Selling Your House? Here Are Some Quick Frugal Tips To Get It Ready To List

Whether you’re getting ready to sell or rent your current house, we have some low-cost quick fixes that will make sure it shines when that first potential buyer or renter comes knocking.  

A few years ago when we were under contract to buy a house we couldn’t comfortably afford, we were gearing up to rent our current home. Even though we were planning on renting out our house, we were still getting it ready – the same as we would if we were planning to sell it. Therefore, this post holds true for those gearing up for the upcoming house selling season.

Curb Appeal

Ever hear of first impressions? They hold true for houses, too. A potential buyer will make up their mind about the state of your home before they even set one foot inside the front door.

Last year when we were getting our house ready to rent, we made sure everything outside looked good and was in working order. I had noticed that there was a painted trim piece of wood around the garage that had started to chip. One day, we got out the ladder, a piece of sandpaper, and some touch-up paint. Within an hour, it looked like the day we bought it.

I had also noticed that there were some spots of our fence where the stain had started to wear off. Thankfully, I was resourceful enough to keep the leftover stain from the initial staining of the fence. We were able to take a paint brush and spot stain the areas where we could see some wear. Voila, after another hour, the fence looked good as new.

As you can see, these things typically don’t take too long as long as you have kept up the major maintenance on your home throughout the years.

Little things you’ll want to do:

-All outdoor light fixtures are in working order

-Weed the gardens

-Cut and trim the lawn

-Driveway and sidewalks clear of debris

-All trash cans and bags are out of sight

Related: How I Almost Committed Financial Suicide

The Front Door

front-door

Fresh paint and new hardware

Speaking of the front door – make sure the actual entrance is clean, appealing, and makes someone want to turn the knob. The porch area should be free of debris, plants shouldn’t be wilting, and paint shouldn’t be peeling. These are all quick fixes that anyone can make on a budget to enhance the appeal of their home.

One of the best bangs for your hard-earned buck is paint. The front door is no exception. Stand back and take it in. Is your front door the right color? Is it inviting? Does it work with the rest of the exterior of your home? If not, change it. For the cost of a can of paint, you can transform the focal point of your home and completely change someone’s attitude about your property. It could literally be the difference between a sale or not. Last but not least, add some new hardware. If you can’t afford new hardware, shine up the hardware you already have. Appearance is everything.

Related: Why We Love Being At Home

Mechanicals

You’ll want to make sure that all the mechanicals of your home have been maintained and are working properly. You don’t want someone hitting the garage door button and nothing happening, or worse, turning on a light switch that doesn’t work.

If possible, you’ll want to make sure you have some documents proving recent maintenance for the big stuff, like the HVAC system.

Clear The Clutter

basement-12

Clear the clutter – even in the basement

This is an easy one. Just like you want to make sure the exterior of your home, lawn, and gardens are in tip-top shape, you want to make sure the interior has the same maintained look. Got lots of stuff on your kitchen counters? Clearing that out will showcase the amount of counter space there is and allow home buyers to envision their own custom stamp. Do you have a playroom or office that is bursting at the seams? Again, clean it up and organize things into boxes and bins. The more organized and clutter-free you can make your house feel, the more maintained it feels to a buyer and the easier it is for them to imagine their family living in the same space.

Fortunately for us, we’re frugal minimalists, so we didn’t have too much clutter to clear, with the exception of the basement. The basement was our dirty little secret. This is what it looked like before we threw almost everything away and transformed it into our family room. Did I mention we never actually moved? We’re getting to that.

Related: We Made Our Dream Home A Reality

Stage It!

basement-11

New lighting

If you’re unsure about how to stage your home to sell, just check out a few episodes of any show on HGTV. Before quitting cable, I think I watched every episode of every show they ever aired. However, that level of obsession is not required to stage your home to sell! All you need are a few key pieces that will set your house apart from the pack.

If HGTV isn’t helping and you’re still unsure of what to do, check online or go in person to higher-priced homes in your area to see how they’re being staged. And then, copy it.

