Ways to Improve Your Home Selling Potential on the Cheap

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By: Doug Gartley

When selling your home there are several things you can do to increase its value and also ensure the selling process goes as smoothly as possible. These things should be done before putting the home on the market because you only get one chance to make that oh-so-important first impression.

Studies have shown that your home is worth the most when you first put it on the market.  If you don’t take the appropriate steps to make sure your stage is set when that first buyer walks through the door, it could cost you a sale. Checking these items off your to-do-list will ensure you get top dollar for your home while costing you virtually nothing:

Start Packing

You are moving anyway, right? It’s a great idea to start packing before you even have your house on the market. This will help de-clutter your home when it’s being shown to potential buyers and will also minimize the workload when moving to your new home.

Clean out all unnecessary items from the closets, cabinets and drawers.  Remove extra or oversized furniture to make the home appear larger. When buyers go through your home, they will be opening doors and cabinets, and when they are over-flowing with “stuff” it can send the wrong impression.


While it’s always important to have a clean home while it’s on the market, there are specific areas that can create a positive lasting impression for a potential buyer. Start at the front door. This is where most buyers will begin to form their opinion of a home.  By cleaning the front door, windows, porch and walkway, you provide an inviting entrance for the buyer.

Inside the home, you want to make sure the windows are clean inside and out. Wipe down all the cabinets and clean the mirrors. Do this well in advance of any showing, because the over-powering odor of cleaning products or air fresheners often sends the wrong message.

Set the Stage

This can be accomplished by using your current furniture and reducing or removing any oversized pieces.  Begin by moving the furniture around in different locations. Try creating several different arrangements and layouts to find the most inviting setting while maintaining a good traffic flow.

Extra tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t put the couch in front of a doorway or fireplace if that’s the focal point in the room.
  • This may be a good time to put down some new area rugs in the kitchen or bathrooms.
  • A $20 shower curtain can really bring new life to a dull bathroom.

For more staging tips, check out: Staging Your Home for Sale: 10 Fabulous Tips

Get an Inspection

This is something that most people never take into consideration when selling a home, but could end up costing thousands of dollars during the negotiations. By having your home inspected before placing it on the market you’re able to address any and all of the issues before the buyer even sets foot in the door. A home inspection will turn up lots of simple fixes and possibly a few major fixes that the buyer could use against you during the negotiations. Be proactive! It is often less expensive to have these things addressed before they even become a problem.

Consult with an Expert

It’s smart to talk to a professional real estate agent and get them involved in the early stages of the process, even before putting your house on the market. A realtor will be able to provide valuable feedback in regards to current market conditions. An agent will also be able to tell you specific things you should consider before putting your home on the market.

For more tips about your home, money and credit, plus free tools to help you make the most of them – including a free credit score, home value estimate and home loan recommendations – check out Quizzle.com.

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Doug Gartley is an Associate Broker with In-House Realty LLC. He has been a full time REALTOR for over 10 years in the Detroit Metropolitan area and works hard to earn the trust of each and every client.