Historically, the most active time for buying and selling real estate is when the weather gets warm, and it is expected to blossom this year as the housing market springs back to life nationwide.
If you are getting ready to list your home or investment property, a short punch list of small but meaningful maintenance tasks can make a big difference in perceived value to potential buyers and, ultimately, your financial return.
Whether you are preparing your home for sale, getting ready to move into a new apartment, or are just looking for a little mental clarity in your space, there are a few recommendations to achieve that cleansed and clutter-free feeling at home.
Here’s what you should do to make your home ready for a summer sale:
— Clean, declutter and organize.
— Wash your windows.
— Repaint, touch up and replace.
— Replace linens.
— Rearrange furnishings.
— Go green.
Clean, Declutter and Organize
Start with your closets: Make sure every hanger only has one piece of clothing and is hanging straight. Get rid of wire hangers from the dry cleaner and make sure any clothing or items on shelves are folded neatly and placed in organized stacks.
Non-slip velvet hangers help clothes stay put and look sleek. Remove shoes or any items on the floor. There are plenty of shoe-organizer options you can find at stores such as Target, the Container Store and Walmart. Pro tip: Closets appear larger when the floor is visible.
Clear off all surfaces and countertops throughout your home, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. Hide bulky appliances like toasters and blenders, and throw away any old piles of mail or magazines you’ve been collecting.
Keep some necessities that help add context to the space, such as a nice candle, houseplant or utensil holder. Style coffee table books, bookshelves and decorative objects so everything looks intentionally placed. Give everything a good dusting, too.
Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is a must-read book for figuring out what needs to go and how to organize what’s left. If you find yourself still struggling after reading it, consider hiring a professional organizer.
Wash Your Windows
You may not even realize just how dirty they are until you confront this task, but cleaning your windows will make a world of difference in your home. Once sparkly clean, you will notice the sun shining in brighter and that view of the city skyline or your backyard is even better than before.
Repaint, Touch Up and Replace
Address normal wear and tear. Repaint and fill any cracks in the walls. Fix anything that might be broken or outdated like hardware and fixtures. Replace lightbulbs that are out or look dull. Clean any mildew or water calcification spots in bathtubs and showers, and re-grout if needed.
Whether your home is in mint condition or needs a major renovation, small touch-ups like these can give it a like-new feeling and help potential buyers or renters imagine themselves moving right in.
Plain white sheets and towels are always a safe bet to leave a room feeling clean and fresh. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the ones from Amazon Basics are a solid, inexpensive option if you are only planning to use them for staging.
You can stage your home with the furniture and decor you have to make the space look better to buyers. Moving art or decorative objects around, either within the same room or to another, can give a space a whole new look. Incorporate a large standing mirror to add depth to a smaller room without taking up too much floor space.
[Read: How to Start an Herb Garden]
Beautiful flowers and green plants will bring new life into your home. Florals create a warm and welcoming environment and smell great, too. Some fun options are tall palm trees in the corner of the room and fresh-cut flowers in a beautiful vase on the coffee table and dining table. Smaller arrangements are best to place by the bedside. If you have a front yard or backyard, make sure your landscaping is in tiptop showing shape.
There’s nothing better than the feeling after a little cleaning, and once you complete these tasks, you may not even want to move anymore. But rest assured, if you follow these recommendations before listing your home this summer, you will find the low effort will pay off in big rewards.
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Clarification 05/27/21: This article has been updated to clarify that the advice is applicable to selling your house in summer.