Prepping Your Home for the Selling Season: Smart Ideas for Securing that Sold Sign

Once winter has passed, 'for sale' signs start popping up on lawns across America. And if you're one of the many people planning to put your home on the market this year, there's probably some home improvement work to do to fetch top dollar on the deal.

Luckily, you don't need to spend lots of money to get your home ready to sell. There are plenty of inexpensive projects you can tackle to make your home more appealing to the buyer and get that ‘sold' sign in your front yard.

Identify Your Home's Flaws

Although disclosure laws can vary from state to state, sellers are obligated to disclose property and structural flaws when selling a home. Even if it's an honest mistake, failure to mention a basement that floods or a leaky roof could leave you in the hot seat well after the deal is closed.

While you probably don't want to remodel your entire basement or kitchen before you sell, you should make some minor improvements to your home. Fixing small appliances like the dishwasher might cost you money upfront, but you'll probably recoup that cost when you sell.

Get Your Home in Showcase Condition

Have you ever walked into a space and been immediately overwhelmed by clutter and disorganization? As a seller, you rarely have a second chance to make a first impression.

Spending a week or two cleaning and organizing your home will give your house a more spacious appearance. Minimize clutter by clearing counters, organizing closets and concealing items in stackable crates and baskets. And what about the garage? Remember, storage is key. Make sure it's organized, clean and can fit cars too.

In the bathroom, replace caulking in bathtubs and showers. Modernize your kitchen by replacing a cracked linoleum floor, old counter tops and cabinetry.

Be sure all appliances are working properly. Clean and inspect your furnace and water heater. Make repairs to correct leaky faucets, squeaky doors, broken light switches, burned-out light bulbs, loose doorknobs, torn screens and broken windows.

Minimal Cost - Measurable Results

Painting is one of the best yet relatively inexpensive ways to improve your home. Not only can a new paint job improve a room's appearance, but a fresh coat of paint can give a home a fresh ambiance and modernize outdated décor.

As the selling season approaches, the need for neutral décor is also important. A house with beige walls and neutral tiling or carpeting is a faster sell. The neutral colors give potential homeowners a clean slate to make the property their own.

Curb Appeal is also Key

If the home doesn't pique curiosity from the curb, you'll never get the buyer to step foot inside.

A good place to start is with your yard. A freshly cut lawn, manicured hedge and a beautiful flowering garden should catch the eyes of buyers. Siding and trim should be clean and in good condition, and cracks in the sidewalk or driveway should be patched and treated. You also should repair broken windows, wobbly railings and crooked shutters.

Consider also painting or staining your front door, or even installing a new one, to make the doorway more welcoming. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of the house can make everything look new again.

Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware


Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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