Preparing your property to sell is a crucial step in the marketing process and can greatly affect your ultimate sale price. However, many sellers get caught up with repairs and upgrades that won’t actually entice buyers to offer a higher price. So, how do you know which projects to tackle before going to market? As Realtors, we’re engaged with active buyers everyday and know which items come up most often at the negotiation table. In our experience, here are the seven most important areas to give attention to when preparing to sell:
1. Structural & Mechanical
If your roof or heating system is on its last leg, you might seriously want to consider repair or replacement. Not only will deferred maintenance scare many buyers away, it can affect a buyer’s ability to obtain financing or insurance. To keep your buyer pool large, invest in structural and mechanical fixes before putting your property on the market.
2. Exterior & Landscaping
First impressions mean a lot, especially in the world of real estate. Many buyers associate the exterior appearance of a home with the condition of its interior, and often the home’s integrity as a whole. Some buyers won’t even bother touring a home if the exterior isn’t perfect. Taking steps to increase your curb appeal can help widen your buyer-pool and ensure you get the best possible price for your property. To start, do some basic landscaping, address anything that needs obvious repair, and make sure everything looks tidy and well maintained. For more ideas on increasing curb appeal read Six Quick Ways To Increase Your Curb Appeal.
3. Cosmetic Fixes
Buyers want a home that feels fresh and clean, somewhere they can imagine a new start. Before going to market, give every room a fresh coat of paint, replace worn or stained carpeting, and give everything a deep and detailed cleaning. Consider replacing outdated fixtures and finishes with something more modern. While one small ding in the wall might go unnoticed, it’s the little things that add up to create the impression that buyers get as they tour your home. Now is the time to go through your property in detail to get it looking its best.
Do you have a kitchen drawer that needs to be finessed just so to open? Do you have a bathroom fan that just doesn’t sound right when running? What about that hall closet light bulb that you keep meaning to replace? While you may have gotten used to your home’s little quirks, they are going to be glaringly obvious to any buyer touring your property. Be sure you fix any of these little issues before your first showing so that buyers can be impressed with how well your property has been maintained.
5. Kitchen & Bathrooms
Buyers inspect kitchens and bathrooms with the most scrutiny when touring homes, so make sure yours are spotless. Refinish scratched cabinets, replace cracked tile, hire a professional grout and tile cleaner, and consider replacing outdated knobs and drawer handles. If you decide to go for a full remodel, make sure to stick to a contemporary layout and neutral look that will be pleasing to a large audience.
Good interior and exterior lighting gives your home the welcoming feel and convenience potential buyers are looking for. Brighten up every room in your home by opening up drapes, trimming foliage, cleaning windows, and installing high-lumen light bulbs. Install exterior lighting along footpaths to highlight the landscaping.
7. Government Required Retrofits
California requires water heaters to be property strapped and working smoke detectors to be installed when a residential property is sold. We recommend getting these small tasks done ahead of time, so that they don’t delay your closing process. Depending on where your property is located, you may be subject to additional point of sale regulations. For example, many water districts require low-flow plumbing fixtures to be installed when a property is sold. Contact us to learn what might be required for your particular property.
Things to Remember:
- Everyone has their own tastes. When potential buyers tour your home, they need to be able to imagine themselves building a life there. A buyer’s personal taste is important to them, just like your taste is important to you. When making repairs and upgrades, stick to a neutral look that will work for many different tastes.
- Not all home improvements add value. Your return on investment is not the same for every type of improvement. Upgrades that almost everyone would want, such as fresh paint and re-finished floors, are typically the best place to spend money. Personal customizations and taste-specific finishes probably won’t increase your property’s value greater than the cost of the upgrade.