Real Estate Selling

Brokers Reveal 7 “Works Every Time” Ways to Boost Home Resale Value

Whether you're looking to relocate, retire, downsize, or upsize, the process of selling your home can create a long and wild to-do list. But putting your place on the market doesn’t need to include overhauling the entire structure—in fact, the most important changes don’t involve additions at all. Before you start scheduling open houses, pick and choose the projects that will get you the most bang for your buck. Read on for what improvements real estate insiders say consistently win over buyers and boost your home’s resale value.

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Ready, Set, Declutter

Before you do anything, ditch the clutter, says Lynda Cox, a realtor based in Atlanta, Georgia. Cleaning house sets the seller up to move and removes any distractions from the potential buyer’s visit. Leave no room unturned, including spaces that guests might not normally peek into: the closets, garages, attics, and basements.

Remove Yourselves 

Next, style the home in a way that lets buyers envision their own families living there. Take down all the invites and reminders from the fridge, swap hanging family portraits for art, and hide any children’s art on display. “Basically, the seller should remove themselves from the house,” Cox says. “Seeing other people’s personal items makes this harder for the buyer to imagine himself in the place.”

Neutralize Out-of-Place Odors 

Bad odors can disrupt your open house, so it’s best to eliminate any offenders before visitors arrive. “But the seller may not always notice these smells in their own home,” Cox says, “so they should ask a friend or agent for their opinions.” Neutralize the problem area rather than covering it up, as a smelly air freshener can tip off a prospect that there’s something to hide.

Amp Up Curb Appeal 

Your home’s exterior is the first—and last—impression to anyone who drops by. Make it memorable with a spotlessly clean look. Wash the front door of any scuffs. Check that there are no signs of bugs, either in cobweb form or dead in the globe of an outdoor light fixture. Finally, sweep the sidewalk, steps, and porch.

Related: 10 Simple “Under $60” Curb Appeal Updates for Any Home

Address a Sticky Front Door 

Beyond just appearing pristine, the actual entrance to your home should be smooth. The opening of the front door is like the house’s handshake. To prevent any extra moments spent fiddling with a sticky key, Cox suggests spraying graphite in a front door keyhole. “If it’s hard to open the front door, it can lead buyers to wonder what else hasn’t been cared for around the house.”

Invest in the Kitchen 

If you’re considering giving any part of the house a facelift, turn your attention to the kitchen. “It’s the spot that will give you the most bang for your buck,” says Amy Wilson, a realtor in Asheville, North Carolina. Just updating the tile backsplash dramatically enhances the appearance of the full room, often brightening the space and occasionally bringing in a burst of color.

Floor It 

“If you have the cash leftover to update the flooring, do it,” Wilson encourages. Fortunately, there affordable engineered floors on the market that add class and guarantee easy installation, to boot. If you already have hardwood floors, sand and refinish them to give the home a truly polished look. And absolutely make sure to rip out any old, stained carpet rather than forcing potential buyers to imagine the potential.

RelatedProject Guide: Refinishing Hardwood Floors