Getting Your Home Ready to Sell
Before you put your home on the market, look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Is it in show-ready condition, or could it use some sprucing up before you list? Your home’s condition directly impacts its value, so if you want the highest selling price for your home, it needs to look its best when it hits the market.
While some homes only need minor cosmetic improvements before selling, other houses require a variety of repairs and improvements to maximize their resale value. Many homeowners struggle to know how much improvement their home needs before selling. After all, even the nicest homes have room for upgrades. Before you start spending money on renovations, carefully consider your home’s resale value.
To estimate how much your home is worth, research comparable homes in your local market. Identify homes that are similar in age, size, and neighborhood, and assess their condition. Do comparable homes have updates that your house lacks, or is your home just as modernized as other recently-sold homes? If houses in similar condition as yours have sold quickly and at a competitive price, your home will need minimal improvements to sell. However, if the homes that are selling have updates that your house lacks, it indicates that improvements may be necessary to get the best price for your home.
As you calculate your home’s value, consider how much you’ll make when selling your home. Some sellers are surprised to learn how much is spent on commissions, taxes, and other fees. Renovating before selling could be the difference between walking away with cash in hand or ending up disappointed with your home sale proceeds.
All homes benefit from a full-house cleaning before the first showing, including washing exterior features like siding, driveways, and walkways. Sellers should also attend to minor household repairs like fixing loose door knobs, cracked grout, and leaky faucets. Most repairs can be DIY-ed to save money and increase your return on investment.
In addition to these small fixes, sellers shouldn’t underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint. Repainting walls brightens a home’s interior and gives sellers an opportunity to replace uniquely-colored rooms with the neutral hues that buyers prefer. According to Business Insider, walls painted “greige,” a color that straddles the line between grey and beige, can increase a home’s resale value by more than $3,000.
Landscaping is another area that sellers can add value without spending a lot of money. Simply by pruning landscape plants, patching the lawn, and laying fresh mulch, sellers can increase their home’s curb appeal and attract more buyers.
Once easy fixes are out of the way, sellers should shift their focus to bigger projects. First, consider structural and mechanical issues that could prevent your home from selling. While it doesn’t always make financial sense to replace an aging roof or an outdated HVAC system before selling, in some markets, large-scale repairs may be necessary to attract buyers.
Next, consider home features that encourage buyers to pay a premium price. These might include replacing white or black kitchen appliances with stainless steel models, installing ENERGY STAR-certified laundry appliances, installing hardwood floors, or creating an outdoor living space. Before investing in costly projects like these, sellers should discuss their home’s potential value with a real estate agent to estimate the return on investment.
When you make the decision to sell your home, you want to move quickly. However, by taking time to assess your home’s value and make smart improvements, you can walk away from your sale with more cash in your pocket. If a profitable home sale is your priority, make sure you spend the time getting your house ready to sell.
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.