Tackling these basic, inexpensive improvements will help your home stand out from the crowd in a difficult market
When you own a home it seems that you are in a constant state of home improvement. More often than not something needs repaired, replaced or tweaked. While these home improvements may seem like they all happen at the same time, we are usually lucky enough to have them spread out over the course of the year. When it’s time to sell your home, these home improvements snowball to now or never. While your neighbor may think it is a good idea to sell your home as is, research has shown that your home will sell faster and for a higher price if you do just a few simple things to make it stand out.
These basic repairs will help prepare your house for a buyer's white-glove inspection:
1. The entrance to your home is the key to first impressions.
The saying don’t judge a book by its cover does not appeal to real estate. The front and back of the home should pop. Making sure that the lawn is mowed, planting flowers, ensuring paint is fresh, the door is free from cobwebs or dirt, screens are not sagging or broken, and the porch should be clean and free from debris. Buyers will be alert to signs of neglect or deferred maintenance, since they want to avoid expensive hidden problems down the road.
A fresh coat of paint on the front door goes miles toward establishing a great first impression. What color? Drive around for some inspiration and to see what colors prevail in your community. In some towns, a bright red door, or a deep plum, looks great. In others, it'll seem over the top. Forest green, navy blue and black can be great door colors. The front door need not match the exterior colors of your house and trim, only look good alongside them.
2. Clean & De-clutter
If you don’t do anything else you MUST do this. It is very difficult for buyers to see themselves living in the home if they can’t see the floor or the walls because there is so much stuff everywhere. Cleaning seems obvious but I mean a true deep clean inside cabinets, bathrooms, and closets. Purge or place in storage all the items that you do not need or don’t use daily. While you are cleaning and storing, depersonalizing a home is important to help the buyer envision how they will fit into the space so put that large family portrait over the fireplace in storage for now. Lastly, all guns, valuables or personal items should be locked away. If there is a drawer, assume that it will be opened, if there is a door, assume someone will look inside.
3. If It’s Broken – Fix It
If a door lock is broken, shingles are missing from the roof, or a faucet is leaky all these will be noticed by a prospective buyer and may lead them to believe other home maintenance tasks have been neglected. Most buyers want their home move in ready and in near mint condition. Not to mention that buyers tend to inflate the costs of home repairs and may assume that the costs to repair are nearly twice the actual cost, this may prompt them to look over your home or put in a much lower offer.
4. The Roof
Buyer’s aren’t just in the market for a roof over their head; they are looking for a roof that doesn’t leak, sag or need a ton of repairs. If your roof doesn’t need a complete overhaul make sure that there aren’t any shingles that need replaced. While you are up there, it is also a great time to clean out those gutters and caulk them.Missing shingles and hanging gutters broadcast a loud, scary signal to potential buyers. You want the house to look as presentable and non-problematic as possible. You want Buyers to be able to focus on 'Where does my bed go?' and 'Can we live here?' rather than, 'Oh my God, there's a problem with the roof.'"
5. Patch Nail Holes and Repaint
A new coat of paint will make your house look fresh, clean and updated. It’s like a “little botox” for your walls and will cover all the cracks, creaks and the occasional dent. Before your paint, cover holes with putty and sand smooth, and for bigger holes, spray texture to make them look less obvious. In addition, don’t forget to look up; if your ceiling needs it, don’t forget to give it a fresh coat of paint as well.
6. The thing is – smells are a serious deal killer
When strangers enter a home, the first thing they notice is the smell. Don't even try hiding behind scented candles, potpourri and plug-in room fragrances. Buyers, ever suspicious to problems, catch a whiff of those and conclude that you're hiding something.
Removing anything that could potentially produce a less than desirable smell is required. If you have pets, all evidence, including cat boxes and beds, should be removed from the home before any buyers come in. I also suggest taking pets with you when you leave for showings. If that isn’t an option, have them sectioned off into their own space. If there is a smoker in the house consider having them go somewhere not on the homes parameter. It may sound harsh but smell is one of the first thing a buyer will notice, and smoke is impossible to cover up without it being obvious, not to mention that smoke clings to outdoor furniture as much as it does to indoor furniture. Other things to help deodorize - replace furnace filters and deep clean the bathroom and kitchen to get rid of and prevent mold, mildew and bacteria.
Flooring gets the most wear over any other piece of your home. If your flooring is screaming for some TLC consider doing so before you put your house on the market. Carpet should be free from stains or damage, tile and hardwood should be clean and free from cracks, and linoleum should be clean and free from holes or gouges. I don’t recommend replacing the flooring in the entire home unless absolutely necessary. It can be beneficial to replace flooring in high traffic areas. If you are in the market to put new floor in, hardwood is the gold standard for what buyers want most of the time and there are a variety of cost options for most budgets.
8. The Windows
New windows are expensive but nothing takes an older home up a few notches better than new windows. If you can’t afford to put new windows in, make sure that they are cleaned inside and out by a professional to help them look their best. Look at the sills and if they are cracked or yellowing, paint them. Lastly make sure that the blinds are clean and in good condition. If they aren’t, consider replacing the window coverings to make them look top notch.
Right before you put your home on the market have a professional stager come in and do what they do best, make your home sale ready. Professional Stagers are trained to place items at the right level and attract attention to the right places to make your home stand out above all competition. Research has shown that having your home staged can increase the chance of your home selling faster and for a higher sales price vs. not having it staged. One thing that we do for our sellers is we pay for our stager to come in for the first time and do a once over to make suggestions and help you get your home sold fast!
All in all, a seller can only do what they can do, but these few steps will put you ahead of the rest. Contact any member of the CONSIDER IT DONE TEAM and we will help you get your home ready to sell and for the right price!