As soon as people realize that they’re going to put their home on the market and attempt to sell it, their attention immediately goes towards fixing the property up in order to maximize the sale price. But is totally renovating the house prior to listing really the best strategy? The simple answer is no.
When selling, there are some repairs that make sense and other repairs that don’t. You want to make sure you’re doing the former and not wasting your time on the latter.
Answer These Questions
In a moment, we’re going to dig into the intricacies of preparing your home for listing by mentioning specific items that should and should not be fixed up. But first, you need to answer a few questions. Your answers will help you determine how to proceed from a big-picture perspective. In other words, is it better to fix one or two things here and there, or do you need a full-on remodel?
- How Quickly Are You Trying to Sell?
Let’s start with timing. Do you need to sell your home immediately – for example, within the next month? This is usually the case when you’re moving out of state for a job, have already reached a contract on another property, or need to complete the transaction for tax purposes. If so, you probably don’t have time to renovate or fix up very much.
Do you have an indefinite period of time to sell? If you’re just selling because you want something new, then you have plenty of time to prepare the house for the market and don’t have to stress over time. This is the ideal situation, as it allows you to pick and choose what you’ll fix.
- Is it a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market?
Which side is controlling the current market in your area? If it’s a cold, slow-moving market, then buyers have the upperhand. If it’s a fast-moving market with multiple offers being placed on every listing, then you have some leverage as the seller.
In a buyer’s market, you may have to fix up certain things in order to make your property attractive enough to sell. However, in a seller’s market, you may be able to get top dollar without touching a thing.
- What Does the Competition Look Like?
Finally, you need to take an honest look at the competition. What are similar properties in your area doing? Does every other listing have a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, while your kitchen hasn’t been updated since the 70s? Look at design trends like these and try to bring your home up to par.
Fix These Things
If you decide that you have the time to undertake some projects (or hire someone to do them for you) and the market necessitates something better than what you already have, then you should get started as soon as possible. The key is to only fix things that will bring you a return. Here are some examples:
- Structural and mechanical. Buyers don’t want to deal with big-ticket items after purchase. You need to deal with things like an aging roof, compromised foundation, broken HVAC unit, and deteriorating pipes.
- Exterior issues. Is the siding molding? Dead spots in the lawn? Cracked driveway? These cosmetic issues can be fixed easily and cheaply and make a big difference. Curb appeal upgrades can bring you a huge return on your investment.
- The kitchen is a big deal to buyers. Thankfully, you can replace a backsplash, add a new countertop, and paint the walls without spending a fortune. The same goes for master bathrooms. People love having an updated master bath and – whether consciously or subconsciously – will pay extra for it.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it does provide you with a little guidance. Fixing these things will most likely allow you to list your property for more.
Leave These Alone
But not everything that’s old, broken, or dated needs to be fixed. The future buyer can always handle these issues after they purchase. Plus, if you’re in a seller’s market and comparable listings in your area aren’t fixing things up either, you won’t lose a dime. Here are some examples of things that can be left alone:
- While it’s nice to have stainless steel appliances, you don’t need to upgrade to the nicest solutions on the market. As long as what you have isn’t super dated, you’re fine.
- Drafty windows. Replacing old windows can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But if you won’t be there to reap the benefits of new energy efficient windows, why spend the money? They may not even bother the buyer. Let them make the investment in the future if they feel so inclined.
- Painted walls. If you’ve spent much time attending open houses or checking out real estate listings online, then you know that everyone has their own style. Instead of spending thousands of dollars applying a fresh coat of paint to your walls, leave it to the buyer. They can paint the walls whatever color they want.
There are situations in which it’s better to fix these items – such as in an extremely cold market where buyers have the clear upperhand – but in most cases, you’re better off (financially) leaving them alone.
Contact Green Residential
At Green Residential, we know exactly what it takes to sell properties at top dollar. And we work hard to ensure you get to keep more of your money at the closing table. We do this by circumventing the typical six percent commission structure and instead offering a flat rate fee. Our flat rate fee can save you as much as $4,000 on a $400,000 home. Now that’s something to write home about!
If you’re interested in learning more about the advantages of working with a flat rate realty company like Green Residential, please feel free to contact us today. We’d be happy to discuss the details and help you get started.