Selling your home can be a busy and stressful time. In order to make the most of your time and resources, it’s critical to identify which upgrades are necessary to make prior to listing your home and which can be left for after the sale.
Be Sure to Fix the Basics!
The first area to focus on when deciding where to invest your time and money is in basics. Patch holes and cracks in the plaster and touch up the paint. Fix any leaky faucets or running toilets. Fix broken appliances, make sure all the lightbulbs are in working order and double-check your HVAC system. Paying attention to these small details and routine maintenance items will make sure your potential buyers aren’t distracted by simple, yet annoying chores that need to be done. Remember you want to sell the dream of living your lovely home… not a long to-do list of home repairs that need to be done!
Code violations are a definite red flag and might even put the brakes on your sale! Be sure to head off any potential issues by taking care of these items before potential buyers even step through the door. (Incidentally, if your realtor doesn’t point out these items, you might want to look for another realtor!)
Common violations include:
Smoke alarms that are missing from each level of your home or not properly placed in relation to the bedrooms
Exhaust fans that vent into attics instead of outdoors
Issues with deck flashing or wood rot
Handrails that pose a risk to loose sleeves or straps, and missing handrails
Steps that are deeper than ordinary or not uniform
Another common area of concern is the chimney. Your chimney will be inspected, so you might want to be one step ahead by getting an inspection and clean before listing. You’ll find this beneficial if the buyer’s inspector comes back with multiple chimney issues.
If you’ve covered all the basics and code violations then it’s time to consider cosmetic changes. Be smart when deciding which cosmetic changes are worth the time and money. Pay attention to the market and ask your realtor which changes pack the most bang for your buck. You might be surprised by how a little elbow grease can make all the difference!
Focus on one of these relatively easy updates:
Neutral shades tend to work well when listing your home. Consider this step especially if your tastes run to the more bright. Get a five-gallon bucket of paint and spend the weekend converting your rooms into a cool, calm sanctuary. If you’re pressed for time and have the budget, consider hiring a professional painter to get this done. If you already have neutral shades, be sure to have a list of paint colors in view during the showing of your home. This is a huge plus to experienced buyers!
Buyers make decisions within the first few minutes of seeing a potential home. Give yourself an advantage by focusing on your curbside appeal. Fix any visibly broken shutters, bent siding, or hanging gutters. Touch up the paint, check all the screens, and tidy up your flower beds.
Focus on the torn and tattered floors. Worn carpet in particular can be a point of contention with buyers. As with the paint colors, opt for neutral, simple finishes so visitors can envision their own life in your home.
· Light Fixtures
Do you have dated light fixtures? This is an easy fix. Replacing a direct wired light is easy. If you’re short on funds and like to DIY, consider spray painting out of style light fixtures for a quick, inexpensive update.
· Drapes and window coverings
Opt for simple white panels and dark curtain rods set high above the windows to create the visual feel of high ceilings. If you don’t have the budget to swap out all of your window coverings, focus on a few key rooms and make sure to remove any torn, stained, or dirty curtains or blinds. It’s better to have no window treatments at all than something that might be seen as another project that needs to be done.
Whether you have a large budget available to prepare your home for sale, or you have a bit more time than money, choose projects that will contribute to making your home feel as move-in ready as possible. With a little elbow grease and time, you can help increase the value of your home in the eyes of your prospective buyers.