How Do You Make An Old House Look Good To Sell? 11 Examples To Focus On

How Do You Make An Old House Look Good To Sell

Selling any home is difficult. But, selling an old house can feel impossible. Luckily, there are a few key ways to sell your old house for a worthy price. 

So, how exactly do you make an old house look good to sell?

From highlighting the home’s unique features and square footage to finding the right sale price, here are eight examples that should help you bring your real estate project over the finish line and get better offers from potential buyers. 

1. Don’t Forget the Landscaping

Sellers often overlook the landscape in the process of renovating a home. You can’t forget that the yard is one of the first things a prospective buyer will see.

If there is trash or junk in the yard, or the grass and plants are dying, you’re very much getting off on the wrong foot and are unlikely to sell. 

It’s crucial to uproot any annoying weeds, mow the grass, bring some flowerpots for the front porch, and give the house a comfortable, cozy feeling that makes buyers feel as though they could wake up living there.

If your house is a serious flip, you may need to consider uprooting whatever plants are in the yard, replacing them, and putting down turf, rocks, or other materials to make the yard look finished.

Spending a great deal of money on this part of the renovation is unnecessary. A few simple changes can make a yard feel clean and organized. 

2. Study the Buyer Pool

The real estate market is constantly changing, and you may need to research what’s selling right now and where. There are many reasons someone might want to buy an older house.

Make sure you target the right subset of buyers, whether home flippers or people looking to renovate their forever homes. 

Reach out to colleagues, friends, or family members in the home area, and figure out what people are looking for in that area. This research can help you get a leg up and focus your renovations on the right parts of the house.

You might find that there is a larger market for fixer-uppers than you think and save yourself a lot of hard work that may not have paid off. 

3. Lean into the Home’s Unique Features

Maybe your older home is a little unusual, with an interesting color scheme or a strangely arranged floor plan. Unique features don’t have to be a bad thing!

Many buyers are looking for personality when purchasing a house, and if you correctly convey these features, they can appear positive or desirable. 

Many people are attracted to history, nostalgia, or something that makes their home feel a little different from every other building in the neighborhood.

Phone niches, cold closets, dumbwaiters, hidden rooms, and more can help buyers overlook some of the home’s needed renovation. 

While some antique features add character, outdated and dysfunctional features decrease value. Here are the average lifespans of typical home components to help you decide what to replace:

ComponentAverage Lifespan
Garage Door Opener10-15 years
Roof20 years
Furnace15-20 years
Hot Water Heater10-15 years
Windows15-30 years
Shower50 years
Toilet50 years
Kitchen Sink10 years

4. Small Updates Make a Big Impression 

While you might be hyperfocused on the big issues (and with good reason!), it’s crucial not to overlook the little things. This is particularly true if you can’t afford to change the huge issues, like a less-than-perfect roof or outdated appliances.

Small changes, like replacing the kitchen cabinet handles, repainting chips on the wall, deep cleaning the counters, sinks, and tubs, and cleaning the carpet, are all important.

They may seem small in the scene of things, but if a prospective buyer walks in, they’re likely to have a hard time imagining themselves in the home if the carpet is dirty. 

Here are the average lifespans of home appliances to help you decide what may need renovation in an old house:

ApplianceAverage Lifespan
Gas Range15 years
Electric Range13 years
Microwave9 years
Dishwasher9 years
Refrigerator13 years
Washing Machine13 years
Dryer13 years 
Air Conditioning15-20 years

Read More: Should You Redo A Kitchen Before Selling?

5. Emphasize the Square Footage

While your old home may not have the most up-to-date appliance or roofing, it’s likely larger than many other buildings on the market.

Don’t let buyers walk away without emphasizing the space they’re getting for the money. They might feel intimidated by the renovation work but get drawn in by the potential the home has after its complete. 

6. Don’t Focus on the Personal 

Old homes often have a lot of personal memories in them. If family-specific items remain in the home, make sure you find somewhere else to store them as potential buyers want to imagine themselves in the house, not someone else’s family.

These items could include but are not limited to pictures, blankets, paintings, dishes and glassware, and toys in the yard. 

7. Try Renovation Loans 

If you haven’t heard of them before, renovation loans are an effective way to incentivize buyers to purchase your old house. It gives homeowners the necessary funds t make necessary renovations to a house.

If you include renovation loans in the deal, you’re helping the buyer get a larger loan when they hopefully purchase the house. 

8. Get Rid of Dated Items

While some historic parts of your home might be valuable to consumers, dated furniture, carpets, blinds or curtains, and appliance are likely to turn away potential buyers.

Something as simple as a new coat of paint and a new set of blinds can turn an old-feeling house into something more modern. 

You might also want to try replacing lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs. Not only will they add to your home’s appeal, but the lighting is also far superior when potential buyers see it in person. 

9. Consider Staging the House

Whether or not to stage an older home is a hot topic. But, for most homes, buyers are likely to find themselves connecting to the rooms if there is furniture in them.

Depending on the house, you might want to go with period-appropriate furniture. For example, don’t furnish an early-20th century home with the newest, modern furniture. 

But, it’s also important to keep adding too many staging items to the house. It’s tempting to fill each room, but a few key items will be more than enough to get your message across here and there. 

10. Clean Up After Pets 

If pets were in the home before, make sure that before you sell it, no one would ever know they lived there.

Your potential buyers may all be animal lovers, but it’s very unlikely that they want to walk into a home on the market and see pet hair on various surfaces or smell evidence that one or more pets were living there. 

11. Price It Right

If you’re selling an older home as a fixer-upper, ensure the price reflects that. You need to consider who would be willing to invest money now in the home and continually spend money for months, or even a year or more, to get the home how they want it. 

Expert realtors are the perfect people to turn to if you’re unsure how your home should be priced. Plus, knowing exactly what it’s worth will also help you figure out which renovations you’ll do yourself and which you’ll leave for future homeowners. 

Additional Reading: How Long Are You Liable After Selling A House?

Wrap Up

Everyone knows a great deal goes into preparing a home for the market, finding buyers, and making a deal. But with an old home, it’s far more complicated.

From renovations to finding the right price and making constant small changes, it can feel overwhelming for a first-time home seller and a professional flipper. 

Following these few essential tips makes you more likely to navigate the home-selling process quickly and easily.

From finding the right price to offer buyers to staging, offering renovation loans, and emphasizing the square footage, there are various ways to help get a great deal for your home finalized. 

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