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I'm struggling with this right now - our house isn't on the market yet, but there are some things we need to do first that will cost $$ and I won't have any extra to put into anything that isn't basic. So I'm wondering if anyone has ultra-frugal ideas for arranging or decorating or otherwise spiffing up a tired old house so that it will show better? I would love to hear them if you do.<br><br>
At the very least, we are planning to paint every room (after doing a number of drywall repairs and finishing some undone home improvement projects like putting a few rooms back together <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> ). Most likely replace some flooring as well. I think our house will be pretty well decluttered/simplified by the time we list it (not easy with 4 homeschooled kids, but I am optimistic). What other things make a difference?
 

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Paint is always said to be the cheapest thing. I got three gallons of similar colors from the mismixed section, then poured them together to get three gallons of the same color.<br><br>
Do you have wood floors? Waxing them can spiff them up cheaply.<br><br>
New curtains if you have fuddy duddy ones. Sheer ones so they let in more light?<br><br>
Curb appeal, mulch around the house?
 

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Declutter so that the house looks bigger.<br><br>
Clean everything until it shines (walls, carpets, glass, windows).<br><br>
Paint makes a huge difference, even just a new coat of the same color.<br><br>
Don't cover up flaws, but arrange things to show how you can use them. IE, we have a ledge in our office and we plan to place a desk over it so you can still see the hump but also see that it's workable.<br><br>
Place settings on a dining room table/kitchen table look nice when it's an open house.<br><br>
A well cared for yard. Lawn mowed, flower beds free of weeds, no dead plants.<br><br>
When you decorate, try not to decorate too personally. Such as, don't decorate with tons of family pictures or the same style of art throughout the house. This way the buyer can picture it as their house instead of YOUR house. And with the different styles of art they aren't judging the house by your tastes. (If their style is modern and you decorate country, they won't judge it based on your tastes).<br><br>
I've also heard to arrange your living room in a "U" shape, as it initiates conversation and more people can imagine themselves entertaining in a room like that.<br><br>
Clear off kitchen counters. Put appliances in cupboards so they're out of view. This makes it look like you have more counterspace.<br><br>
Mirrors are good for decorating, they make a space bigger too.<br><br>
If I think of any others, I'll post again...we're getting ready to list too, so I've been researching.
 

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This is a realtor trick: When you or your agent lists your house, start out the description ("remarks") with "Showings start Saturday." so it sounds exclusive & competitive. After the description of the features of the house itself w/ updates, end it with "This is the one!"... stirs excitement, and you may get more buyers to come by to take a look.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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good ideas.... really a clean neat house with good curb appeal, and no family pictures, no visible toys, and no cluter, and make sure the furniture is appropriate for each room and does not overwhelm it.
 

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good ideas.... really a clean neat house with good curb appeal, and no family pictures, no visible toys, and no cluter, and make sure the furniture is appropriate for each room and does not overwhelm it.
 

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we are in the process of doing this! clean yard! potted plants if you don't have ones in the ground. (we borrowed some from a friend to keep on the porch).<br><br>
if you have hard wood floors, wax them. clean carpets. wash windows. um, i forget other things i've heard... will post again if i remember.
 

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I remember reading once that you should take most of the stuff out of your closets and store it at a friend's house. I think it works, because when we looked at our current house, which is a four bedroom, I thought there were only two people living here. Turns out it was a family of six. They had everything in a locked storage shed on the property, and the house did seem very spacious.
 

