12 ways to boost a home’s appeal when selling

As the days start to get longer, you may be considering putting your house on the market once the prime spring selling season starts. If that’s your goal, it’s not too soon to start preparing your house for sale. At a loss about where to start? A REALTOR® is your best source for advice, but here’s a list of things to consider in the meantime.

What to do outside

First impressions matter, so there’s a reason why curb appeal is important. Don’t neglect the exterior. Items to address here include:

1. Structural

If a roof or HVAC is nearing the end of its life and needs a replacement, it’s always best to make that investment before going on the market. Buyers often don’t run from cosmetic improvements; they will, however, note big-ticket items that are vital to their safety and enjoyment of the property.

2. Landscaping

This one is a relatively easy and lower-cost fix. Trimming trees, pruning bushes and updating the exterior with new plants can create curb appeal. Unkept yards with overgrown bushes and trees can seem overwhelming to buyers. Not to mention, they also can hinder how a home looks from the street.

3. Cleanliness

It goes without saying that the properties that have the most pristine appearance, both inside and out, garner the most enthusiastic response from buyers. Make sure the home is spotless in every way, including the windows. And don’t forget the garage. It should also be clean, organized and accessible.

4. Paint

Lots of home improvement advice boasts the virtues of a fresh coat of paint. A newly painted home on the inside and out can make a tremendous difference in conveying value. If you aren’t a good painter, don’t cut corners with DIY because it shows — hire a professional instead. Also, if your home has siding, make sure that if it is damaged you get it repaired.

5. Fencing

Fences add an incredible amount of value to a home. If the property has a fence that’s broken, leaning or dirty, or with a gate that doesn’t work, those issues should be addressed before going on the market.

What to do inside

Once a buyer decides they need to look inside your home, there are many ways to make sure they want to stay and make it their forever home. Items to address here inclue:

6. Kitchen

It’s no secret that kitchens convey a huge amount of value. Although it’s not practicable for sellers to remodel their kitchen just to sell it, in most cases, making some upgrades can go a long way toward upping the value to a prospective buyer. So instead of replacing cabinets, consider having them painted or refaced. Replace dated hardware and fixtures. If the countertop has seen better days, replace that. And make sure the appliances are spotless.

7. Flooring

Today’s buyers are not keen on multiple kinds of flooring throughout a home and prefer the same material to run throughout for a seamless look. The same goes for outdated and worn flooring that needs replacement. If you choose to update the flooring, choose a high quality vinyl plank that’s durable, waterproof or water resistant, that will instantly update your home’s look while adding value.

If changing out the flooring entirely is not an option, consider replacing any rooms with existing old carpet with new carpet that is in a neutral color that will have wide appeal.

8. Doors

The front door is one of the first things buyers notice as they make their way into the house. If the door is outdated or worn, consider having it painted or stained along with changing out the hardware. If it’s in need of replacement, making this investment coveys a strong first impression to a potential new homeowner.

Take inventory of all exterior and interior dooes. See if any are in need of updates such as repainting, changing out hardware, replacing hinges, or if it would make sense to replace or upgrade them. Going from an older, solid-core door to a paneled door for a bedroom, for example, helps create an upgraded and pleasing aesthetic.

9. Storage

Like sellers, buyers have stuff — and they want to know where they are going to put it. The most cost-effective improvement a seller can make is clearing out clutter, getting rid of unwanted items while organizing all storage areas so they are showing off their storage space (and not the things in them).

By showing off these spaces, buyers will be able to visualize all of the places they’ll be able to put their holiday decorations, winter clothes, summer clothes and other “stuff” in general.

10. Deferred maintenance

There is no bigger turnoff than walking through a home and seeing lots of deferred maintenance. Think: Bathrooms that need caulking, tile in need of re-grouting, corroded plumbing fixtures and missing light bulbs, to name a few. Taking time to address the fix-it list before opening the home to prospective buyers is key to presenting a home that looks taken care of and well-maintained. It will prevent buyers from worrying that these simple repairs may be significantly more costly than they actually are.

11. Lighting

Buyers want homes that are light and bright, and quickly discount those that have a depressing vibe. Changing light bulbs or swapping out light fixtures can create a bright and cheery ambience that will make buyers want to spend time in the house, thus hopefully creating a climate ripe for multiple offers.

12. Bathrooms

It’s no secret buyers pay attention to bathrooms. Although they are typically OK with secondary bathrooms not being the most updated, the main bathroom is important, and there are several things sellers can do to spruce it up. Changing out vanities, sinks and plumbing fixtures are some of the easiest ways to update the look. Vanities with prebuilt counters from the hardware store provide some great options that can be installed quickly versus having something custom built.

If there are old mirrors on the walls, now is a great time to change those out to something more stylish and on trend as well. And while you’re at it, if the lighting quality is poor, buy new lighting that’s brighter and up to date.


When it comes to conveying value, details matter. Spending time addressing these items will result in strong offers, short marketing times and less buyer hesitation.

Remember, a professional REALTOR® is the single-best source of advice on how to get your home ready for market and sell it successfully for the best price. Don’t hesitate to contact one today.

— Inman News