Some homeowners believe that since they won’t be living there anymore, there is no sense spending money trying to make everything in their old house bright, shiny and new. Other homeowners believe the opposite, that buyers simply won’t bite if their home isn’t the epitome of cutting-edge. So, which group is right? Should you invest everything in fixing up your old property, or should you let sleeping dogs lie?
The truth is that to get the best price on your home – without wasting any time and money – you should practice a complex mix of renovations, repairs and leaving-be. Here’s some direction to help you fix up and sell your home fast and profitably.
Know What Homebuyers Want
The truth is you shouldn’t be doing much guesswork when it comes to selling your house. Just as your real estate agent is applying a complex mathematical formula to determine how much to list your home for, you should be doing in-depth research on buyers in your area to determine what fixes you should perform before you sell. Buyer attributes like age, profession and marital status are of utmost importance, as are their design preferences. You can find this kind of information online, through your real estate agent or by paying attention to other sales in your neighborhood – their styles, their amenities, their condition, etc. Then, you should try to see your home with a similar buyer’s eye.
List What’s Wrong
As you walk around your home with your buyer’s eye, you should be noting what immediately jumps out as wrong. You might even list things that you know to be defective or worn out but that a buyer might not immediately see. These should include cracks and holes in the walls, leaking faucets and pipes, outdated appliances, unconventional color schemes, dead landscaping and more. This list could be long or short, depending on the age of your home and how much you invested in improving and maintaining it. If you find you aren’t good at recognizing your home’s flaws, you should ask a friend or family member who doesn’t live there to run their eyes over your place and add to your list.
Focus on the Cosmetic
Next, you need to prioritize. Not every item on your list is worth your time or money to fix; you should focus your efforts on those that your buyer is most likely to see and dislike.
First and foremost, you should fix any water-related issues. Water stains are scary to any buyer, even if they are decades old. You should repair any sections of ceiling, wall or floor that appear to have water damage – and fix the underlying issue while you are at it.
Next, you should tackle other glaring cosmetic issues. Broken windows are huge issues, and cracks and holes in the walls and ceiling should also be addressed. Larger-scale problems, like a visibly non-operational roof or tattered and stained carpeting, should either be taken care of or deducted from the price of your home.
Any issues your buyers can’t see shouldn’t take up much space in your remodeling budget. Your sewer line might not be ideal, but unless your buyers perform a sewer inspection, they won’t think to care about it during the buying process. Plus, if you get them to fall in love with the look and feel of the house, they won’t care about underlying issues like that.
Cover the Rest With a Warranty
Your buyers especially won’t care about certain potential issues if they know you are guaranteeing your hoes with a home warranty. Home warranty companies ensure the continued function of certain critical home systems, including the roof, the HVAC, plumbing and home appliances like the water heater, refrigerator, oven, and stove. In this market, home sellers pay for one year of coverage on their homes as a good-faith gesture that their properties are high-quality. Homeowners can also purchase warranties for their house, should they wish to avoid the hassle of repairs and replacements.
You don’t want to build a whole new house, but you probably don’t want to leave your house as-is, either. Do your research on your local market, make small but noticeable changes to your home, and you will attract the buyers you need to sell your house quickly and at a favorable price.