Have an interesting pillow? Make it a centerpiece in the family room. Have a custom table? Make sure potential buyers can’t help but to see it. Roll towels up in the bathroom and drape throw blankets over the end of beds – this gives your home a retreat/spa feel that will be sure to make people feel like they are in a special space.

If you’re feeling really ambitious and you have a few bucks, you could consider updating some fixtures. Matching light switches and plates, updated lighting, or new faucet fixtures can bring a home into the modern age overnight. And if you install these things yourself, it’s a huge savings. We did all of the above with the help of YouTube. 🙂

Clean It

This might seem obvious but it still warrants a mention. Above of else, if you have no extra money to paint a wall or upgrade a single fixture, Clean Your House. Shampoo the carpets, dust the furniture, make sure everything is in its place. If a potential buyer walks in and feels as if there has been pride in ownership, they will not question whether or not the home has been maintained otherwise.

What Happened With Our House?

Ultimately, we decided to cancel our contract to purchase that big house in order to focus our efforts on building wealth rather than keeping up with The Joneses. We’re currently living happily ever after in the house we already had. So much for all that prep work we did, but hey, it made our house look fantastic in a matter of a few hours!

Are you planning on selling your house? Or have you recently sold a house? Do you have tips on getting it ready to list? If so, we’d love to hear them in the comments section.

ember

Mad Money Cat isn’t selling

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Lisa is the creator and resident writer at Mad Money Monster. She's a mother, scientist, and financial guru on a mission to save Generation X from working until they die!

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12 comments… add one
  • JUsT Us Mar 2, 2017, 3:35 pm

    There is no replacement for a little elbow grease and some time invested!
    One of the best “bang for the buck” tricks I have for when you don’t have the time or paint funds to paint the whole room – paint the trim! Just hitting the moulding with a fresh coat of paint makes a huge difference!

    Great article! I just went out front and gave the front of this place the Critical Eye… I need to mow and touch up the garage door! Thanks for the prod in the right direction! 🙂

  • Kate Feb 28, 2017, 4:16 pm

    The best part about these tips is that they’re great to do even if you aren’t selling your house. All are simple and will increase your enjoyment of the house while you’re still there.

    I know there are a few minor things that drive me crazy every time I walk by so it’s probably a good idea to spend a few hours taking care of them and just be done with it!

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 28, 2017, 4:39 pm

      It’s true. There are so many little things that can make such a huge collective difference – even if you’re not selling 🙂

  • Alli Rosenblum Feb 28, 2017, 1:35 pm

    Love this post! Not selling yet but will be selling my boyfriends house in about 2 years so I’ll need to bookmark this post!

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 28, 2017, 1:41 pm

      Thanks! It really is pretty easy to make a house shine when you’re putting it on the market 🙂

  • Route To Retire Feb 27, 2017, 7:12 pm

    Man, I really hate painting! 🙂

    Great tips for getting a house ready to sell. If we bail on the whole Panama idea, we’ll probably downsize our house later this year. Definitely not looking forward to the selling part, but I’ll be using your tips to get things ready if we do!

    Nice job on sticking with your house… it’s time to get out of this rat race already!

    — Jim

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 28, 2017, 9:05 am

      Exactly! The biggest part of our FIRE plan was to stay in our smaller home. And I share your sentiment about painting. I hate it. But I’m good at it and it’s cheap. Blah!

  • Dan Palmer Feb 27, 2017, 10:47 am

    Clearing the clutter definitely had the best ROI- it’s free, and might even earn you some side cash if you list your clutter on eBay.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 28, 2017, 9:08 am

      Absolutely! We sold some stuff on Craigslist and de-cluttered at the same time! 🙂

  • Erik @ The Mastermind Within Feb 27, 2017, 7:28 am

    Cleaning and paint I think have 2 of the biggest impacts. I’ve moved a few times in my life, and every time I go into a new place, I notice the floors and the walls. If the floors are nasty, it’s a no-go!

    Thanks for the share – have a good one

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 27, 2017, 6:47 pm

      Yep! The place has gotta be clean or everything else doesn’t matter. Good call.

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