10 Quick, Easy, & Cheap Home Sale Tips

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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Most sellers have a common goal in mind and that is to get top dollar for their home in the shortest possible amount of time.  Whenever possible, we like to have our potential seller give us a quick 15-20 minute initial walk thru of their home.  This gives us an opportunity to get a feel for the floor plan/layout, see what updates have been done (or not done), and check the ages on the mechanical’s and the “big ticket” items (i.e. hot water heater, furnace, a/c unit, roof).  Most importantly it gives us an opportunity to give tips or suggestions to the seller that will make their home more salable keeping in mind that most sellers don’t want to spend a fortune updating or fixing a home they will soon not own.  The phrase we like to use when giving suggestions is “don’t put a nickel in unless you’re going to get a dime out.”  

Below are ten of what we think are the quickest, easiest, and cheapest tips to help get a seller top dollar in the shortest possible amount of time for their home!

Fresh Paint

Tip - Stick to neutral or earth tone colors when choosing a fresh paint color!

Tip – Stick to neutral or earth tone colors when choosing a fresh paint color!

It’s incredible what a fresh coat of paint can do to a room.  It not only makes the room feel “clean” but also can brighten a room and make it feel larger.  When selecting colors for a room think to yourself, what would the majority of buyers prefer.  The safest bet would be selecting a very neutral color like a beige or off white.  It makes it extremely easy for the buyer of your home to paint over with the color of their choice.  If you aren’t a neutral color type of person and want to select something a bit more bold, then we suggest selecting earth tone colors.  We’re finding that the trend with today’s buyers prefer earth tone colors, such as browns, tans, warm grays, and greens.

Clean Carpets and/or Floors
Who doesn’t like the smell of a new car or freshly cleaned laundry?  The cleaning of your carpet and/or floors makes a great first impression.  This is especially true for homeowners who have pets and carpet.  Don’t let that “wet dog” smell turn potential buyers away!  Another turnoff is cigarette smoke odors.  Buyers will walk into a home and turn right around if the odor in a home is unpleasant.  Take the time to steam clean your own carpets or hire a company to do it.  It’s relatively inexpensive and will be worth it!

Remove Outdated Wallpaper
Wallpaper is out!  There’s no beating around the bush with that fact.  Again, the trend among the majority of buyers are preferring painted walls versus wallpaper.  If you can do it yourself it is essentially free (minus your time & effort).  Removing wallpaper is relatively easy if done properly while using the correct products.  Here are some tips for removing wallpaper and also some wallpaper removal products that work well.  Wallpaper removal equipment can also be rented very reasonably and works wonders in the removal process.

Inspect Home Before Listing

Tip - When possible, have a home inspection before listing.

Tip – When possible, have a home inspection before listing.

When at all possible, hire a licensed home inspector before selling.  A good real estate agent can advise you whether this might be a good option, but should be considered on a case by case basis.  A good home inspector will look at your home from top to bottom and provide a report (some utilize photos) upon completion of the inspection.  While it may not be feasible or make sense to repair every single item on the report, it would be extremely beneficial to fix anything that is a potential safety issue (ex: frayed electric entrance cable, double tap in breaker box, etc…).  These are issues that a good home inspector is going to find when a prospective buyer hires them as well as being possible issues when the bank appraiser comes thru for the mortgage financing.  They likely will ask for them to be corrected before moving forward with the transaction and it’s better to be ahead of things then not. Also the more things that can be “fixed” or corrected  prior to the bank appraiser coming thru, the less he or she will be looking for.

In addition, provide any potential buyer a copy of the inspection report, it can put them at ease.  A common fear a buyer has is that sellers can/are concealing defects/issues with their home.  Providing them with a report is a great way to make them comfortable that this is not the case.


A "COWS" (container on wheels) or POD can be a great option if storage space for "clutter."

Tip – A “COWS” (container on wheels) or POD can be a great option if storage space for “clutter.”

“Less is more.”  Buyers don’t want to have to maneuver around piles of clothes, tables, or furniture.  Some sellers assume that it’s better to have furniture and “stuff” in the house while it’s for sale so buyers can see how people live in the home.  Some buyers can “envision” their effects in a home easier then others even with it being “furnished.”  We feel that an empty house would a better scenario, but understand this isn’t always possible for many sellers because they need to still “live” in the home.  Lack of storage is sometimes the issue and why decluttering can be difficult, but a fairly inexpensive and effective way to avoid this is renting a “COWS” (container on wheels) or a POD, which can be stored offsite once filled.

Buyers have many thoughts running through their mind as they walk thru a home that could potentially be theirs.  “Will my furniture fit in this living room?”  “Will my bed fit in this room?”  “Is there enough closet space for my clothes?”  Don’t let your great family photos on your living room wall distract them.  This also applies to fridge magnets, photos, or that “A+” your child received on their 1st grade spelling test.  Just remember the decluttering tip, “Less is More.”

Update Light Fixtures
That light fixture from 1980 that is still in the entry way of your home, just like wallpaper, is out!  You know the one that looks like a candy dish!  New light fixtures in the bathrooms, hallways, bedrooms, or kitchen are easy to install and relatively cheap.  If you’re unsure what to purchase, we suggest anything with a brushed nickel, bronze, or copper tone finish.

Clean and Inspect Furnace
Just like having a home inspection prior to selling, if possible, have your furnace inspected as well, if it hasn’t been within the last 12 months!  Many home inspectors will look at the furnace with the cover off and will suggest if it looks like it hasn’t been serviced recently that it be cleaned and inspected prior to closing.  A qualified HVAC contractor normally charges between $50-$125 to clean and inspect a furnace.  Make sure the contractor puts their sticker on the furnace and writes the date that the servicing  was completed.  It is amazing how many HVAC contractors are not interested in any future business by not putting that sticker on.

Replace Light Bulbs

Tip - Make sure all light bulbs are working! Consider replacing with a higher wattage for additional lighting!

Tip – Make sure all light bulbs are working!

It can be frustrating when you go to turn on a light and realize the light bulb isn’t working.  Now imagine how a buyers real estate agent or the buyer is going to react when the lights aren’t working.  Not a great way to show a buyer how you maintain your home.  This is a very quick, easy, & cheap tip that makes a difference!

“First impression is the last impression.”  The first thing a potential buyer will see is the exterior and what a better way to WOW them then with great landscaping.  This doesn’t mean install the most expensive shrubs or bushes, but make sure your grass is cut, remove crabgrass, remove weeds from flower beds, and edge the beds.  These tips can take an hour or two of your time but can be the deciding factor on whether your home or a competitive home is the one a buyer selects.

The above are 10 home sale tips that are quick, cheap, & easy.  There are other tips that sellers can do to get top dollar for their home in the shortest amount of time.  Please comment below with other tips that you think are quick, cheap, & easy!



About the authors:  The above information was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With almost 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

Visit our website at www.HiscockHomes.com.

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