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Business :: Real Estate :: Hawaii Home Help :: Home Sale Price Boosters: 10 Free or Cheap Tips

Home Sale Price Boosters: 10 Free or Cheap Tips

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green door

Need to sell for the most money? You are not alone. Maybe you are moving to another state for a job or retirement, downsizing near home, or you are simply ready for a change.

The facts are clear. Prices have come down, and homes are taking longer to sell. Buyers are picky, and they are in no hurry. Mortgage lenders and appraisers are conservative. IDon't get mad,get even! f you want to sell, you need to make more effort than ever before to get the best price.  Take the needed steps to attract buyers and get what your home’s worth – or prepare to sell at a big discount.

front needs help

So when your job, family, or personal circumstances make selling necessary, consider these simple and cheap tricks to have a faster smoother sale at the best price. Make your home shine like a jewel prior to letting a buyer get near it. Even in a hot market, studies show that buyers decide whether they are interested in your home within less than a minute after stepping inside the door.

Check out these easy fixes to get them in the door and create the interest that will lead to SOLD:

1.  Paint the Front Door-  Cost: $20 and up
First impressions can add or subtract thousands from market value!  A freshly painted front door and perhaps new address numbers are a cheap and effective to give your home a lift. Consider a contrasting color for some punch. Plain white paint can look unfinished, sort of like primer without the final coat. Add a new tasteful door mat while you are at it.

Blue Door

Test the appearance by driving past your home,  as if you have never seen it before. Hard to do, but that’s why you need the advice of an experienced Realtor. You might not see it the way a buyer will. Is there junk lying around? Unless you create appeal here you can forget about getting the best price.

2. Close the garage door - Cost:  Free
If you have one, make sure the garage door is closed. If you don’t have one, de-junk your carport ASAP! Put away all unsightly items in the carport and in front of your home so there is room for cars.  Move those rolling garbage cans out of sight as much as possible. 

Carport mess

Save the best parking for your customers – the future buyers.  If you need to, put your own vehicles down the street and ask your neighbors to help you keep the street in front free for showings and Open House parking.  One if my pet peeves is lazy Realtors who park their own BMW in the prime parking spot, forcing potential buyers to hunt for a space down the street. 

Too many cars

3. Porch and Lanai Beauty  - Cost:  Free - $200
If you have one, make your lanai look like an oasis to relax, eat, or read outside. Get rid of any stored items, boxes, toys, etc and set the stage here for the appearance of a relaxing lifestyle. Even a small space might be able to fit a little bistro table and a couple of chairs. Add a potted plant and you have created another room that will add dollars to your home’s value. If you have the space, an inexpensive rug or lauhala mat will define this area as an outdoor living room.  Isn’t that one of the joys of living in Hawaii?

lovely patio

4. No Shoes! Cost: Free
Put away all the slippers and shoes from the doorways.  If there is room, store them in a cabinet, or in an attractive basket. You really don’t need more than one pair of slippers or shoes by the door per family member- all the extras should go elsewhere. Place some plants or flowers if you want to add value and appeal for minimal cost. Even in a condo you may be able to place a few bright pots of flowers near the entry.

shoes at door

5.  Clear off the counters - Cost:  Free
The kitchen is the heart of your home, but when that home is on the market, you need to adjust your lifestyle to get the best price. The kitchen counters should be free of pots and pans, dish racks, and food that won’t fit in the cupboards. Ditto vitamins, spices, utensils, and your medications. These items are very distracting and give the impression that there is a shortage of cupboard space. (That may be true, but do you want that to be the first thing buyers notice?)
In the bathroom, all makeup, toiletries, shaving items, toothpaste etc should be tucked away.  Likewise personal items and other unmentionables, if you catch my drift.  If it’s something you don’t want to be seen in a marketing photo, put it away. It’s fine to have a clean attractive toothbrush holder and few bottles of cologne, of course.   Try to get into the habit of keeping things tucked away so you will be ready for short-notice showings.

clear counters

6. Toss, Donate,  or Store - Cost: Free to $100/month
You are planning on moving, right? So each of your possessions will have to be moved, donated, or thrown out. Decide now and start acting on it.  If you have old beat-up furniture that will not be taken to your next home, get rid of it now. Make sure your rooms are not overstuffed with furniture that is too large or too many pieces.

Are your closets packed with too many things that are broken, out of date, or no longer wanted? Put unneeded items into storage now if you want to keep them. Many of us are used to living with cluttered rooms and narrow passages through all our stuff. Unless you want to sell at a big discount, you need to change that now, before you sell.

stuffed kids room

If you have been living in your home for many years, or you are helping a pack-rat relative get their home ready to sell, consider renting a dumpster for an easier way to deal with a seriously junk-filled home. Nonprofit agencies need your usable items. I can give you a list of charities that accept certain items but not others to save you time – just ask me:

purple dumpster

7.  Open Doors and Windows - Cost: Free to cheap
If cabinets or closet doors don’t operate properly, get them fixed. Lubricate jalousies, and vacuum gunk out of sliding door and window runners.  Doors, locks, and windows should be easy to open and close. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closed sale. All these details can either keep a sale going forward or kill it after the home inspection. The choice is yours. Now is a good time to clean windows and screens, too.

8.  New bathroom vanity- Cost: $200 - $1000
 New bathroom vanities are a cheap way to give that remodeled look. You can buy them from $200 and up at any hardware store, and some include a sink and counter already built in. There is no excuse to sacrifice thousands of dollars off your sale price for a relatively easy job like this. Measure carefully before you buy, and its best to hire an experienced professional to install it. 

Be sure to get one with a few storage drawers, as no one likes to put their toiletries under the sink with the toilet plunger!
While you are at it, scrub all the tile, tubs, and counters. Replace moldy or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers. And keep the toilet seat and lid down, please! Display your best towels, mats and shower curtains and add one or two coordinating decorative items such as flowers, baskets, or pictures. Yes, it’s a hassle but it’s worth it to make the best sale.

9.  Let It Shine! Cost - $10 &  up
Make sure you have enough light from natural sources and light fixtures. Replace any missing bulbs, as well as broken light fixtures, dingy switch plates, and faulty outlets. Clear bulbs, not frosted, are good in fixtures where there is a cover over the bulb. These give more light for the same wattage.

bright bath

When you show your home to buyers, turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights. Lights add color and warmth, and make prospects feel welcome.  Open the blinds and drapes so prospects can see your bright and cheery home.

10.  Get Lost! Cost: FREE
Nobody knows your home as well as you do, but you should keep a low profile when buyers come to view your home. Your real estate professional knows how to show your home to its best advantage. Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter a home while the owner is there. Rather than giving your house the attention it deserves, they're likely to hurry through.

Get Lost

Step outside or run an errand when the buyers arrive, or take the dog for walk. If you need to be home, resist the urge to give a running commentary on all of the features of your home and why you are selling (or put a piece of duct tape over your mouth!). When prospects want to talk price, terms, or other real estate matters, let them speak to an expert - your Realtor. This preserves your privacy as well as your negotiating strength.

You Need Help!
It helps to select a Realtor with experience and experience and success in “staging” homes for sale, and give you specific suggestions tailored to your home and your needs. The right planning makes all the difference in the sale price, the hassles along the way, and the final outcome when you sell your home. There are more selling tips to checkout at

These are general recommendations based on my experiences and opinions, and every home and each situation is different. No one can do 100% but most of us can do some of these simple things to have a successful and advantageous home sale in any market.

 Copyright 2009 Stephanie Gieseler, Honolulu, Hawaii. All rights reserved. Inquire at

garbage cans

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