Where to Spend Your Money
When Listing Your Home For Sale
One of the most common questions that I receive from clients while we prepare their home for sale is, “What do I need to do to get my home ready?” If you have ever placed your home on the market for sale, you can understand that the process can very quickly become overwhelming. There is typically a long list of items that you could and/or should do. However, before you start spending all of your money left-and-right; it is very important to consult with your Realtor on where your money will be best spent to likely result in a faster home sale for a strong value.
When I do walk-throughs with clients to start making a "to-do" list, I am always surprised to hear some of the items that they anticipate needing to change before selling. Often times, I feel that clients have a misperception of what will be most beneficial to do before selling. And, typically, the perceived items are some of the most costly expenses. While it is always a case-by-case situation, here are some general suggestions of where to place your focus when deciding how to spend your money.
Like it or, not. Putting in a little sweat equity will always be the best use of your time and money. No one wants to buy a house that is a mess or cluttered. You want someone to be able to see the potential of what it would be like for them to live there. So, get your stuff out of the way!
De-clutter your spaces. Limit the number of personal items that are left out. Make sure that surfaces are clear. If you have excessive amounts of clothing, toys, books, etc, look into temporary storage options. Before you know it, you may have enough to fill a small storage unit
Clean everything. You want your house to be free of odors, stains and marks. Buyers that have a bad first impression of how your home smells or looks will almost always turn away without ever really looking at the home itself. Have your carpets professionally cleaned if you feel that the task would be overwhelming. Even if you feel that someone would want to replace the carpet, it is typically worth cleaning them so that it appears that you have tried to maintain your home.
Finish Your Projects. Did you start to add a chair rail in your dining room? Did you think that adding pavers would be a nice touch in your yard? If you have projects left on your to-do list – do them! No one wants to inherit a project that is not complete. Most likely, it will add value and is worth finishing.
When To Spend Money
If you are self-admittedly not handy, pay for a professional to complete some of your bucket list items. Remember that most home buyers hire a Home Inspector. If your work will not likely stand up to an inspection, save yourself the time and money and pay to have someone do it right the first time.
Plants & Lawn Care. One of the last things that you should do before listing your home for sale is to freshen up your outdoor spaces. Curb appeal is everything! If you can’t get buyers in the door, then your other efforts are useless. Without spending a lot of money, fresh mulch and some colorful potted plants can give your house a fresh look.
Paint. Again, if you are not comfortable doing this, hire a professional. However, buying paint and supplies is relatively inexpensive and the results can make a huge difference. If you have dark or unique colors and/or patterns, it is often best to update it with a more neutral color. If you have too many white walls, that can be a problem too. Even if you don’t paint a whole room, having an accent wall can give a room more character and make it feel more inviting.
Repairs. It can be easy to get carried away with making repairs and updates to your home. But, it is always good practice to take care of the minor repairs before buyers view your home. Viewing a home that seems like it has a long list of issues will cause buyers to feel that the home has not been cared for. And, it will directly correlate to whether or not you receive offers. And, will most certainly affect the price of the offers that are submitted.
Updates. While this suggestion is much lower on the list of recommendations, if your budget allows it, making a few simple updates to your home can go a long way. For example, do you have outdated lighting or fan fixtures? When pricing out a whole house, it can become costly very quickly. However, if you are able to make updates to the entryway area, family room and kitchen, those will be the most memorable to buyers. It is part of their first impression and will help your home stand out. This is a category that is most important to consult with a Real Estate Professional before spending money. It can be too easy to “over-improve” a space. Or, make decisions that are too taste specific. If you “over-improve” something, it essentially means that you spend more money on it vs. the value that you will receive back out of it. It is so important to know your local market and have help determining what is appropriate. Likewise, you could spend thousands of dollars re-finishing your hardwood floors. However, if the color of the finish is not appealing to the person buying the home, it may end up a complete waste of money.
Clearly, there are more factors than can be discussed. However, the most important take away is to consult with a professional before deciding how and where to invest your efforts. A little money can truly go a long way if it is done strategically. If you ever have questions and want to discuss how to prepare your home for sale – I would love to work with you!