Even with the current hot housing market, there are tips that can help sell your home faster and for a higher price. If you are in the midst of or thinking about selling your home, now is the best time. According to Zillow, the pace of home sales is the fastest it’s been in more than two years.
With historically low mortgage rates, low inventory and rising home prices buyers are ready to make a move. Even though it is a seller’s market, remember that curb appeal is the key.
“You have seconds to get a buyer’s attention online,” says Susan Williams, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker serving areas outside of Los Angeles. “Especially now, a buyer has to look at a home’s photo and be so seduced that they want to put on a mask and go look at it.”
Here are seven tips to follow to give your home a boost in value.
Spruce Up Landscaping
The first thing a potential buyer sees is the front lawn. In 2018 the National Association of Realtors (NAR) did a study that found a well-maintained lawn and plantings are among the top outdoor features that buyers prize. “When a yard is not kept up, people wonder what else is wrong with the house,” Williams says.
Zillow relayed how important landscaping is to a listing when they shared that the word “landscaping” in a home listing adds 2.7% more to the sale price. If your home is worth $300,000 that is a gain of $8,100! It’s “often part of a package of features that signal to a buyer that a listing is a ‘nice’ home. That’s why these homes command a price premium,” says Amanda Pendleton, a Zillow home trends expert.
Things you can do to spruce up your curb appeal are to use dark-brown or black mulch. This makes the colors of flowers and shrubs pop. You should never cut your lawn too close to the ground. This will only make your lawn dry out and not look as healthy. Also, you should trim the edges for a nice clean look. Trim all the hedges boarding the foundation of your home so they do not block first floor windows. “People like the light,” says Francie Malina, a licensed real estate salesperson at Compass Real Estate in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Plant a Tree
Do you know that trees can contribute to your home’s value? According to Realtor.com, a mature tree can add thousands of dollars to a home’s value. If you do not have any trees or shrubs, even planting new smaller ones can help. According to Rachel Stults, a spokesperson for Realtor.com, leafy saplings surrounded by dark mulch or color annuals can be appealing and add value.
Spiff Up Your Entry
Zillow also reports that the color of a home’s front door can add value to the home. A black front door was found to add an extra $6,000 to a home’s sale price compared to similar homes with other colored doors.
Not everyone wants a black front door, there are other ways to enhance the entry of your home. If you want to stick with your current door color, think about freshening up the paint. It is recommended to use a semigloss finish on entry doors. Rico de Paz, Consumer Reports’ resident paint pro, explains that a semigloss paint yields a smooth, slightly shiny sheen, and it’s also easy to clean.
Other enhancements that make a difference are pressure washing walkways and the driveway, washing your windows, adding a wreath to the front door, replacing your doormat, and repainting your old mailbox or replacing it. Malina also suggests adding plants in nice colorful pots on the front landing or front porch.
Add Outdoor Lighting
Zillow also confirms that adding the words “outdoor lighting” to a listing description yields a home selling 3.1 days faster for a 1.6% high sale price than other similar homes without these words listed in the description. Again for a $300,000 home that would be a $4,800 difference.
Just by adding solar-powered lighting along your walkway or having lighting down your pathways professionally installed, you will see a return on your investment. Patrick Harders, founder of Enlightened Lighting, an outdoor lighting design and installation company in Sterling, Va., says that illuminating basic areas of the front facade and walkway can start at $1,500.
Create An Outdoor Living Space
This is so important during the pandemic. “When we have to social distance, that space is even more essential,” says Kim Soper, founder of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Cypress in Lexington, Ky.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) new decks and patios can return as much as 69% to 89% on the investment. Zillow also reports that a sales listing with the word “pergola” can get a 2% higher sales price and sell 9 days faster.
Not everyone wants a pergola but there are many things you can do to improve your existing outdoor spaces. Updates on existing decks and patios can help sell your home. If you have outdoor furniture, make sure it looks clean and new. Replace old worn pillows with new colorful pillows. Add flower pots to brighten up the space. If you have an outdoor patio set, set the table with colorful place settings. “A lot of times when we’re staging, you put down one of those bright colorful rugs and it warms up the space a bunch,” Janni says.
The key is to keep it simple. “You want to make your yard look pristine and clean of clutter, the same as you would the inside of your home,” Stults says. Play structures in good condition are okay, though. “In our market, they are generally a positive,” Janni says.
Get a Fire Pit
Zillow shows that a listing description with the word “fire pit” can sell for 2.8% more and 3.8 days faster. “Buyers are drawn to trendy features and features made popular by home-improvement TV,” Pendleton says. “Fire pits fall into that category.”
Fire pits can be expensive, a built-in circular stone fire pit that’s 3 to 4 feet in diameter and fueled by natural gas would cost around $1,500, says Mike Wilson, who builds hardscapes in Madison, Wis. No need to worry, you can build a fire pit yourself using a fire pit ring kit and wall blocks. These can be purchased at retail stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. An even less expensive solution is a portable fire pit. A 30-inch model can be purchased online for under $65.
Install Smart Sprinklers
If the words “smart sprinkler systems” are used in a listing description Zillow says it can attribute to a home selling 15 days faster than those that did not mention a smart sprinkler system.
If you already have a sprinkler system, upgraded to a new smart controller will cost around $100 to $300. If you are electrically savvy then you can do the job yourself or you can hire an electrician. The system can not only boost your home value but can also save you on your water bill.
Remember curb appeal is the key. “Curb appeal is everything when you’re trying to sell a home,” says Torres, “because that’s the first thing [buyers] see to get interested,” says Sidney Torres who helps struggling property investors on CNBC’s The Deed.
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