We are living in an unprecedented time. Our country and much of the world is living under stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a time where many of us feel very blessed to have a roof over our heads, and a place we can call home. While living in our home day-after-day, we may have made adjustments to our home spaces to homeschool children, set up working quarters, store more food than normal, and cook continuous meals. In doing so, it exposes what we love most about our homes and where it could be improved in order to love it more. For some, it may also bring to light the realization that we’re ready to move on from the home we’re currently living in.
Whether you’re looking for ideas to love your home more, or you’re thinking of listing it, here are some simple ways to make it happen. If you’re considering putting your home up for sale, spring is a wonderful time to get your home market-ready.
Top 5 Tips to Prepare Your Home For Sale or Simply Love It More
Clearing your space is the #1 improvement you can make. And it doesn’t cost anything! By removing the excess from your living spaces, you improve its utility and make it brighter. The optics of having lots of space is essential, especially in real estate photos. The first space that you should declutter is your storage space, perhaps the basement, attic or garage. In full disclosure, storage spaces can be the most tedious, but organizing it first you are going to make the rest of the home decluttering process so much easier. This is because the storage space is where you’ll ultimately store anything you’ve removed (and plan on keeping) from other rooms in your home. It’s also where donations will be stored until centers can take them (more on that later). As part of decluttering your storage space, be sure to tidy up storage shelves, or if necessary add a shelf or two so you can stack boxes.
Once you have conquered the storage space, work one room at a time including the closets within the rooms. I recommend this order:
Family room/living room
Additional recreational spaces (playroom, finished basement, office, etc)
In each room, clear your surfaces. This means removing piles of papers and books, not regularly used electronics/appliances, wires, and small knick knacks. If you’re blocking windows, clear the window space to allow in more natural light — natural light makes a room feel more spacious and does wonders for your mood and well-being.
Now where do you put the excess? Store what you’re keeping in labeled boxes in your storage space. For donations, box up and label donations with the donation center they’re going. Be sure your donations are in good and clean condition. A good rule of thumb is: the integrity of your donations are as important as the integrity of the recipient. At the moment, donation centers are not open, but get your donations prepared to go now. This way, when donations centers open, you’ll be able to quickly pass them forward. For anything not being donated, I highly recommend securing a one week dumpster rental. A short term dumpster rental creates urgency to start and complete your decluttering project. Most dumpster companies are operating business as usual. Local Metrowest, MA removal companies that I recommend are Lincoln Removal and Bin There Dump That.
2. Make Minor Repairs & Improvements
Spring is a great time to tick off those indoor and outdoor minor repairs. Some contractors are still working, and many repairs you can even do yourself. Most minor repairs are fairly inexpensive. Examples of minor repairs include fixing wood rot around windows and exterior trim, repairing roof leaks, caulking seals around the bathroom, and fixing safety-related issues like railings and outdoor stairs.
In terms of improvements, the biggest bang for your buck for the interior of your home is a fresh coat of paint! With a few coats of paint you can make a space look younger, cleaner, and bigger. If you’ve got old or dark wall coverings, now is the time to freshen them up. We recommend lighter neutral colors. Grays and beiges, are very popular. “Greige” is often recommended which is a warmer tone gray. I love Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist which is on the lighter spectrum of the greige family. In addition to paint, take a look at the fixtures and hardware around your home. Are they dated or worn? Replacing brass fixtures (which were ever-so popular in the 1990s) with brushed nickel or black matte can modernize your home, and can be done within a budget of $500 or less. For buyers, these are the details they will be looking at, so it’s worth doing now.
3. Add Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is the visual attractiveness seen from the exterior of your home. It’s a person’s first impression of your home, so if you’re selling your home it will the buyer’s first impression. Adding curb appeal, whether you’re selling or not, can make your home look welcoming. Easy ways to add curb appeal is through landscaping, such as trimming trees and shrubs around the perimeter of your home, mulching and mowing your lawn.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your front entry is inviting. Power wash the walkway and steps to remove the debris from the winter, and if needed add a coat of paint to the front door so it pops. Bonus: hang a new wreath and lay a doormat. You can find some cute inexpensive options from Target which can be delivered to your front door!
4. Deep Clean
Having a clean home creates a healthy environment and also a fresh overall feeling. Similar to curb appeal, first impressions are formed in the first few steps into your home, so make guests and buyers have a positive impression from what they first smell and see.
The good news is that most of us are already in the “clean” mindset. So, while you’re in the zone, take the time to deep clean your home. A deep clean is a more expansive cleaning compared to a regular home cleaning. With a deep clean you want to clean the following:
Windows and blinds
Walls and door frames (get those finger prints!)
Oven and range
Above and inside the cabinets
Even if you aren’t selling, this is a great practice to do with the changing of the seasons. When you can open those windows, put on the gloves and scrub away!
5. Style Your Home
Why not make the interior of your home just as beautiful for you as you would for buyers?. I often hear from my home staging clients getting ready to sell, “Gee, I wish I’d done this along time ago. I LOVE it.” My takeaway: there’s no time like the present — decorate it (and love it) now! For some, styling a home can feel overwhelming and expensive. Here are a few inexpensive tips to refresh the style in your home:
Replace pillows: Add or swap in decorative pillows on your couches and beds. Mix it up with some colorful, print and neutral pillows. Pops of color can really bring life to a room.
Wash or add fresh bedding: Bedding can become tired (no pun intended) over time. Be sure to wash it or simply replace it. I love simple neutral bedding paired with colorful decorative pillows and a throw blanket.
Take stock of your lighting: If your rooms are dim, add some additional lighting in the form of a table lamp or floor lamp. Replacing a lampshade can also be an inexpensive solution to increase light, which can become blocked by years of dust. When replacing a lamp or lampshade, choose a shade that’s either white or beige to maximize the light emitted.
Remove or pull back window treatments: Maximizing natural light is the easiest way to brighten up a home. Pull back your curtains and pull up your blinds. If you have heavy drapery, consider taking it down. In fact, if your drapes have been installed for a while, there’s a good chance it’s heavy with dust, so remove them now.
As you read through this list, you may be thinking “sounds great, but I don’t know how I can do this?!” I get it. Here’s some practical advice: take it one step at a time. Set a realistic plan for decluttering and chip away at that. When it’s complete, move on to the next tip. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to those who can help, for instance hire the services of a professional organizer, contractor or landscaper. If you’re considering listing your home, now is a great time to engage with a Realtor® to help provide guidance on the process. Realtors such as Love Where You Live - Keller Williams Realty not only provide guidance, they can also recommend local service providers and offer home staging services (The Lighter Home is proud to be their home staging partner).
Have specific questions about your home? I'm home and can be of help (virtually). You can contact me at The Lighter Home for a complimentary video consultation. Stay safe and be well.