Selling your house after a divorce can be challenging because you may feel like you’re on your own. But it’s not as hard as you think.
In fact, when putting your house on the market you should really only have two goals: that it sells quickly and that it sells for a good profit. Each of these depends on its counterpart, so doing your part to get your home ready to sell is an important part of achieving that goal.
If you’re not sure of how to increase the value so you’ll get the best price when you sell your home after divorce – and your budget will not stretch to making major renovations – there are a few simple things to do before putting your house on the market.
3 Ways to Increase the Value when You Sell Your Home After Divorce
1. Keep it Clean to Sight, Touch, and Smell
Is it easy to maintain your home? In some cases, it absolutely can be. The difference between a dirty home and a clean one is remarkable to people who have been house hunting all day and yours could be the sparkling diamond they’ve been waiting for. Even if your house isn’t the newest one on the block, if it’s clean – and it smells fresh and clean – then its age matters less. Keep counters wiped and floors swept and mopped, put clutter where it belongs and make it look presentable to viewers. If you’re having trouble staying on top of work and home maintenance, call up a friend or house-cleaner to help you.
If you have pets, send them to a friend’s house or take them for an overnight somewhere before open houses and showings. And make sure there is no wet-dog or kitty-litterbox smell; your pets may be “furkids” to you, but strong pet-related smells could have potential buyers running for the hills!
Do you have a pool? Showcase it in all of its aquatic beauty by getting it professionally cleaned and serviced before listing your house, especially if you’ve been neglecting it for longer than you should. Not all buyers love the idea of maintaining a pool, but if you cast it in the most positive light that you can, then it becomes a feature instead of a burden. If you don’t like the design of your pool and want to change it, no problem! Custom pools offer designs from simple to elaborate to shake up your backyard.
Remember that most people doing house tours will have a difficult time looking past your personal items; depersonalize your home by eliminating family photos, collections, and other items. It’s a little somber because it’s like you’re erasing yourself from the place you live, but unfortunately, that’s the idea. Buyers want to see a blank slate, something to fill with their own pictures, knickknacks, and memories. Even paint color can turn inexperienced buyers off, so cover up that hot-pink dining room or orange kitchen in neutral colors! Bittersweet as it might be, you are doing yourself a favor in the long run.
2. Make Minor Repairs As Needed
Unless they are flippers, most homebuyers don’t want to buy a house riddled with problems. If you notice annoying things around the house that are easily fixable, you bet that people touring your home will notice them too and wonder what else might be wrong with your home. It doesn’t mean that you need to start tearing up drywall and plumbing, but small repairs here and there can do wonders for a house on the market.
- Faucets can be little brats, so if you know of one or more that’s been leaking, you may not need to hire a contractor; the job can be easily done yourself with only a few tools and a little bit of time.
- To patch holes left from hanging pictures and decor on the walls, all you need is spackle and a putty knife and you’re ready. Some brands of spackle are colored when you apply them to the walls, only turning white after they are completely dried and ready for paint.
- Sometimes creaky steps are charming, sometimes they’re just a pain in the neck. If a creaking step on the porch or staircase groans every time someone steps it, the repair is mildly simple, albeit time-consuming. You might want to be sure that you have someone present who knows how to do this task before DIYing it alone.
- No money to renovate your kitchen or bathroom? Try replacing dated or worn cabinet knobs and drawer pulls with sleek, modern hardware. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it will make to the rooms!
Remember that sometimes it’s okay to call a professional. In fact, if you don’t feel like you can perform a task safely and properly, you should call a professional. It can be tempting to try and DIY all jobs to save a few dollars, but incorrect DIY work can end up costing thousands more than you expected. Don’t be afraid to hire professional help.
3. Let There Be Light
A shadowy home feels heavy and depressing, and often it’s one of the first things that viewers notice when doing a house tour. Lighten up the space and the atmosphere simultaneously by using a few cost-effective methods to brighten up and reinvent your home.
- What’s one of the cheapest ways to light up your home? Candles. It’s true! Not only do candles make a home feel cozier, but a house that smells good can help it sell faster.
- Replacing your standard light bulbs with LEDs instantly makes a room feel brighter. These super-bulbs last 20 to 25 times longer than the average light bulb, which makes them energy-efficient and saves you money on your energy bill. An even cheaper alternative when you’re selling your house and don’t want to spend extra money for LEDs is to switch out your low wattage bulbs with the maximum the fixture is designed for. The difference between 60-watt and 100-watt lightbulbs will surprise you!
- It can be a bit costly, but swapping out your builder-grade light fixtures for more updated choices can make a huge difference. Don’t go overboard: a $12,000 chandelier is not going to be the deciding factor for an interested buyer. [Ed. Also, you’d be surprised how many attractive and relatively inexpensive fixtures you can find at stores like IKEA or Home Depot!] Focus on rooms where people spend the most time: e.g., living room, kitchen, etc.
It’s always a little sad to say goodbye to a place you lived and were happy in – but take comfort in the fact that there won’t be constant reminders of your ex and your failed marriage in your new home. If the time has come to sell, and you want to make top-dollar off of your home, take advantage of these easy ways to add value before you sell your home after divorce.