Most homeowners have an ongoing list of things to take care of around the house. If you’re planning on listing your home for sale soon, now is the time to cross these to-dos off your list. Buyers are, without a doubt, looking at big-ticket items like air conditioners and roofs, but they’re also inspecting smaller details to see how much they’ll need to invest to update your home. Part of preparing your home for sale is showing potential buyers that your home is well maintained and move-in ready. That door that’s constantly sticking? The hard-to-reach burnt-out lightbulb in the laundry room? That strange sound the garbage disposal makes? They may seem like minor inconveniences to you, but to potential buyers, they can add up to a lengthy and costly list of repairs that could mean the difference between putting in an offer on your home or moving onto the next house. Weeks (or even months) before you list your home, be sure you take the following steps to make your home market-ready.
Consult your realtor. A good realtor will have invaluable insight about any other major upgrades you might want to consider making, from replacing your carpet to updating kitchen counters. Ask your realtor to walk through your home and give you an honest assessment— you may not be able to afford every update they recommend, but ask them to prioritize one or two items that might make all the difference in a buyer’s mind. A kitchen renovation may not be in the budget, but maybe a fresh coat of paint on cabinets and some new hardware might do the trick.
Tackle minor repairs. That toilet that won’t stop running, the smoke detector that beeps every 45 seconds … these seem like no big deal, but why give buyers any reason to hesitate? Grab a pen and paper and walk through every room, checking every door, turning on every light switch, flushing all the toilets and running each sink faucet. Take note of what needs to be fixed. Replace any rotting wood on your home’s exterior and repair that broken garage door opener once and for all. Investing a few hundred dollars now will help keep that home inspection as short as possible, saving valuable negotiation time and ensuring you get top dollar for your home.
Update light fixtures. Outdated light fixtures can make a room look dated and dull. Consider replacing ones in highly visible areas like above your dining room table, your foyer or the kitchen. While you’re at it, go through every room in your home and make sure every bulb is in working order.
Paint. It’s one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to make your home look newer—and it’s almost always worth the investmment. Take a good hard look at your home, starting with the outside, from the front door and trim to your garage doors. Neutral colors (think shades of taupe, beige and gray) are almost always the best choice, and if you have wallpaper, you should strongly consider removing it and painting those areas instead. Freshly painted trim and doors can make a dramatic change on your home’s appearance. If your home is in pretty decent shape overall, consider making a few touch-ups here and there as necessary—like that spot where your grandkid decided to channel his inner Jackson Pollock.
Evaluate Your Floors. Floors are a major selling point for buyers — and even though it’s not cheap to replace outdated flooring, it’s often well worth the investment in the end. Not can you price your home a bit higher—it’s also more likely to sell faster. If you have stained carpets, cracked tile or warping wood, investing in new floors may be necessary, unless you’re willing to sell for a lower price and potentially have your home stay on the market longer.
There’s no doubt that selling a home can be a stressful time and there’s a lot of work to do to ensure your home sells as quickly as possible and for the best price. We hope this post helps you narrow down your focus — and be sure to check out parts one and two in our Sell It Now series!