Suddenly Selling? 5 Tips For Quickly And Cheaply Prepping Your Home To Sell

If you have to sell your home with little warning, you likely don't have time and/or money to make large-scale changes in order to appeal to buyers. But there is a lot you can do at the last minute to spruce up your home before putting it on the market. Here are 5 quick makeover ideas for any budget.

Add Curb Appeal. What buyers see when they approach your front door can be a make-or-break experience for them. Homes that appear well-maintained from the get-go are more likely to appeal to new owners and may buy you some goodwill when it comes to the inside of the home. Sprucing up the front yard doesn't have to be complicated. Add fresh mulch to cover problem spots, green up the lawn (try a seed patch mix) and trim bushes, paint the door, and make sure the pathway is clean. Plant a few colorful flower pots to complete the look. 

Clear Clutter. Buyers want to be able to visualize their own belongings in your home, so clear out your stuff. If you have a lot of things and are short on time, consider packing it all up and storing it in a storage unit until the home is sold. Declutter as savagely as you can — particularly in the kitchen (aim for very clean counter surfaces), bathrooms, living room, and closets. Remove family photos and mementos to make the home more neutral. 

Clean. It can't be said enough that cleaning the house from top to bottom is vital to getting a good price. Every surface should be wiped, dusted, shined, or polished. Wash the windows, dust fans, and clean the baseboards. Bathrooms and the kitchen should be spotless. As with cleaning up the front yard, a solid inside cleaning helps give the impression that your home is well-maintained and will attract more buyers. Be sure to deep clean carpets, too — especially if you have pets. 

Paint. For very little money and time, you can freshen up entire rooms with a little paint. Repaint bold walls with a more neutral shade so buyers can picture themselves living in the rooms. Paint wood trim or cabinets white in order to modernize them. Add in some updated hardware to complete the effect. 

Fix Small Things. While you may not have time to start any major renovations, you should take the time to complete small repairs that may turn off buyers. This includes small things you've probably stopped noticing, such as a nonfunctional light or leaky toilet. Cover small holes in the walls, replace old light fixtures and button up any half-done renovations so that they're not as noticeable. If you're not sure what repairs might take priority for potential buyers, talk with your real estate agent to get his or her expertise.

By focusing on what you can accomplish in a short amount of time — rather than what you can't fix — you can quickly make your home ready to be shown to its next owners.