Get Your Home Ready To Sell
A common mistake people make is to spend a lot of money – renovations, new roof, remodeling. While buyers will be impressed with these things, spending $5000 on remodeling will not add $5000 to your sale. Spend as little money as possible, and spend it on cosmetic, readily seen features like interior painting. The time to remodel is when you plan to stay in the house, not when you’re going to sell.
If you think about everything that needs to be done to sell your house, you might throw your hands up in despair, or at least feel some anxiety. Take one step at a time, one small task at a time. Break it down to manageable-sized chores and you’ll have better results.
First things first – have a garage sale. Whatever doesn’t sell needs to be set out for a Disabled American Veterans or Association of Retarded Citizens pickup. Once the clutter is cleared away, it will be easier to see what needs to be done.
This is your first impression, so it had better be a good one.
l Edge, mow and fertilize the lawn regularly. Make sure it’s well watered and reseed any sparse areas.
- Put a bright coat of paint on your mailbox.
- Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly. Cut back overgrown shrubbery that looks scraggly or keeps light out of the house.
- Buy a new welcome mat.
- Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling, and reseal if possible.
- If you have siding or brick, power-wash it. If you have a painted exterior, consider repainting in a neutral shade. This is especially important if there is any peeling.
- Make sure the porch light works.
- Clean and align gutters and downspouts.
- Inspect and clean the chimney.
- lf the doorbell doesn’t work, repair or replace it.
- Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
- Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
- Remove oil stains from driveway and garage.
- If you’re selling in the winter, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.Otherwise, keep the walks and driveway swept.
- Repair broken outdoor steps.
- Spring for some brightly colored potted outdoor flower arrangements for the front yard near the entrance.
- Keep your garage door closed.
- Wash the windows inside and out.
- Store RVs, boats and extra vehicles (anything that can’t be parked in the garage) elsewhere while the house is on the market.
- Paint the front door.
- If prospective buyers walk into your house greeted by the smell of cat litter, cigarette smoke, mildew or pet accidents, there is little chance that even a reduced sales price will persuade them to buy. So the first thing to do:
- Clean, clean, clean. This includes walls, floors, inside closets and cabinets – everything. If you must, hire a cleaning service to come in and do the job.
- Get rid of clutter. Put away appliances you normally leave on countertops. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Clean out your closets, garage, basement and attic.
- Paint the walls and ceilings a neutral color – off white or beige.
- Repair cracks, holes and damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
- Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
- Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
- Buy new cabinet knobs and curtains for the kitchen.
- Shampoo all carpets, scrub and wax linoleum, wash and wax wood floors.
- Unclog slowly draining sinks and tubs.
- Clean out the fireplace and lay some logs in it.
- lMend torn screens. Clean out all window tracks.
- Check to see that all windows will open and close.
- Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use brighter light bulbs.
- Make sure every light switch works.
- Nail down any creaking boards or stair treads (drive two long finishing nails at opposing angles through the floor and sub-floor into the joist).
- Lubricate any squeaking doors
- Remove excess, worn or unattractive furniture.
- Thoroughly clean all appliances (especially re
- Clear all cobwebs from corners and doorways.
- Wash all light switches, handrails and doorknobs.
On Showing Days
- Keep draperies and shades open to let in the light.
- Place fresh flowers throughout the house.
- Have your home well-lit during showing.
- At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.
- Set out colorful, luxurious towels in the bathroom.
- Avoid having dirty dishes in the sink or on counters.
- Keep any toys in the children’s rooms, bikes, wagons and skateboards in the garage.
- Play pleasant music at low volume.
- Spend the day of an open house away from home.
- Leave pets outdoors.
- Unless you’re selling it yourself, let the agent show your house, and don’t tag along.
How to Increase Your Home's Value
Before you begin any value-increasing projects, remember not to raise the value of your property too far above others in the neighborhood. People who want expensive homes shop exclusively in pricier neighborhoods. A good rule of thumb: keep the value of your property within 15 to 20 percent of your neighbors’.
Project (average cost recouped, national) according to Realtor Magazine:
Minor kitchen remodel (88%)
Bathroom remodel (85%)
Major kitchen remodel (81%)
Family room addition (80%)
Deck addition (77%)
Master suite (75%)
Attic bedroom (74%)
Siding replacement (73%)
Window replacement (69%)
Home office (55%)
Projects that may increase your home’s value include: Jacuzzi (4 jets or more); permanent hot tub; in-ground pool with nice deck area; security system; sprinkler system; substantial out buildings such as a two-car garage or finished workshop; and vaulted or trey ceilings. Think twice about the following projects however, as they may not add value to your house: above-ground pool; ceiling fans; garden pond; and light fixtures.
Some tips when attempting value-increasing remodeling:
- Remodel with mass appeal in mind. Potential buyers are usually attracted more to neutral, mainstream design.
- Don’t go cheap when it comes to construction. Use durable, quality materials. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, honestly evaluate your ability to do it right.
- Don’t remodel in a different style from the rest of the house. Additions and improvements that look “tacked on” may detract from a home’s appeal.
- Turning a bedroom into a bathroom is a mistake – it reduces the number of bedrooms, a chief selling point.
- Don’t do a $30,000 kitchen remodel in a $100,000 house – unless you plan to continue living there. It is a waste of money.
Make sure the outside of your home is spic-and-span. Clean out the gutters. Wash the windows and remove cobwebs and bugs. Trim the hedges, cut and edge the lawn, sweep the sidewalks and driveway. Plant some colorful flowers out front. You may want to add to or improve your landscaping while you’re at it.
According to a study conducted by Money Magazine, landscaping may be the best investment to improve a home's value. The study found that well-planned, attractive landscaping was estimated to have an actual recovery rate 100 to 200 percent higher than a kitchen or bathroom renovation.
What an amazing year 2015 was for home sellers, and 2016 promises to be even better. By December of 2015, with 5.26 million sales, we had seen a more robust housing market than we've seen since 2006. In fact, as of early 2016, America's housing market had spent 43 consecutive months as a seller's market. Lawrence Yun, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) chief economist chalks up the heavy sales volume to "the prospect of higher mortgage rates in coming months and warm November and December weather."