10 ways to improve your property before selling and downsizing

You may have been living in your family home for years before you begin to think about downsizing. You have become so used to your surroundings that you no longer see your home in the same way as first time viewers will see it. Looking at it with fresh eyes and making some simple improvements can make a difference to its value. When potential buyers are looking at homes in your neighbourhood, you want your home to be the one that stands out for all the right reasons.

1. First impressions count

Make sure that your front garden looks its best – mow your lawn,  clean up beds, trim back hedges and sweep pathways. Stand outside your front gate and take a good look at your home.  What will someone who comes to view your home see first? Look at your front door and see whether it would be improved with a coat of paint or a wood stain. Even changing a door knob can help – a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set makes your home look more solid and secure. A couple of pots with colourful plants can really make a difference.


The entrance hall is also important as part of that first impression. You don’t want viewers to be confronted with piles of coats, umbrellas and shoes as they come in the front door. Tidy up all unnecessary clutter and make the entrance as welcoming as possible. A long, full length mirror in the hallway can make a typically narrow area appear larger and lighter.

2. Invite a realtor to look at your home

Sometimes when you have lived in a house for a long time, you become blind to its virtues and its flaws. It is helpful to see it through the eyes of another person. A realtor can help you to save you money by preventing you from making upgrades to your home that may be unnecessary from a buyer’s perspective.  You will get a better idea of what buyers are looking for in your area.

2. Declutter and clean up your living areas

It may sound obvious that you need to declutter and clean but doing so is the simplest way to make a difference. Make sure that curtains are fully open, allowing as much light in as possible. Tables and chairs should be free of clutter. Visual space counts to buyers and clutter immediately makes a room look smaller. During the years when you are raising children, objects have a tendency to accumulate in all the rooms – souvenirs, stacks of books and too many personal objects may get in the way of the buyer seeing the potential of the space.

Hiring a cleaner to give your home a thorough deep clean will really help it to shine. You can also give some attention to small details yourself such as getting rid of any marks on skirting boards and light switches, polishing faucets and making mirrors shine. A bit of shine is the best way to give a home an instant facelift.

3. Revamp your lighting

Paying attention to lighting is a great way to enhance a home’s appeal.  No buyer wants a home that’s dark and dingy. If you have old light fittings and unfashionable lamp shades, it is worthwhile changing them. Ceiling fixtures in a home you have lived in for many years are often dated and replacing them is a smart move. Think about installing some down-lights which are effective in most homes.  These days it’s also important to consider the energy efficiency of the lighting in a home. You can buy a 16-pack of Philips 461129 60 Watt Equivalent Soft White A19 LED Light Bulbs,  for only  $2.01 per bulb on Amazon.

Adding an eye-catching chandelier or two is a more costly way to add impact.

Pryor pendantPryor Pendant
from: Maison XXIV LLC

Trieste chandelier

Trieste Small Chandelier
from: Maison XXIV LLC

4. Take a look at your flooring

Funnily enough,  the floor is often one of the first things that buyers look at when they go into a home. If your rooms have carpets, having them professionally cleaned is essential. Smelly, dirty carpets will assault the senses of buyers and prevent them from seeing the good aspects of a room. If your carpet is showing some signs of wear, a simple fix is to cover the worst areas with rugs. Most estate agents do not regard it as necessary to replace carpets before selling but if they are really ancient and unsightly, it may be a good idea. Alternatively,  you could consider doing away with the carpeting and putting in laminated wood floors that are popular with most buyers and easy to care for.

Damask area rug

5. Add to your storage

Storage adds value to any home.  Add a freestanding closet or some extra shelving in any room that’s lacking in storage. Think about innovative storage solutions that will help you to make the most of space in bathrooms and kitchens. You can also do a great deal to improve existing closet space by buying organizers. The ClosetMaid ShelfTrack Closet Organizer available on Amazon is a  kit that includes wire shelving, brackets, closet rods, support rod, and all of the hardware for an easy installation.

closet organizer

6. Freshen up your bathrooms

A bathroom is one of the most important rooms to a buyer but it is also one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. Before you go crazy renovating with new toilets, showers, tubs and cabinets, there are some simple ways to make sure your bathroom is in proper working order and fresh in appearance.  Clean grout and remove any rust stains, replace chipped tiles, update cabinet handles and replace faucets. The Eyekepper Modern Single Handle Waterfall Bathroom Sink Faucet with chrome finish is a bestseller on Amazon. Installing a low-flush toilet is a good investment but even buying a new toilet seat can make a difference.

eyekepper faucet

7. Make your kitchen sizzle

In the kitchen, make sure it’s tidy and well organized by clearing surfaces of too many gadgets. Make sure all the shelves, racks and display cabinets are tidy and aesthetically arranged. A display of a few cookbooks on a counter is appealing.  You do not need to replace all your appliances – just make sure they are in good working order. It’s easy for sellers to go overboard with fancy granite tops and all new modern appliances that elevate the price of the home.

It pays to get creative with your current cabinetry. These days, many companies offer to revamp your kitchen cabinets by refinishing the cabinet boxes and adding new doors. If you are fond of DIY, you can even do this yourself but ordering your own replacement doors and installing them. Some people successfully paint their cabinet doors, add new handles and benefit from a new look at a minimal cost.  Just make sure it’s done properly if you do it yourself. By a 25 pack of Cosmas 305-030SN Satin Nickel Cabinet Hardware Euro Style Bar Handle Pulls on Amazon for only $42.99.

Cosmos cabinet pull

8. Paint

Painting is a relatively inexpensive way to freshen up your home. You may have painted a few walls in bold colours over the years or added some wallpapers that are no longer fashionable. Painting all the walls in neutral colours is the way to go, according to most estate agents. It’s worth the effort as buyers want to be able to project their own ideas onto a space. Of course buyers are also looking for character and if it’s too bland it will simply be boring.  My advice would be to avoid anything too outlandish and stick to soft colours that suit the particular style of the home.

paint swatches

9. Check your plumbing and electricity

Investing in maintenance and repairs saves money in the long run and could also be crucial to a sale. Hire an electrician and a plumber to come in and inspect your home before you put it on the market. Water leaks, faulty or loose wiring and other issues with your electricity and plumbing can really affect its value. You don’t want to give buyers the impression that the home has not been looked after.

10. Landscaping

Buyers will always respond to an attractive garden. Your yard is often a good indicator of how much effort has been put into the property and a messy or boring garden is not a good advertisement.  Investing in some new shrubs, paving, mulch and ground cover can really freshen up a yard and make it more inviting. Help the buyers to imagine themselves spending time outdoors by creating outdoor seating areas.   You can always hire a professional landscaper if you are daunted by the task.

outdoor seating

A last word

Our senses can play a big part when it comes to our impression of a home. If a home is messy, cluttered and smells of cat urine or worse, it will probably take a long time to sell. A home that is clean, fresh and well maintained is another proposition altogether. It’s not necessary to go overboard when fixing up a home to sell it.  It’s often simple fixes that work together to make it appealing to the buyer. Help them to imagine themselves living comfortably in your home and it shouldn’t take long to sell.




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