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We sold our house last year. It took 6 weeks. Its tough with kids since someone could call and want to see the house in 15 minutes.<br><br>
One thing we did. Have the house ready for show by 9am on weekdays and 8am on weekends. That meant showered, beds made etc by that scheduled time. Also be ready to get everyone out the door for a showing. Even napping kids sorry! We were fortunate that ILs lived 5 minutes away so we spent a few saturdays over there. Some days we had 6 showings so we had to stay away the whole time.<br><br>
But to prepare:<br>
Get rid of 75% of the toys. Anything bulky also need to be removed from toy areas. One thing we were told, when people are looking at the home, they may touch your stuff. One family had kids who even played with the toys. Not right but it happens.<br><br>
Linen closets- take out 50% of what is in there and just have an extra pair of sheets per bed and folded nicely and stacked the same. Get rid of extra things in drawers, dont have anything crammed. We stored about 20 boxes worth of stuff into our in laws bsmt and some furniture as well. We were moving so we had to pack it anyhow.<br><br>
Remove family pictures, things that are fragile, valuable, etc. Take all rx meds and put in a storage bin you have acess to. Lock file cabinets and put important things in a safe deposit box. Pack up unseasonable clothing, anytthing extra.<br><br>
If you have two of something, keep out the better one and store the others. Clean all surfaces. Keep all counter and table spaces spotless. No mail, papers, anything. Have all dishes clean and put away. Very important if you do not have a dishwasher.<br><br>
Trim trees, bushes, sweep outside. Keep front door area clean. Paint trim if need be.<br><br>
I could add more....
 

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If you have small indoor pets take them to someone else's home and make sure the house doesn't even have the faintest animal odor. Some people have very sensitive finely tuned noses that can pick up on the slightest smell of a litter box, etc. You don't want them turned off by such a smell before they've even seen the entire home.<br><br>
Declutter everywhere. People can't imagine themselves in the home if all they see is your personal items. Remove any personal item and this means take magnets off the fridge, take away framed photos, put away calendars and papers. Also no piles anywhere. If you have piles and you don't have the time to go through them put each pile into a box or large garbage bag. Store those boxes and bags away from your property.<br><br>
Homebuyers will open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. They want to be sure there is enough room for their things. If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a bad message to the buyer and does not promote an image of ample storage space. The best way to show plentiful storage space is to keep those areas empty.<br><br>
Bake bread or cookies. Apparently the smell of freshly baked bread and cookies has a positive effect on potential buyers. And leave some out for potential buyers.<br><br>
Make the entry to your home appealing. You want the house to say "I also look good on the inside." If your curb appeal is low why would anyone even bother coming through the front door? So put some potted plants near the door. Cut the grass. Paint the trim and shutters.<br><br>
Check all of your windows to make sure they open and close easily and aren't squeaky. If not, a spray of WD-40 often helps.
 

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A friend's realtor told her to replace their kitchen table with a smaller one to make the tiny kitchen seem bigger. Sounds silly but it must of helped. After 6 months on the market, it sold within the week! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Hi Amanda! Good luck with your house-sale <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> The market in Vermont is still good (we just bought here) so I bet you will be pleasantly surprised.<br><br>
Everyone has mentioned great tips...here are just a few more that I haven't seen mentioned (I scanned quickly though).<br><br>
My Dad is a realtor and he advised us when we put our house on the market...our house was 30 years old, small, dark and sold quickly at full asking price...even in todays market! So I was happy for his advice.<br><br>
1. You are repainting already, right? Paint EVERYTHING white. Bright bright white. Preferably with gloss paint that will reflect light.<br><br>
Your house can never be too light -- people want houses with a lot of natural light. White walls reflect light and make things brighter looking.<br><br>
White is also totally neutral so they can picture their furniture in your house.<br><br>
2. This has been mentioned before, but it is worth mentioning again -- take half -- HALF -- of your stuff out of your house. Clear out the closets, the cabinets, especially the rooms...sparsely furnished rooms look a LOT bigger than they really are. That is why model homes have small furniture, and not too much of it.<br><br>
Store all your stuff in a storage shed in the back yard, at a friend's house...or even rent a storage shed if you have to. $50 a month for a rental unit is NOTHING compared to having your house languish on the market for months at a time. Pay the $50...get the stuff out. You are moving anyway, so this will be a good headstart on the packing.<br><br>
3. You don't have a baby...but if you did always take the diaper pail OUT of the house. Even if you house doesn't smell at all, people see a diaper pail and think smelly. We got that comment several times during our realty screening (not that our house smelled, but that there should never be a visible diaper pail).<br><br>
Ditto this for kitty litter boxes. Even if is clean enough to eat out of, find another place for kitty and her box before a showing.<br><br>
4. Clear your kitchen counters then shine your sink. Clean it like FlyLady recommends, and wipe it dry with a dish towel. A shiny, dry sink makes a kitchen look SPOTLESS. I don't know why this is, but it works.<br><br>
5. Put the highest wattage bulbs that your lamps will take (this is usually 60 watts for smaller lamps, but can be up to 100 watts for overheads and more expensive lamps) and TURN ON EVERY SINGLE LIGHT IN YOUR HOUSE before a showing. Even if it is the middle of the day and you don't need light to see the rooms. The more lights, the brighter the house and bright is what you want.<br><br>
I had people go through my house and turn the lights off for me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> after they saw the house...but they also made an offer on the house...so go figure. Like I said before, our house was dark and didn't get that much natural light...but with sparkling white walls and every light on in the house it was hard to tell that.<br><br>
Good luck to you!!!
 

