efficiency is one of their top concerns, so investing in the right appliances now could make a big difference when it comes time to sell.

Consider replacing all kitchen appliances that are older than 15 years before putting your home on the market. If they’re 5 to 15 years old, consider an update, depending on their condition.

If you’re looking for a cheaper way to upgrade the look of your kitchen, stick to updating the panels of your appliances. A new dishwasher front panel or an updated fridge door can do wonders for the feel of your kitchen.

7. Maximize Curb Appeal

 

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Anything you can do to increase the curb appeal of your home is important when selling. A buyer’s very first impression will be from the photos they see of the outside of a house, and then what they see when they pull into the driveway for a showing.

The inside of your home might be absolutely stunning, but if the front facade is lackluster, you could be marring the buyer’s perception of the place before they’ve stepped through the door.

With that in mind, here are a few simple ideas for how you can maximize your home’s curb appeal:

Get a new mailbox

  • This is an easy and affordable way to improve the look of your house.
  • Most houses have old, beat up mailboxes.
  • A brand new, beautiful one stands out and gives a sense of luxury.
  • We like these “Next Generation” mail boxes that can hold packages — a useful feature in today’s Amazon-happy world.

Professionally clean the windows

  • The outside of your windows get dirty and spotted over time.
  • A pressure washer will make quick work of a lot of the dirtiness, but a professional window cleaning service is the way to really make them shine.

Put in a new front door

Install a new garage door

  • This slightly more expensive option could be worth it if your home’s facade is a bit drab, assuming your garage is front-facing.
  • There are all sorts of beautiful, modern designs that can be bought and installed for $2000-$3000.
  • We love natural wood garage doors for the way they give an organic feel to what would otherwise be a fairly unremarkable feature.

Upgrade your landscaping

  • Start with a well-mowed lawn and clean, trimmed landscaping
  • In the Palm Springs area, xeriscaping is a popular option that is not only beautiful but sustainable.
  • Plus, xeriscaping pays for itself over a few years in the form of water savings.

Clean the outside walls

  • A power washer will work wonders on cleaning up the outside walls of your home.
  • It’ll also highlight any chipped areas that you can quickly touch up.
  • This may also be a time to repaint the trim to boost curb appeal, and if needed, consider a full repainting of your home.

Getting the Job Done Right

A lot of these tips are upgrades you can do yourself. But if you’re considering taking on bigger jobs to improve the resale value of your home — like putting in a fence or a new deck, adding an extension, or remodeling the kitchen — you’ll probably need the help of a contractor.

There are two types of contractors: great ones and horrible ones. In Brad Schmett Realty Group, we know the tricks to finding the right contractor for the job.

Read our guide on how to find the best contractor for your home renovation »

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