It’s one of the most common questions we get from our Home Sellers…what should I do to get my home ready for listing?
Here’s our advice on what to focus on when preparing your house for sale:
Focus on the “Big Objections”
I know that green Formica counter top in the kitchen has been driving you nuts for years, but unless it’ll be an objection by the majority of Buyers, you’re best leaving personal renovations to the new owner.
Focus on the things that will likely be objections for most of the Buyers. For example: buried oil tanks; asbestos; scary exposed electrical wiring. Don’t focus on the cosmetic repairs just yet..
Ensure That All of The Big Ticket Items Work
If the target for your home is a first-time buyer, they’ll worry about the big stuff and will assume it’ll cost more to fix than it actually will.
Unless you’re selling your home to a Buyer who is planning to gut it , you’ll want to make sure that the following are in good working condition:
Furnace and the air conditioning – I’m not saying your furnace and A/C need to be new and high-efficiency, but they should be working.
Roofing – Nobody likes to spend money on a new roof, and it’ll only be worth investing in replacing it if it’s truly an eyesore and past the end of its life. At a minimum: make sure that any leaks are fixed.
Appliances (unless the whole kitchen needs to be gutted, in which case you might as well let the new owners pick their own appliances). If you’ve got old appliances in an otherwise renovated kitchen, they may be worth replacing. (Your real estate agent can guide you in this decision).
Lighting and electrical – If you still have knob and tube wiring in your house, it’ll probably make more sense to get a couple of quotes to get it replaced and provide those quotes to potential Buyers vs. replacing it yourself. Of course, you’ll need to factor that a Buyer will need to replace the wiring into your list price.
Plumbing – It’s usually fairly cheap and easy to get leaky faucets and plugged toilets fixed, and it’ll make a big difference to the Buyer’s perception about how well the home has been cared for.
Pro Tip: Consider getting a home inspection done on your home to help guide where you should spend the money (or at the very least, be able to factor that into the price and be aware of any big issues during negotiations)
Easy Fixes and Cosmetic Repairs
There are some things you can do that are quick and fairly inexpensive and can increase the sale price of your home.
Curb appeal matters and many Buyers will decide how they feel about your house in the first few minutes. Consider repainting the door and repairing a cracked porch.
The backyard is one of the places many Buyers fall in love with, so don’t overlook it. Mow the lawn, weed the gardens, invest in some colorful flowers and spruce up the patio furniture with some new cushions.
A fresh paint job is probably one of the cheapest fixes you can make, and you’ll almost always see a return.. At a minimum: remove the scuff marks on the walls (hello, Magic Eraser) and touch up and damaged walls.
New grout in the bathtub and shower. This is a super easy fix and prevents Buyers from thinking your bathroom is old or unkempt. If you aren’t up to doing it yourself, it’s a quick job for your local handyman.
Shine the floors. If you’ve got hardwood floors, polishing or refinishing might be worth doing. At a minimum, fill the cracks and conceal the scratches as best you can.
Wash the windows. Clean windows will make your house seem brighter, and who doesn’t want that?
Lighting. Upgrading your lighting (both permanent fixtures and occasional lighting) makes a huge difference to a room! At a minimum, replace any burned bulbs and ensure that you’ve got the maximum allowable wattage in your fixtures.
Truth: Most Buyers either want to renovate themselves or want a fully renovated house.
Unless you’re a contractor and doing most of the work yourself, big renovations in preparation for a sale can be risky, and you’ll rarely see a return on investment. Renovation projects always get bigger and more expensive and tend to lead to other renovation projects. It’s usually best to leave that to the new Buyer. If you decide to renovate before selling: bring in the professionals vs. DIY.
Pro Tip: Call your agent (That’s Us) before you start any big repairs or renovations. Don’t worry, we’ve seen it all…your home doesn’t need to be in perfect condition when we come over.