Preparing to sell your home is a big task. And even if it’s a seller’s market and homes are flying off the shelves, this doesn’t mean yours is guaranteed a quick sale. In fact, a home in need of some TLC may find itself sitting on the market longer than other homes in its area, which could make buyers think differently about the value of your home. To ensure your house stands out and attracts as many buyers as possible, you’ll need to consider what homebuyers are looking for in 2021 and make sure you know when the best time to sell a home is.
With so many changes over the last year, home features that were once just nice-to-haves have now become must-haves for buyers. Features like home offices, beautiful kitchens, and move-in ready homes can’t be overlooked. So, how do you make yours stand out in the 2021 housing market? By taking all the right steps when preparing to sell your home – from necessary home upgrades to stunning listing photos.
“Must-haves” to make your home the most attractive house on the market
Eye-catching curb appeal
Making a great first impression begins with the exterior of your home, and beautiful curb appeal is key. Having a well-manicured lawn and freshly-planted flowers can make all the difference. Lush landscaping will catch a buyer’s eye and certainly leave a lasting impression.
Many people will continue to work from home in 2021 and beyond, making a home office an essential feature for homebuyers today. When preparing to sell your home, take the time to spruce up your home office area and make it a primary feature when showcasing your home. If your house doesn’t have a designated office space, you can always stage a spare room or empty area as a home office. If possible, choose a space where natural light pours in.
Outdoor space that’s perfect for entertaining
With all the time spent at home over the last year, it’s no surprise that having an outdoor oasis is more desirable than ever. As you’re preparing to sell your home, put in the effort to make your backyard a “usable” space and a place where potential buyers can envision themselves spending time in. Homebuyers want backyards with outdoor dining areas and other amenities, such as a deck, pool, or firepit. But even if you live in a condo in Chicago and only have a small patio, add a couple of cozy chairs, a small table, and hang string lights across the top to help make your backyard space pop.
Updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances
If your kitchen looks outdated or lacks desired features, like stainless steel appliances, there’s a good chance your house could sit on the market longer than you’d like. Opt for a sleek and modern look in your kitchen by adding a fresh coat of paint, matte black or gold hardware, and luxurious statement lighting. If your budget allows, update your honey-toned cabinets to a neutral hue and replace outdated countertops with a sleek granite or quartz countertop. If you’re only taking on a few home projects before selling your home, make updating or remodeling the kitchen a priority.
Neutral color palette
Bold or outdated wall colors can be off-putting to potential buyers. Play it safe by sticking to a neutral color palette when freshening up your paint. However, if you’re planning on incorporating color through decor or furniture, be sure you’re selective and not overdoing it. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in your home, and having distracting colors can make this difficult.
Your home is move-in ready
In 2021, buyers are looking for homes that are move-in ready. They don’t want to dedicate the time or resources to update a home in need of a new kitchen or major bathroom upgrades. When a house is move-in ready, there’s typically less maintenance issues and unexpected costs to worry about.
As you’re preparing to sell your home, replace these home features as soon as possible
There’s a handful of features that will show your home’s age – and not in a “historically charming” kind of way. Popcorn ceilings are an immediate giveaway of your home’s age and let’s face it, buyers will be turned off by the thought of needing to get it removed on their own time and dime. Do yourself and potential buyers a favor and add ‘hiring a professional to remove your popcorn ceilings’ to your checklist.
Carpet all throughout your home
While there’s nothing wrong with having carpet in your home, having carpet in every room of your house can make it feel outdated. Homebuyers want hardwood floors, which are actually one of the top 10 most valuable features in homes for sale across the US. So it’s in your best interest to upgrade some – if not all – of your flooring from carpet to hardwood.
Even though they may have been a popular choice in the 70s, wood paneling on the walls is no longer an attractive feature for most buyers in 2021. Although removing the panels is ideal, if you have too many tasks on your plate as you’re preparing to sell your home, there are simpler ways to update this outdated look. Painting over the panels with a neutral color or using wallpaper to cover them up are budget-friendly options to give wood-paneled walls a much-needed refresh.
Making sure that your home attracts buyers goes beyond home upgrades, here’s what else you need
Professional photography is an absolute must
Making your home the most attractive house on the market goes beyond home improvements – it needs to stand out online, especially as more people are looking at homes in other cities and even other states. If your listing showcases dark, blurry, or distorted photos, chances are your home won’t attract many potential buyers, even in a seller’s market. This is why professional real estate photos are essential when preparing to sell your home – they help your home sell faster and for more.
Tip: Make sure the main cover photo stands out. You want potential buyers to be so enticed by the cover photo that it makes them want to see more. This means that choosing an exterior photo isn’t always the best option if you have a beautifully remodeled kitchen or your living room staging looks like a feature in Architectural Digest.
A listing description that sells
Your real estate agent will guide you through the home selling process and be the one responsible for writing your listing description. Your description should accurately reflect your home, while also highlighting its best features – especially the new upgrades you’ve made. When it comes to listing descriptions, the more interesting they are to read, the better. The goal is to make potential buyers both excited and wanting more.