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I am starting this process, so all of these tips are very much appreciated. I hope we can sell in the next 3 months because we already have a house in mind to buy and it will be on the market very soon.<br>
Thanks.
 

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We are going crazy to get our house on the market in less than two weeks from now. We aren't doing only free things, but I'll tell you what I'm doing.<br><br>
When we moved in I removed the wallpaper from the living room and DD's bedroom and painted. I have also since painted the kitchen, so I will touch up the paint in all those rooms, get rid of any scuffs, etc.<br><br>
The dining room was the playroom, so we are getting it back to dining room shape. we stripped the wallpaper, repaired the walls and painted. We are going to tear up the carpet to expose the hardwood beneath and I will put my kitchen table in there and a smaller table I have in the kitchen so that the dining room shows well and the kitchen looks bigger.<br><br>
In the living room I'm removing 2 pieces of the section that was in there to make that feel bigger. (We got a POD to store this stuff in). I'm taking down the big pictures of us and leaving just the paintings and one artfully grouped set of pictures that I think looks nice as a wall display.<br><br>
In the office I'm removing the extra furniture and clutter.<br><br>
The downstairs half bath had hideous yellow tile halfway up two walls, an awful sink & medicine cabinet and a yellow toilet. We gutted that last week, I paid someone to put in new wallboard and we installed a new toilet & sink (the flooring was relatively new). Total Cost $550.<br><br>
Our bedroom I had removed the wallpaper but never got aorund to painting, so we'll paint that.<br><br>
The upstairs bath has a blue tub, blue tile throughout halfway up the wall, the awful vanity had replacement cabinet doors, one of which had fallen off, a blue sink, a blue toilet and bad vinyl that was coming up. The shower was originally blue tile but they had a leak or something at some point, so they had repaired the leak with plywood and glued in a new white surround. We couldn't sell it in this condition. We gutted the bathroom lsat night and today I had new tile floor and tile surround for the tub installed. We will have the tub reglazed to a white (its in good condition, just *blue*) and will install a new vanity, toilet & medicine cabinet. Total cost around $3,000.<br><br>
The basement is unfinished, but its walk out so I want buyers to see the potential in it, so we are going to clear out all the boxes and everything stored and put it in the POD, so it will seem much bigger.<br><br>
All in all, given the market and the awful dated condition of the bathrooms, I think the $3500 was well spent updating them and we did the demo work ourselves to save time and the easier things like installing the vanities and toilets. At this point, most of the rooms will be freshly painted, there will be no wallpaper, no dated tile or carpet. The kitchen cabinets are painted with new laminate doors (the previous owners did this) so they aren't ideal, but they aren't bad, they look pretty much like most white laminate cabinets do. So hopefully we'll look pretty good to buyers.
 

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Cookies! I know it sounds like a gimmick... but we put an offer on the first house with food. Thank god it didn't go through. totally wrong for us, but we were first time home buyers... The cookies make it feel like home, plus they keep you in the house for longer. She had also written a note about the neighborhood, ect. It was nice, and it kept us in the house for longer.<br><br>
Also remove religous stuff, sports team stuff, ect. It's really weird to go into a house and see crosses everywhere if you aren't christian, or aggie stuff, if you are a Longhorn fan. It just screams, you don't belong, this is not your house!!!!<br><br>
I also have to disagree about the bright white. Unless your house is really dark, and small, I would go with a (light) tan or brown. It will highlight whatever trim, ect you have.
 

