According to realtor.com, the average time it takes to sell a home is 65 days. But what if you want to sell your home faster? Maybe you found a job somewhere far away, you’re on a deadline to close on your next home, or you’re just ready to move on to a new location. No matter what the reason, you can take some steps to help sell your home faster. With a few easy upgrades (that don’t require major construction!) you can make your home more desirable and ready to fly off the market (and just maybe get more money for it, too).
Light it up, up, up
Natural light will help sell your home faster. Organize your rooms so that the decor takes advantage of natural light. When you open your home for a showing, make sure to open the blinds and drapes. This allows more natural light, giving the illusion of a larger home. If your home doesn’t get much natural light because of trees or shrubs, consider trimming back the foliage. Balance your use of shade carefully, though. Too much sunlight will increase energy costs, especially during hot summer months, and this could concern prospective buyers.
You should also consider the lighting fixtures within the home. Change out light bulbs for brighter, warmer options. Avoid fluorescents; these can make your home feel sterile, like a hospital or doctor’s office. Halogen bulbs are more fragile and expensive, but give off the most natural light. The most common option is incandescent, but these are being left behind in favor of other types of lighting like LEDs. LEDs are the most energy and cost-efficient bulbs, but they work best as directional lighting. Because they don’t diffuse light, they are not the best choice for whole-room lighting.
Smart lighting opens even more appealing features to add to the home. Wi-Fi connected light bulbs can be turned on and off from your phone or placed on timers. Some lighting kits offer bulbs that can change colors, turn on and off at set intervals, and link to personal digital assistants or voice-controlled home automation hubs. Imagine the appeal for a home buyer being able to command, “Turn on the lights!” as they walk from room to room.
Make a great first impression
If you want to sell your home faster, curb appeal matters. Potential buyers may drive by your home and decide with one look whether they want to see more. With this in mind, it’s essential that you make your home look great from the outside. Trim your hedges, clear up clutter from the yard and porch, and mow the lawn. Sometimes the most basic tasks yield the greatest results.
If you’re willing to spend a bit of money, a fresh coat of paint can make your home feel brand new. The national average cost to paint a home falls somewhere between $1,700 and $3,700, but the job often results in more than a 100% return on your investment. Not only does it make your home look newer, but it actually increases the overall value of your property.
Another small exterior change with a big effect is to swap out your house numbers. Large, easy-to-see numbers increase curb appeal and also make it incredibly easy for delivery services to find your home. Additionally, if you have an outside deck or patio, borrow or rent a pressure washer and get to work. Blasting grime out of grout will give your home a fresh look.
A final, inexpensive upgrade you can add is outdoor lighting. Solar-powered walkway lights provide safety and security once the sun goes down and add visual appeal.
Put safety first
Home security is one of the biggest concerns for homeowners. Even if you live in a nice neighborhood, a security camera can help sell your home faster and provide an automatic upgrade to potential buyers. A high-quality security camera can be purchased for less than $100, although some of the best options run between $150 and $200. Many of the newer cameras can be accessed at any time from a phone or tablet.
Home automation options that double as security are even better. For example, the August Smart Lock can be controlled directly from your phone, will text you when it opens and closes, and even features auto-lock functionality. You don’t have to worry about whether you lock the door when you leave; it will lock on its own within 30 seconds. You can also give your realtor the ability to open the lock—making showings a more automated experience and showing buyers firsthand how these features add value.
Home security companies and internet service providers are beginning to adopt home automation protocols that allow multiple smart devices to communicate with one another, opening up ways to make a home more efficient and safe at the same time—appealing qualities to house hunters.
Spruce up the kitchen and bathrooms
A lot of the advice you’ll find online for increasing your home’s value or selling it faster touts the merits of renovating the kitchen or bathroom, but those projects can take tens of thousands of dollars and months of work—and often aren’t necessary. There are numerous changes you can make to both of these spaces that require nothing more than a screwdriver.
First, take a look at the knobs on your cabinets. If you’ve never noticed them before, it’s likely because they’re bland. Swapping them out for more eye-catching designs or more updated styles is an inexpensive, simple change that can transform the look of a room.
Using pendant lights underneath your cabinets is a quick way to get under-cabinet lighting without hardwiring anything. Pendant lights are battery powered and easy to install. They don’t even need to be screwed in place; command strips work just as well.
Finally, if you’re willing to make the investment, updating to modern appliances is a major bonus. Seasonal sales make it possible to purchase refrigerators, washers, dryers, and other major appliances without completely cleaning out your wallet. New appliances can help sell your home just as quickly as a major renovation.
In addition to upgrading your home, there are a few other steps you can take to speed up the sales process. Imagine yourself as the homebuyer; what do you want to see when you check out a home? More importantly, what don’t you want to see?
While you may love your furry, four-legged friend, others may not. Before a showing, put away your pet’s food and water bowls and clean up any evidence of a pet. Pets can be a polarizing issue for potential buyers, so removing that variable from the equation will simplify the process.
Another step you can take is to remove any personal items. It’s easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in a space if there isn’t clear evidence that someone else presently lives there. Rent a storage unit and clear out closet space to show off the storage of your home.
Selling a home doesn’t require secret spells or magical incantations. Take a look at other homes in your neighborhood to get an idea of your market (and maybe sneak a peek at what others are doing to sell their homes). In the right area, with the right look, at the right price, you can sell your home faster and cut that estimated 65-day time way down.
Guest Author Bio: Patrick Hearn is a technology and travel writer covering home security, home automation, and other related topics for Xfinity Home. He lives in Atlanta, GA and divides his time between work and tennis.