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How to Get Your Home Ready to Put on the Market

A Note From Heather

Did you know that May is the best month for putting your house on the market? And that summer typically yields the highest peaks in sales? We often get questions from our clients about how much they need to upgrade their homes before they list them. And, we are happy for the questions! There are some tried and true upgrades that you can count on. And, there are others that cost a lot but surprisingly don’t make that much of a difference. This month, we talked to 3 realtors to compare notes in order to provide you with the best list of what to consider before you put your home on the market.

Happy Listing!

How to Get Your Home Ready to Put on the Market

Consider Your Buyer

Every neighborhood is different. Before you to do any updates to your home, consider who might be purchasing it. There are different expectations at different price points. Are your buyers more likely to want to come into a home and remodel to suit their tastes? Or, do they want something that is already move in ready?

There are usually two types of sellers:

  1. The home owner with a fairly updated property already. This seller needs to freshen up the space, but will require minimal updates.
  2. The home owner with an outdated home that requires some major work. This seller needs to take on larger updates, but doesn’t want to remodel an entire home before putting it on the market.

So, which category do you find yourself in? We have some tips and ideas for you to consider as you prepare your home to list.

Billy Shugart, Keller Williams Southpark, Realtor, Broker
Personal Website:

Billy Shugart of Keller Williams has many pieces of advice for sellers while considering the current value of their home. Quick and easy updates can be quite effective when selling your home. Billy says “remove extra leaves from dining table and use only four chairs.” Why? It’s all about good traffic flow and making a space appear larger! Another excellent suggestion on a smaller scale is to update cabinet hardware in kitchen and bathrooms. If you can’t afford to completely renovate these key spaces, details will matter. Don’t forget the front door! A new coat of fresh paint and new hardware welcomes potential buyers along with a new doormat and colorful flowers out front. Last but not least, take a hard look at your existing light fixtures. Do they need to be updated? Simple and stylish light fixtures can elevate a bright, clean space and really “wow” the buyer.

For Billy’s entire Pre-Listing Checklist, click here.

The Home Owner with a Fairly Updated Property

You are looking for ideas to freshen up your home.

  • Hide your clutter. Remove unused items (or even seldom used items) from your counter tops and store away in cabinets. Doing this provides a clean line of site and makes surface areas look larger.
  • Add a fresh coat of paint throughout the house. This is a quick and inexpensive way to brighten up your home. Buyers often cannot get past loud colors or rooms with a theme, so choose neutral paints. You can also write an agreement into the contract for the buyer to choose the new paint colors. Each year, Benjamin Moore shares their top colors and they include neutral colors. Click here to see the hottest colors of 2017.
  • Try a fresh coat of paint on cabinets and vanities. Doing so can modernize the look of a room. Keep in mind that repainting cabinets is a temporary fix. Refinishing them would be more expensive, but would last a lifetime.
  • Lighting and hardware can be updated easily and inexpensively to stay on trend and quickly freshen up the look of kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Add storage solutions. Show that its easy to store items throughout the year in easy to access spaces throughout the home.
  • Remove any blinds that are no longer functional. Open windows bring in lots of light and new buyers enjoy viewing homes with great lighting. Keep curtains open as well.
  • Fix broken items, like ceiling fans or burnt out lights.
  • Rearrange your furniture to create a better traffic flow. A couple of important rules to remember when maximizing flow:
    • Poor Traffic Flow

      You should be able to walk freely between rooms such as the dining room and kitchen, for example. This rule wouldn’t apply to private spaces, like a bedroom.

    • You should be able to walk from an entryway into a room without bumping into or having to walk around something.
    • You should be able to walk freely around and in front of furniture, except traffic should

      Good Traffic Flow

      not flow through a conversation area.

    • Having too much furniture in a room will inhibit flow.

Jenn Mattscheck, Helen Adams Realty, Realtor, Broker
Personal Website:

Jenn Mattscheck of Helen Adams Realty has some great tips for both newer home refreshers and older home remodels. For sellers with newer homes, number one on Jenn’s list is to paint your house in neutral tones. Neutrals will make rooms look updated, fresh, clean and LARGE! She says, “and no, you don’t have to paint everything gray and white. Light blues, khakis and pale greens can also go neutral. Don’t forget to paint the trim while you’re in there!” She says that while buyers don’t want crazy paint colors, they are often impressed with unique and modern light fixtures. “Lighting is a quick and easy way to modernize and make a home UNIQUE!”

For sellers with older homes, you can transform outdated rooms without going overboard on cost. Jenn recommends refreshing the kitchens and bathrooms by painting the cabinets in a light, soft color. Replace old countertops, sinks and faucets for a big return. New appliances are a good investment but only if you are updating the rest of the kitchen. She suggests that “small projects give big results” such as re-staining or retiling floors or backsplashes. Basic subway tile is a good backsplash that pleases most potential buyers. Her most important piece of advice for sellers with older homes is to get a pre-inspection so you know what the buyers will soon know and you can get a head start.

The Home Owner with an Outdated Home

You are looking for maximum impact through minimum expense.

  • Create an open concept between dining and living areas so that site lines are clean and your floor plan looks larger.
  • Update your countertops in the kitchen and bathroom for an easy, fast and impressive upgrade.
  • Retile your bathroom to freshen up the space and modernize the decor.
  • Flooring is another way to amplify the appeal of your home. Consider upgrading your flooring to hardwoods throughout the house. Update the linoleum in your kitchen to tile.
  • If the interior of the house is in good shape, you can update curb appeal on the exterior. Consider refinishing the deck, sprucing up the landscaping, adding bright flowers and cleaning up the landscaping.
  • Check on your roof. Buyers often flag roofs if they are aged or deteriorating.
  • While it’s a dirty job, removing popcorn ceilings can upgrade a space. We suggest writing it into your contract that once you move your furniture out, you will remove the popcorn ceilings before the new buyer moves in.
  • To see which home remodeling projects are worth investing in, click here.
  • Renovations that yielded the smallest returns were home office remodels, sunroom additions, bathroom additions, backup power generation and master suite additions.
  • Renovations that yielded the greatest returns were entry door replacements, deck additions (wood), attic bedrooms, garage door replacements and minor kitchen remodels.

Robyn Riordan, Allen Tate, Realtor, Broker, GRI
Personal Website:

Robyn Riordan of Allen Tate Realtors has several suggestions for sellers. Top of her list includes refreshing or renovating the kitchens and/or bathrooms. She also states that flooring has a huge impact, “particularly when going from two or more different flooring types to one, consistent updated style.”

Robyn’s biggest piece of advice is that “a well-designed space always trumps top of the line finishes.” She says that opening up walls to improve flow is a dramatic change which really excites buyers. No potential buyer wants to feel disconnected in a space. While high end finishes are nice and expected at certain price points, the most important thing is the overall flow of the space.

If you are thinking about selling your home, or ready to list your home already, start on your own with the small cosmetic changes using the lists above. If you need bigger help with opening up a space or remodeling a room, give us a call at 704.708.4466!

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