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If your kitchen and bathroom cabinet hardware looks even remotely dated I would change that. That makes such a huge difference. I see that sometimes on those "Sell Your House" shows.
 

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I have 2 weeks until we go on the market. Our house is advertised already. I am so overwhelmed its crazy but I am dealing with more then just a house. Just a house full of clutter would be a wonderful thing from my perspective. We have a house that needs to be finished, barn that cannot be painted until May and looks horrid, cottage stuffed with my old store supplies that needs to be staged, outbuildings stuffed with DH's clutter & equipment, 3-4 feet of snow, horses, cats, dogs, and a 2 yr old who follows behind destroying what I just picked up. And thats the tip of the iceberg.<br><br>
If you have HGTV spend some time watching the Secrets That Sell & Buy Me (I might have that second name wrong but its close). The first show has a realtor mom & daughter who go through houses and tell people what to change in order to show their homes at their best. The second is a show showing sellers getting ready and trying to sell and you see a lot of mistakes they make. Oh and then there is that show where people come in and help the owners clean up and get the house "staged" for under $2000. Lots of tips on that one.<br><br>
Really make sure each space is used as it should be used. Even if you do not use it that way. Think about what most people would use a space for. For example if that spare bedroom is a catch all then clean up and make it a bedroom.<br><br>
In my experience selling & buying & what my husband sees daily at work - 90% of people cannot see beyond a badly decorated house. They cannot see that the plumbing is all brand new, they only see the ugly purple carpet. When you watch HGTV shows you can see some of this. People walking through and commenting on decor. There is a house in the town we are moving too. Its been on the market for 18 months. Price drops all the time. Nice simple cape on 6 acres with full finished basement. In a really good location. Then you see the interior shots. Think bad 1980's, dark green everywhere. And it was built 6 years ago. I have spoken to realtors and they all agree if the homeowners updated the inside, or even just emptied it, it would sell.<br><br>
Pay close attention to how furniture sits in a room. Try moving furniture around. We looked at one house and the agents moved a couch around in a living room. The effect was dramatic. (owners had moved, house only had a few basic items left in it)<br><br>
Oh and another thing. Make sure you are true to the house and the type of buyer you need. Pay attention to the agent too. I spoke to a local agent who has been around a while. I know her well and respect her. Her specialty is single family older (antique) homes. She said the cats had to go. Find them a home somewhere. Better yet stage the house and move out with the critters & kids. We then spoke to an agent for farms. Thats all she sells. She said take the dogs out for a showing, keep the cat boxes spotless and as hidden as possible, horse stalls clean etc. But she said the people looking at her houses all have animals and are animal people. They are looking for different things and would rather see the animals, most important the barn being used and horses in the field, then not. She has a point. We ended up using her because her standard advertising hits the buyers we want. Whereas the other agent, while very good, is used to a different group of buyers that expected the home to be kept differently. And she was clueless where to advertise for us.<br><br>
I hope this all makes sense <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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You need to show your home like it's a new build model home. I would suggest you even tour some models yourself and take notes.<br><br>
1. Paint, which everyone has already covered. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
2. Clean everything.<br><br>
3. Take about half your stuff, and pack it up and get it out of the view of home shoppers. Even if you don't think it's clutter, it is. Take down all personal photos.<br><br>
4. Let in lots of light. The #1 complaint I hear on "Sell This House" is "It's so dark in here!" Open up window dressings (sheers are good), paint in light colors (but not just white), bring plenty of lighting into rooms.<br><br>
5. Animals - even animal lovers do not want to smell Fido and Fifi.<br><br>
6. Staging - set up your home so that potential buyers will walk in, see your lovely set table and think, "Oh, I want to eat in this dining room" or see your bathroom with lovely fluffy towels and think, "I want to sink into that tub and dry off with fluffy towels!"
 
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