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Unlocking Your Home's Hidden Value: Secrets to Maximize Selling Price - Interior

Now that you have maximized the curb appeal of your home and potential buyers will be compelled to look inside, you need to focus your efforts there. I want you to keep these key points in mind while you read this. 

  1. Creating an environment that is appealing to buyers will not necessarily be comfortable to live in. You need to forget about how you like things to be or what you are used to.
  2. The process of selling your home is not enjoyable. The more work you do before marketing your home for sale, the quicker it will sell, and the sooner you can begin a normal life in your new home.
  3. The things I am suggesting here are ideal; do the best you can with what you have. Fortunately, most of these things don’t cost much money, just time, effort, and creativity. 

 

Let’s start with minimizing what’s in your home (decluttering). Here is a pro-tip to help you: Since you are moving soon anyway, start packing now. If you can get a storage unit, move your boxes there when they are full. If a storage unit is not possible, stack boxes neatly in the center of a room in the basement, or perhaps in the garage. The reason you want them in the center of the room is so buyers can still see the walls. 

 

What are you going to pack? Anything seasonal that is off-season. If it is currently summer, pack all your winter clothes. You can also pack anything hobby or sports-related that you won’t be using. Pack as many extra items as you can get by with; for example, if there are just two of you living in the home, do you need 10 bath towels? Keep 1 or 2 per person and pack the rest. Go through cabinets, junk drawers, closets, eliminating anything you won’t need in the next month or so. Pack all your extra dishes, including the coffee mugs you have collected while on vacations.  

 

Relocate any unnecessary pieces of furniture, like china or curio cabinets, Dad’s favorite recliner from the 1960s, family heirlooms, the antique clock collection, mounted trophy animals from hunting and fishing trips, etc. Everything left should easily fit in the room and look welcoming. If you can, avoid leaving furniture sets where all the pieces match; try to mix and match for a curated look. 

 

Buyers need to feel comfortable in your home and be able to picture themselves living there. This is difficult to do if everywhere they look there are personal items like family photos, so remove everything that would make them think of you. This would include things like posters, banners, collections, trophies, political statements, and similar items. Remove everything stuck to the refrigerator. I like to describe the feel you are trying to achieve as when you stay in a nice hotel or resort.  

 

Now that your home is open and spacious, are there holes in the walls, broken trim, or any other things needing repair? This is the time to get them fixed. While you are at it, everything in the home needs to function as it was intended. Make sure every door opens and closes easily. Lubricate squeaky hinges and fix the creak in the floor. Is there a light fixture that stopped working 7 years ago, and you have gotten used to it? It needs to be fixed or replaced. Are you using low-wattage light bulbs to conserve energy? Replace them with the maximum amount of wattage the fixture is rated for. Make sure every electrical outlet works as it is supposed to. Fix the leaky drain pipe under the sink and remove the bucket that catches the drips. 

 

If you have any walls that are painted a dark or bold color, you should consider repainting with a warm neutral color. The rooms will appear larger, and nothing freshens up the looks of a home more than new paint. You may even want to consider painting the ceilings, too. They are often not painted at all, and years of contaminants can cause them to look dull and dingy. Fresh paint will really brighten the room and make it appear even larger. Painting is one of just a couple of home improvements that will add more value than the cost to do the work; although, I do recommend that you hire a professional unless you have experience in painting. It is easy to see if a room was painted by a professional or an amateur. 

 

While we are on the subject of painting, it is common to keep extra paint around for touch-ups and reference, and buyers usually appreciate that, but only for current colors. If you have 30-year-old cans of paint in the basement that were used three colors ago, dispose of them properly now. Don’t make the new owners have to deal with them. That goes for any other waste, like used motor oil, old weed spray, and the spare tire that goes to the truck you traded off 5 years ago. 

 

How is your carpet? Are there worn areas, stains, or are the colors out of date? If you answered yes to any of these, you should consider replacing it. Occasionally I will see a seller offering a carpet allowance, meaning they will give the buyer a set amount of money at closing that they can use to replace the carpet or anything they want to use it for. In my opinion, it is best to replace it before you market the home. If you absolutely can’t afford to and the carpet is really bad, you can do the allowance if you will have enough proceeds at the closing. 

 

The next and final step is a deep cleaning. Clean every square inch of the house. Pull everything out of closets, clean them thoroughly, and organize them as you put things back. There should be a lot of open space when the closet door is opened. Do the same with kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Pull the refrigerator and stove out so you can clean under and behind them. Clean the tops of the upper cabinets. Scrub the floors. Polish hardware and fixtures. The house should absolutely sparkle and smell fresh. Washing the windows is an often overlooked but critical thing to do. Clean windows let more light in and make rooms appear larger. Remove window screens, clean and repair them if necessary, and put them in the garage or basement. The view through the window will be much clearer without the screens on. 

 

Clear off countertops by finding places to store appliances out of sight. Put mail, keys, and other personal items in a safe, secure location. Only leave something out if it is something you actually want a potential buyer to look at. Put personal care items and grooming products out of sight. Keep the beds made and put dirty clothes in a laundry basket out of sight. Wipe down or squeegee the shower after every use. Keep the mirrors clean. Who knows, after a week or two of living like this, you may decide that you like it so much it becomes a new way of life for you. 

 

Now your home is ready for the real estate photographer and showings. You have worked hard and spent some money, but you will be extremely happy with the results. Your home will sell quicker and for more money than if you hadn’t done it. Not to mention how excited the buyers will be to move into their new home. Best wishes on the sale of your home.

 

Norwalk IA Real EstateJon Niemeyer, Broker/Owner/REALTOR® at EXIT Realty North Star. I list and sell real estate in Central Iowa including Norwalk, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Cumming, Indianola, Carlisle, Waukee, Urbandale, Grimes, Clive, Johnston, Ankeny, Altoona, and Pleasant Hill in the Counties of Warren, Polk, Dallas, and Madison. Call Jon Niemeyer at 515-490-4675  

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