NANCY D. STORINO, Licensed NYS Real Estate Broker
315-788-7171 Email Nancy

When getting your home ready to sell on a busy market, it may not make sense to take on big home improvement projects. Once you’re confident that your home does not need any major repairs that will stop a buyer’s home inspection, you can focus on easy updates to make your home more appealing. Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom might be out of your budget or time frame, but there are still plenty of small updates you can make in key areas to get your home ready to sell.

Five ways to wow potential buyers

To impress potential buyers, there are five specific areas of your home to focus your decorating efforts. Don’t worry — these quick updates are not expensive. If you already hired a real estate professional, they can help determine your probable buyer and local comps. This lets you tailor your update budget to the local market. Here are the top (quick) updates for your five high-impact areas:

Update your curb appeal

What your potential buyers see when they view your home online or drive up outside can determine the success of your showings. First impressions really do count in real estate. Increase your curb appeal with a few simple changes.

  • Remove clutter: It’s easy to walk right by outdoor clutter if it’s been there for a while. Clear your yard and porch of items like old shoes, dead plants or gardening tools. This is a great time to pressure wash everything, including your driveway and porch.
  • Update accessories: A new doormat is an inexpensive and quick update for your porch. Is it time for a new wreath, or to add one for the first time? Tired or out-of-season decor makes buyers think that your home has been on the market a while. Keep accessories timeless so that your photos won’t look dated if a holiday passes while you get your home ready to sell.
  • Add accessories: Porches need accessories to appeal to buyers. You don’t have to go overboard — we love the look of a simple front door wreath and two or three colorful potted plants. Think of them like jewelry; the idea is to enhance your home, not overpower it.
  • Paint your door: This is a bit more involved, but a nicely-painted front door is a buyer favorite. A beautiful front door is an important part of your home’s exterior charm and a complement to your accessories.

Create a warm welcome in your foyer

Once potential buyers step inside the front door, it’s time to deliver on the promise of your beautiful curb appeal. Even if your home doesn’t have a dedicated foyer, there are simple updates to make it feel like more than a pass-through space. You won’t need to spend a lot of time and money on your foyer, but a welcoming entrance is very important to the buyer’s experience. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your entryway.

  • Declutter: Like most home seller to-do lists, decluttering is a priority for every area of your home. Foyers are often cluttered with mail, shoes and jackets that people drop when they walk in the door. When getting your home ready to sell, add a few baskets or hooks to catch the inevitable clutter. This makes a great impression.
  • Add art or a mirror: Whether you have a foyer or just a simple entryway, wall art creates a definition of space. Mirrors can open up and brighten a smaller foyer. A table or shelf beneath any wall art is another quick upgrade for your foyer and the prefect place for a colorful accessory or two.
  • Make room for a bench: Putting a bench, with space for shoes beneath it, near the front door can be a major hit with buyers. A dedicated space to remove shoes when entering tells buyers that you cared about your home and took good care of it.

Update your kitchen without remodeling

You might have heard that kitchens sell homes, and it’s true! Your kitchen will be the most important room in the house when it comes to home buyers. A full kitchen remodel isn’t always possible when putting your home on the market. Luckily, there are easy ways to get an updated look that buyers will love.

  • Update your cabinet hardware: Tired or outdated hardware can age your kitchen. Replacing all of your cabinet and drawer pulls is like a facelift for your cabinets. Oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel are still the top choice for home buyers, and are also the most affordable.
  • Add a tile backsplash in a hurry: A quick way to add a backsplash without the mess and expense of remodeling is with adhesive tile mosaics. You can find almost any tile look you want in this tile application. It’s a great solution for low to mid-range priced homes or condos.
  • Refresh your grout: If you already have a tile backsplash, you might need to revitalize the grout. Dirty or outdated grout is a major turn-off for home buyers. Whether it’s a good cleaning or new application of grout, this little detail can go a long way.
  • Paint your kitchen island: We love the look of a painted kitchen island. This is a clever fix when you don’t want to paint all of your kitchen cabinets. The top colors for painted kitchen islands are navy blue, gray and black.

Easy bathroom updates that buyers love

Bathrooms can be a big selling point to a home buyer and it’s easy to look past things that need a fix or update when you use a room every day. Even a dated bathroom can benefit from a few simple updates. The key to making sure your bathrooms are buyer-ready is to look at them through fresh eyes. Once you look around your bathrooms objectively, try these easy tips to freshen things up.

  • Replace your shower curtain: If you have a shower curtain that doesn’t “wow” your visitors, it’s time to replace it. The shower curtain can provide your color inspiration for making other changes to the bathroom. Take a close look at your shower curtain rings as well. If they are outdated or mismatched plastic, replace them with a new set (preferably metal.) 
  • Invest in linens: One set of towels and a bathroom rug dedicated to showing days is a must-have. This new set of towels is not for everyday use — you’ll be putting these out only on showing and open house days. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your new bath linens but it’s important that they enhance your bathroom’s color scheme.
  • Update your mirror: In most model homes, the bathroom mirrors are rectangular and framed with wood  to match the vanity. If your mirror is showing signs of wear, or is hopelessly outdated, upgrading to a new one is a quick and important fix.

Get your home ready to sell with color

Does your home have a color scheme? It can be anything from a carefully-designed palette to one or two neutral colors with accents. If you’re planning to paint, consider one soft neutral color throughout your home. One or two accent colors can be added to your neutral color as accessories and linens for a coordinated look. A few adjustments to your existing color scheme can make your home more appealing to buyers. This includes removing items that are distracting or dated. Model homes are also an amazing source of color inspiration for any region — touring one can give you insight into what buyers want in your area.

Add a few of these easy updates to your to-do list to get your home ready to sell with confidence.