You’ve probably heard the adage “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Well, it’s just as relevant when you’re selling your house. If buyers don’t like what they see from the curb, chances are, they won’t be back. And since an open house is your chance to showcase your home — and all its attributes — to many buyers at once, you definitely want to make sure it’s looking its best. “An open house is all about exposure, getting people to talk about it and tell their friends,” says Marisa Menzel, real estate agent with Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Alpine, NJ. “You want buyers to have a good feeling about the house before they even walk in the door.” The best part? Getting your home for sale in Chicago, IL, open-house ready doesn’t have to cost a fortune. These tips can make a huge impact for under $1,000.
1. Paint (parts of) the exterior
We’re not talking the whole house here, but slapping a fresh coat of paint on your front door — or anywhere the paint is flaking or could use a touch-up, like garage doors or trim — instantly upgrades your home’s exterior. “If you have a ratty screen door, replace that as well,” advises Menzel. “A new door knocker and new house numbers are a good idea as well. You want people to easily find the house.”
2. Kick up your kitchen
“Buyers love stainless steel appliances,” says Menzel. “You almost always see that highlighted in a listing.” If you have an old stove or dishwasher, swap it out for a stainless steel model. Updating light fixtures, replacing old cabinet hardware, or painting older cabinets white also makes your kitchen appear fresh and new without breaking the bank.
Read More: 6 Mistakes Buyers Make In A Seller’s Market
3. Replace the vanity in your bathroom
If you have a powder room that hasn’t been updated, replace the vanity with a newer model. “You can easily do this for under $1,000, and it makes a big difference,” says Menzel. Add new hand towels, a rug, and a shower curtain to complete the “renovation.”
4. Slipcover furniture that has seen better days
If your couch is looking a little threadbare or stained, but you aren’t ready to replace it just yet, buy a slipcover in a neutral shade to hide the imperfections. (Then forbid your family from sitting on it until after the open house!)
5. Make your bedroom feel like a hotel suite
“You want to create a serene feeling,” says Menzel. So that means corralling all the clutter (books on the nightstand, accessories on the dresser), storing extra pieces of furniture (like that treadmill that doubles as a clothes hanger), and cleaning off bathroom counters. If your duvet cover is old, consider buying a new one in a neutral shade and adding fresh accent pillows.
6. Freshen up your walls and floors
If you have hardwood floors, get them professionally polished before your open house. If you have carpeting, get it professionally steamed before potential buyers come calling. And while you’re at it, give your walls a once-over and wipe away any scuff marks. If a new paint job is necessary, consider a neutral shade or a paint color that will make your space feel larger and brighter.
7. Perk up your patio
Add potted plants or flowers for a burst of color and toss any broken outdoor furniture, says Menzel. Outdoor accent pillows are an inexpensive upgrade for loungers and chairs. If it’s summer, or you live in a warm climate, set the table too. “This way, buyers can imagine themselves eating a meal on the patio or deck,” says Menzel. Sold!