Maximize Your Sale Price with Smart Improvements Before You List


Whenever I help a new client list a home, I present them with a suggested sale price for the property as-is and a second, higher suggested sale price. The higher suggested price reflects the value the client can add to their property by making improvements before they list.

If you’re thinking about listing your home, consider which improvements are worth the time and money to make. Not all improvements will pencil out. These minor improvements are the ones we see pay off again and again.

Cleaning & decluttering

One of the best ways to make your house more attractive to buyers is to present a clean, tidy living space. Don’t be afraid to hire a local cleaning company to deep clean the nooks and crannies you’ve been neglecting. (No judgment! We’ve all got them.)


When potential buyers can visualize an inhabited home, you’re more likely to get a higher offer. The National Association of Realtors® recently published their 2021 Profile on Home Staging and announced that “23 percent of sellers’ agents reported an increase of one percent to five percent of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes,” while 18 percent of respondents reported between a six and ten percent increase. Hiring a professional staging company usually begins at $1,500 and can have a huge impact on what potential buyers are willing to offer.

First  impressions

The welcome is everything. Anything you can do to make your home more inviting to potential buyers the moment they see it can go a long way. Paint the door. Purchase a new welcome mat. Add a pop of color at the door with a bouquet of flowers. Consider your yard. Some light landscaping can make all the difference!

Inspection considerations

Think about what might come up in your inspection. Minor repairs to things like failed window seals can be helpful. Just make sure you consider the cost of labor while being realistic about what you can do yourself. Also, to avoid devastating surprises while under contract, consider getting a pre-listing inspection with a reputable home inspector.

Increase the light

Remove blinds in rooms where extra privacy isn’t needed, and open curtains to let the light in. Upgrade your lighting to higher, brighter wattage wherever possible. With so many gray days in the northwest, buyers are looking for more light.

Consider budget-minded upgrades

Minor updates like replacing light fixtures or cabinet & door hardware go a long way in making an outdated home feel more contemporary. Just keep an eye on the budget.

Always remember that real estate is emotional. To get top dollar on the sale of your home, you want more than one offer and you want those buyers to be attached to the home. Even in this market, buyers are prioritizing a move-in-ready home. When they walk through your home, you want the mental list of improvements they feel they need to make to stay as short as possible.

A thoughtful approach to home improvements before you sell is the best way to maximize the return on your investment. If you’re looking for an agent to talk you through these tricky decisions, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m available by email at KWoodford@kw.com or by telephone at 360-508-2800.

Kristy Woodford is CEO of Holistic Home Group, which is affiliated with Keller Williams South Sound. She has more than 10 years of experience as a broker of residential real estate in Thurston County and leads a team of realtors experienced in serving local buyers and sellers. 


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