What to Spend on Prepping for Sale


By Valerie Torelli

President of Torelli Realty



Valerie Torelli

Q. In this economy, is it worth it to spend money on your home before selling?


Spending money wisely (though not copious amounts) is always wise if the return can be justified. The most inexpensive and indeed free improvement one can make, and I know we’ve heard this time and time again, is to de-clutter the property and create visible open areas by moving furniture to make an open and spacious environment.

As professionals, we go into properties before marketing them and have coined the term, “You are a 10, 20, 100, etc… box home,” meaning that this is how many boxes of personal property we suggest packing up before the first open house. These boxes can be stored neatly in the garage because of this fact: A home is sold by the time a prospective buyer makes it to the garage. Buyers expect sellers to start packing!

Bathroom remodels can be done inexpensively with just:

-A fresh coat of paint,

-New knobs

-Re-caulking the sink and bath

-Hanging a curtain over the funky shower door

-New towels

-And removing all personal property – no one wants to see your toothbrush on the counter.

Also, changing out an old-fashioned mirror and replacing it with an inexpensive one on a hook makes for a dramatic impression and can even go with you when you move, as it becomes personal property.

Light is extremely important. A home that is open and bright creates a first impression that sticks with prospective buyers long afterward. Another good idea is to remove old drapes, since windows do not need coverings. If it feels too bare without window treatments, you can be creative and wrap material around a pole to create drama.

Obviously it is key in this market to spend as little as possible and create the most impact.