Exterior of home with great curb appeal

Staging Your Home to Sell for Top Dollar

Simple Tips to Sell Your Home for More

Before putting a house on the market, many homeowners try to find opportunities to boost the value of their properties. But how do you decide which home upgrades are worth it?

One of the best places to start is to look at which home improvements provide the most value for your home without breaking the bank. While you could certainly take on the more expensive tasks of renovating your kitchen and bathrooms, there are more cost-effective ideas that have big effects on selling price. Here are some of the home upgrades that offer the highest return on your investment.

Clean and Declutter Your Home

We’ll start off with the cheapest home improvement step. Cleaning and decluttering your home doesn’t cost you anything other than time and effort, but it can pay dividends when it comes to selling your house. It will make listing photos look drastically better, resulting in more home showings. It can also impact the way potential buyers experience your home when they get there.

Consider this step an absolute necessity. If you do nothing else to prepare your home for going up on the market, at least give it a deep clean and get rid of excess clutter. For more tips on removing clutter and cleaning your home, check out this guide for selling your home fast.

And if you don’t have a place to put all of the decluttered items, renting a storage unit is a simple, cost-effective way to declutter and get your home ready to sell for top dollar.

Stage Your Home

Staged bedroom with open windows and great lighting

Your real estate agent should be able to help you with this step, but you can also find a professional staging agency yourself. Though markets differ across the country, home staging is consistently worth the investment.

Staging your home professionally helps improve your online listings, garners more private showings, and earns a higher selling price. Here are some quick statistics on the effectiveness of staging your home:

  • 96% of realtors claim home staging has an impact on the buyer.
  • 81% said buyers find it easier to visualize the property as a future home.
  • 46% said buyers are more willing to walk through a staged home viewed online.
  • 45% said staging to buyers’ tastes positively impacts home value (compared to only 10% who said it has a negative impact).
  • 28% said staging could lead to buyers overlooking property faults.
  • Of realtors surveyed, 52% said home staging has a positive impact on the dollar value of the home.

Hire a Professional Photographer for Listing Photos

Photography matters when selling your home these days. With increased online listings on real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, buyers make decisions on which houses to see in person based on what they see online. That makes that first impression all the more critical when it comes to selling a house.

Whether or not a professional photographer is a worthwhile investment may depend on the value of your home. You may not get much return on a lower-cost home, but the higher the cost, the more difference it can make. Learn more about why professional photography matters in real estate.

Choose the Right Paint Color for Your Walls

Living room with grey, neutral walls.

A fresh coat of paint is a great way to improve any room in your home. It can cover up stains and general wear-and-tear. Common advice for sellers is to go with neutral colors that appeal to a broader audience. But you may want to put a little more thought into the colors you choose if you want to increase the selling price of your home.

Zillow recently discovered that some colors could help sellers garner as much as an additional $5,000 on the sale of their homes, while others could lower the selling price. By examining photos of similar listings, Zillow analyzed how room colors correlated with selling prices. Here are the best colors they found for every room in your home:

  • Kitchen: Homes with yellow kitchens sell for an average of $1,360 more than homes with other colors.
  • Bedrooms: Painting bedrooms with soothing colors, like light green or khaki, can boost a selling price by an average of $1,332.
  • Living Room: Homes that paint living rooms neutral colors, like dove or light gray, sold for and average of $1,104 more than other colors.
  • Bathrooms: Bathroom colors don’t have a large impact on price, but colors like oatmeal or beige can boost a selling price by an average of $283, according to Zillow.

For more useful tips on picking the right colors to sell your home, see what five experts had to say!

Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal

Unkempt landscaping can obscure views, darken interiors, and block an otherwise good-looking house. Many sellers miss out on the opportunity to boost property value by investing in better landscaping.

Simply pruning overgrown shrubs and cutting tangled limbs off of trees can make a valuable difference. According to a survey by HomeGain, an investment of around $400 or $500 in landscaping can bring a return of about $2,000 in the selling price.

Improve Your Home’s Lighting

Living room and kitchen with great lighting

One of the most dramatic improvements you can make to a home, barring a major renovation, comes in the form of better lighting. Everything from installing dimmer switches or better light bulbs to the increasingly popular sun tubes can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a home. Remember, high wattage bulbs make spaces feel larger, and soft lighting brings warmth to a space.

Focus on improving natural light in any way possible, including pruning outdoor landscaping to allow adequate light in through windows. Also, take the time to fix broken window panes and ensure that all windows open.

Upgrade Carpets and Floors

Many real estate pros recommend spending money on floors before selling. It doesn’t even need to be a huge investment to make a significant difference in your selling price. For an estimated average of $600 to $900, brokers reported an increase of about $2,000 in final selling price. That’s an impressive return on investment.

Plus, you can spend even less than that depending on the state of your home. A few well-placed nails can eliminate annoying squeaks, and small projects like repairing broken tile, patching damaged floor boards, and removing carpet can improve the value of your property.

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