How to get your home ready to sell

Local experts share their tips.We’ve ranked ideas from free to most expensive.

If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, then it’s time to think spring.

The real estate research firm CoreLogic is predicting an increase in home prices in 2013, as the housing market continues to improve. We asked local experts what you can do to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Free fixes

Many of the things that make homes attractive to buyers are simple and more importantly, free. “First and foremost, give your house a great cleaning,” said Kellee Markwell, a realtor with Roediger Realty in Springfield. “Buyers feel more confident buying a well-groomed home because they feel that if what they can see is well cared for, what they can’t see was probably taken care of as well.”

De-cluttering your home is at the top of every staging expert’s list. “Get things off the counters and put children’s toys away,” said homestager Trisha Rowland of ReDesign Mine in Beavercreek. “Only leave out about 20 percent of the toys your children own.” Don’t be tempted to cram everything into a closet, though. “Master closets are really important,” Rowland said. “De-clutter closets especially.”

If your walls are covered in family photos, then it’s time to bid farewell for now. However, an absence of photos can make a house look too stark. “If you have photos in frames, go to Google Images and print out some nature or beach scenes,” Rowland said. “And put them in the frame overtop of your current photos” for some instant neutral art.

Keep up curb appeal by mowing grass, keeping the garage door down and weeding flowerbeds. As Rowland said, afresh coat of paint on the front door and neat landscaping can increase buyer interest as much as interior changes.

“Think like a buyer,” Markwell said. “A house that looks clean and well-maintained will stand out.”

Low- to moderately priced fixes

Paint is a key ingredient in market success. “Repaint any dingy, dirty walls or walls that have a bright, bold color that may not appeal to the majority of buyers,” Markwell said. “You want to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers possible.”

A qualified home stager can help you choose what will appeal to buyers. “Trust professionals when it comes to choosing the correct paint color,” Rowland said. Neutral colors are generally the rule of thumb, but “not all beiges and grays are created equal.” A professional will assess your home to make sure the paint will look its best.

Staging services come in a range of options from a quick walk through to completely changing the feel of a home. “ReDesign Mine can rent furnishings and accessories to sellers who have vacant homes on the market,” Rowland said.

Kitchens and bathrooms are usually a big factor in a buyer’s decision. For an easy facelift, try Markwell’s suggestion: “(an) inexpensive, quick fix is replacement of kitchen cupboard or bathroom cabinet knobs and hardware. This simple trick can make your space look fresh and newer.”

Big budget fixes

If you need to sell your house quickly due to a transfer or other unforeseen circumstances, then you may want to consider a major improvement. Mark Adkins, a realtor with Woodlan Realtors in Franklin, said that some common big updates include new carpet or flooring, bathroom and kitchen remodels and even adding space to a home.

“With one home wasn’t selling for a while, a three-bedroom, one-bath ranch, the seller added a full bath, and that actually helped the property sell,” Adkins said. So sellers who need to sell fast might want to consider “adding a full or half bath in addition to cosmetic changes.”

Use caution when making major improvements, though. Markwell said, “You’ll want to improve for the market you are selling in. Over-improving will only cost you money that you won’t recoup in the end.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

3 menus we are DYING to try during Winter Restaurant Week this week
3 menus we are DYING to try during Winter Restaurant Week this week

We’ve really got to hand it to this year’s Winter Restaurant Week participants. The menus that keep rolling out are top-notch, as well as a great value. It would be almost impossible to attempt to try every Restaurant Week menu.  So to ease your foodie anxieties and help you decide, we’ve selected three menus that we think sound...
Pregnancy tests can be thrown off by timing
Pregnancy tests can be thrown off by timing

The moment a woman finds out she is pregnant can be life-altering, which makes it that much more important to conduct a home pregnancy test when it will provide the most accurate results. In fact, according to a local obstetrician, the timing of a home pregnancy test is much more vital than the type of pregnancy test a woman chooses from her local...
Obesity surgery safer than traditional treatments, study suggests
Obesity surgery safer than traditional treatments, study suggests

Having surgery to treat obesity may seem like a drastic option, but a new study suggests it may actually be a safer route than more traditional options. Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Clalit Research Institute in Israel, recently published their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association...
Get fit: 3 mistakes to avoid while exercising

One of the greatest benefits of exercise is that it enables you to be more in tune with your body. During a workout you learn how your body reacts to different types of activity. Uncomfortable responses associated with exercise such as muscle soreness are normal, while other situations can be an indication of a more serious problem. Over-training and...
How Dayton changed the Bombecks — and how the Bombecks changed Dayton
How Dayton changed the Bombecks — and how the Bombecks changed Dayton

Growing up in Dayton left an indelible imprint on Bill and Erma Bombeck – and they, in turn, now leave an enduring legacy in their hometown. Bill Bombeck died Jan. 12 in Phoenix, Ariz., and he soon will be buried alongside his wife in Dayton’s historic Woodland Cemetery. But the couple will live on in the hearts of many friends in the Dayton...
More Stories