Staying productive during the downtime

Back in mid-March (remember life in the middle of March?) we created a series of videos to assist homeowners who were either: 1) preparing to list their home at some point in the near future or 2) finding themselves with unplanned free time at home. The series contained 14 tips, most of which could be accomplished in a day, and with little or no professional help. These ideas arose out of the frequent advice we give sellers, as well as some of the easy-to-address issues I commonly see when showing homes to buyers.

Here now, a summary of those tips:
1. Paint Your Front Door. Most front doors take a lot of sunlight and get faded quickly. Get a high quality paint, pick a sunny day, and get a fresh coat on it. This is a great opportunity for a splash of color, but if you’re looking for a solid classic, black is always in style.

2. Declutter Your Closets. Springtime is usually when we go through our stuff and decide what we need and don’t need. But anytime is a good time to pare down and create space—especially if you’re getting ready to put your home on the market soon.

3. Clean Lights, Clean Windows, Tighten Doorknobs and Handles. Not as much fun, but worth the effort to make your home look and feel bright, as well as give potential buyers the feeling that your home was solidly built and well-maintained. Loose handles make people wonder what else has been neglected.

4. Landscaping. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Start by trimming existing bushes and plants, rake out all clippings and leaves, make sure to pull weeds and spray weedkiller for the future, then put down a good landscape fabric (if you haven’t before) and finally, when all else is done, you can mulch.

5. Evaluate Your Appliances. This is more for sellers, but even for homeowners who don’t plan to move, there’s always a good holiday sale around the corner. Replacing old and/or mismatched appliances (stainless fridge and white dishwasher, for instance) will unify the look of the kitchen.

6. Enhance Your Exterior Entryway. Put out fresh flowers, get yourself a new welcome mat and make sure your railings are in good shape. Paint old metal railings or fix any broken and worn steps. An inviting entryway sets up potential buyers to love what’s inside.

7. Trees, Gutters and Downspouts. Cut back any dead limbs, or anything that hangs over the house, and remove any dead trees. Have your gutters cleaned out and downspouts extended away from the house so that water will be carried away from the foundation.

8. Paint, Paint and More Paint. We say this to almost every seller—paint is the cheapest and most transformative thing you can do to your home.

It always—ALWAYS—makes a space feel fresher, brighter and more open.

If you’re selling, make sure to get to those rooms with taste-specific colors (think dinosaur green or fairy-princess pink).

9. Edit Your Decor and Depersonalize. When preparing to sell,
it is always a good idea to put away as much as you can live without. Less decor will make your house feel bigger, so a good rule of thumb is to only leave out the things you love. Depersonalize is a common one too—not just family photos, but also items that may not appeal to buyers (ie: tribal masks or doll collections).

10. Prep Your Deck. Address any of the following issues: loose deck boards, splintered hand rails, loose or missing pickets, rotted out newel posts, and split stair stringers. Once all that is in order, consider a fresh coat of stain—either traditional, semi-transparent or solid.

11. Paint Your Cabinets. Okay, this one will take more than a day, but I see so many kitchens and bathrooms with solid wood cabinetry that is just outdated. Rather than tear it all out and replace it, take the time to paint it—but do it right. This is a multi-step process involving certain products, so if this is on your list, reach out and we’ll walk you through it.

12. Update Your Light Fixtures. Older light fixtures can really date a home—but new ones don’t have to break the bank or require an expensive bill. Shop local stores and online sites for great deals, and try to stick to the same finishes throughout. Also, if you have a room with no overhead light, we can walk you through a simple fix to that problem as well.

13. Pressure Wash. This is a pretty simple one. Most homes have an area or a side that faces away from the sun or is very shaded. Any area doesn’t get enough light and air to dry out can get mildew and moss buildup. Start there, and then make sure your sidewalks, porches and patios all shine.

14. Have Your Home Professionally Staged! If you’ve done everything else and you’re ready to put the home on the market, call a professional stager. Even if you’re not selling, but have that one room that’s kind of tricky to figure out, get a professional to help you make the layout functional and beautiful.

There you have it—knock out these 14 projects and your home will either be ready to list, or ready to enjoy! Want more in depth advice? Check out our YouTube series, 14 Tips in 14 Days.

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