Whether you’re a house flipper or a landlord looking to fill a vacancy, how you present your property to potential buyers and renters plays a huge role in how well it’s received. You could be offering the best amenities at a fantastic price, but if your initial impressions don’t “wow,” all bets are off.
Here are 19 ways to get your property ready for sale or rent, at both ends of the market spectrum.
Low Cost, Low Fuss
For a basic rental or lower-end sale, there’s no need to spend a small fortune. Your best bet for maximum ROI is to opt for tweaks that are quick and affordable.
Focus your biggest efforts on the kitchen and bathroom.
These are by far the most important rooms in any house or unit, so you want to make sure they pack the biggest punch. You can update older cabinets by repainting them and adding new hardware and can even make old appliances look new with appliance paint, which comes in a variety of shades, including stainless steel.
Carpets take up a large amount of visual space in a room, so you want them to show well. Assuming it’s not worth the cost and time to tear them out entirely, invest in a professional steam-cleaning (or rent a machine from Home Depot or Lowes). If you do happen to have hardwood underneath, you can always let buyers know so they’re aware they have the option to unearth it later.
Repaint just the trim.
As long as the walls are in good condition, save on the high cost of repainting the whole place and just repaint the trim around doors, windows and baseboards. It can make a whole room pop.
Replacing old light fixtures, handles, doorknobs and switch plate covers is a fast and relatively cheap way to make everything look a bit more modern.
Make small spaces look bigger.
There are plenty of tricks for this: hang curtains above the window frames to make the ceiling look higher; use a striped rug to make the floor look bigger; install a clear shower curtain to make a bathroom feel roomier; add mirrors to trick the eye into thinking there’s more space.
Do some basic landscaping.
You don’t need anything fancy; just add enough landscaping to make people eager to see what’s inside. Some simple flowers, a repainted front door and a bench or new porch light can make a big difference.
Evoke a mood.
Encourage people to linger by playing relaxing background music, lighting scented candles or baking cookies to create a homey smell, and by lighting fires in fireplaces in the winter.
Add photos and video to your listing.
Buyers want to preview a property before they take the time to visit it, so provide plenty of well-lit, flattering photos to supplement the property’s description. A video tour is a great bonus if your hands are steady enough to record one.
Scope out the competition.
Don’t just look at online listings; take a few hours one weekend to stop by a number of open houses for similar properties in your area. Not only will you get a peak at what you’re up against, you may also gain some valuable information about what buyers are looking for by keeping an ear out for the comments they make as they tour these properties.
Play up the neighborhood’s selling points.
Since “location, location, location” is so important in real estate, remind people what’s great about your property’s location. You can hang framed photographs of local attractions, decorate with local artwork from an area art festival and leave out menus for neighborhood restaurants and hotspots.
High-End, Big Results
Selling a higher-priced house or marketing a luxury rental? Then it’s time to be a less price-conscious and a more impact-conscious.
Stage the unit.
Hire a pro if you can, or read up on staging tips online to make sure that if you do it yourself, you do it right.
Hire a professional photographer .
Up the ante on your listing with high-quality professional photos and video that give your property the “glamour shot” treatment.
Replace carpeting with hardwood.
Hardwood floors are typically the most preferred flooring for buyers and high-end renters (with the exception of bedrooms, where a plush, luxurious carpet can appeal to some residents). Depending on the home’s price point, you could substitute bamboo for hardwood as a cheaper alternative.
Repaint every wall.
Opt for neutral colors like beiges to appeal to the widest range of people. A few favorite colors include: Sherwin Williams Repose Grey and Sherwin Williams Light French Grey (both are neutral greys for modern homes); Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige (a classic beige hue); and Behr Ivory Invitation (a light, neutral yellow that’s good for brightening darker spaces).
Create an open floor plan.
Many people want a home that’s fit for entertaining, and there’s no better way to accomplish this than to open up the kitchen to the living room so hosts and guests can mingle while food and drinks are being prepared. Don’t necessarily spend a fortune on this, of course. But if you can remove a simple partition wall to create a more open space, consider taking this step.
Power-wash the exterior.
This is particularly important if your exterior is painted in a light color or if it’s prone to collecting dust, dirt and soot from the environment.
Offer a home warranty or other incentives.
Many sellers are offering added perks and bonuses to sweeten the pot. Providing a home warranty, offering to cover the first year’s HOA dues or throwing in a free flat-screen TV can really catch people’s attention.
Offer a high-end open house experience.
Don’t call it an “open house”; call it an “event.” Spring for gourmet catering, champagne and waiters and provide live music like a pianist or string quartet.
Play up the neighborhood’s selling points.
This is just like the low-cost strategy, only this time the selling points are ritzier — local five-star restaurants, exclusive clubs, nearby boutiques, etc.
Would you add any tips to this list?
Let us know your best suggestions in the comments section below!