“Must Do NOW” priority items to fix before selling
You can increase perceived value and perhaps the estimated market value when you prepare your home to sell. By Ed Westerman, Broker Country Lifestyle Realty, L.L.C. Call or Text 417-844-2626
What you do or what can you leave undone can have dramatic affect on the sale. Some of these items obviously need to be first on your list to make your home sellable. Many sellers just list as is and hope for the best. These days, buyers are more prepared and therefore will demand more from a house they choose to review. As a seller you will be wise to do a carefully planned “home selling preparation” which may require some repairs and presentation planning.
Look for and repair if necessary any structural, mechanical defects, and/or non-structural items including roof. Items, like the ones listed here, either inside or out, can affect loans available to potential buyers or even insurability. This does not say all have to be replaced, but certainly they should be looked at and considered in your plan.
It would be wise to prioritize items, doing ones that will be most noticeable first, and when possible, fix these items before any inspectors or appraiser arrive.
- Clean up and de-clutter inside & out: Photos can really impress the buyers “first impression”. Will they be good or bad impressions of your property? Remember to consider how your home will appear in the many photos that will be taken by your selling agent, appraiser, and inspector. Photos will appear on a multitude of websites and maybe printed advertisements.
- Review and improve “Curb Appeal”: First impressions are extremely important, and are made from the outside when buyers first arrive at you home. Will it have the “wow” effect or not. Eye appeal, good or bad, will establish the “first impression”. Landscaping will dominate the curb appeal; so consider new plants, fresh mulch, trimming bushes and tree limbs, and mowing of course.
- Roof age and condition: Inspectors or Appraiser will look at roof and may list roof condition in reports. Then, the condition might become a condition of a loan, especially when it comes to FHA and VA financing.
- Heating & Air Conditioning: Be aware of seasonal operations. In summer, they will still check the furnace is operational.
- Electrical, including the panel: All fixtures work, all outlets work, and have proper trim plates.
- Plumbing pipes and dripping leaks: Check faucets indoors and out as well as commodes.
- Water Heater: Will be looked at by inspectors and appraisers. Is yours up to date, properly installed, and working as intended?
- Water Pressure system [when on well]: Will be looked at by inspectors. Water pressure can be reflected in how well faucets function.
- Water Softeners or water filters: Will be looked at by inspectors. Does filter need changing? This too can show up in how well your faucets function.
Exterior: Siding, windows, brick, gutters and downspouts may need some attention. Do you see any rotting wood, or trim that needs painting or replacing?
Interior cosmetics: Buyers will be motivated to buy based on what they see. Review your interior in detail. How might the following items affect your buyer’s first impression?
- Worn paint or scratched moldings or doors.
- Wall Paint or Wallpaper: Try to stay neutral in colors you change, but do not do all white.
- Appliances and sinks cleaned.
- Light fixtures, ceiling fans, switch and outlet covers, bulbs etc.
- Front door: For best eye appeal, will it need fresh paint or hardware? And what about the storm door?
- Kitchen: Is usually of prime importance to buyers. Perhaps you could wash down your cabinets with a degreaser type cleaner and then wipe them down to give maximum shine. Hardware will stand out after cabinet cleaning so you might want to clean the hardware as well. If hardware is worn, replacement might be in order.
- Baths: Clean and fresh as well as fresh towels, shower curtains and accessories the day of showing. Will your walls, tile, or floors need some extra attention? Many times caulking touchup is necessary.
- Floors: Buyers will be impressed if they walk in on new floors whether laminate, tile, or carpet. If this is not in the budget, then a thorough dust removal and floor cleaning is absolutely necessary.
If budgeting for these items is not possible you might get estimates of costs involved to repair or replace each item. Then you could offer to reduce selling price, contribute to closings costs of buyer, or even provide a home warranty that could provide some coverage should something fail.
Which items on your list are most likely to increase the market value of your home? If your agent has experience in this area, ask him/her.
Of course you are selling a used home so making it perfect may be impractical. Knowing improvements can result in a quicker sale, and at best selling price, you should ask yourself, “What will be doable for me and my budget”. Then get it done before listing.