A client called recently with a question that we frequently field: “We plan on putting our home up for sale next month and we’re wondering, aside from cleaning the home really well, are there any repairs that sellers commonly overlook? We want to make sure that the house is ready to sell for our price.”
Certain repairs simply must be made before putting your home on the market. A leaky roof, broken windows and an inoperable furnace aren’t going to fly with buyers. Other fixes, however, aren’t as important but they may help sell the house.
“You want to spend as little as you possibly can on the improvements that make the most sense, and ignore the ones that you’re really dreaming about because you’ll never get your money back,” Barbara Corcoran tells The Today Show.
First impressions matter
One of the best fixes you can make for the money is anything that is wrong with the home’s exterior, visible from the street. In other words, give the place some curb appeal by fixing all of the following:
- Sagging and/or torn window and front-door screens
- Peeling paint on railings or trim
- Leaves, weeds in the gutters
- Dead or dying landscaping
- Dirty windows
Consider giving the front door a fresh coat of paint, adding a new welcome mat, new house numbers and freshening up the mailbox.
If the lawn is beyond help, installing sod will give the home’s exterior instant curb appeal. Keep in mind that “You can lay sod anytime during the growing season, although spring and early autumn are best—cool temperatures combined with occasional rain help sod quickly root,” suggests Viveka Neveln, garden editor at Better Homes and Garden.
Unless they’re high-end and impeccably clean, it may be worth it to remove the carpets and install luxury vinyl plank flooring.
Not only has vinyl plank flooring landed at the top of the majority of young homebuyers’ wish lists, but “Homes with luxury vinyl flooring in the listing description can sell for 1.7 percent more and nearly 4 days faster than expected,” claims Terri Williams at RealSimple.com.
To put it in ROI terms, the experts at HomeAdvisor.com has “… the average homeowner paying $2,433 for vinyl …” flooring. The ROI on this project is more than $3500.
Walls and Baseboards
New paint on the walls is an inexpensive way to completely change a room from dull and outdated to fresh and contemporary. Since you’re trying to sell your home and not prepare it for its 15 minutes of fame on HGTV, stick to neutral colors.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to stick with the boring beige or even white. Neutral colors that are attractive on walls include different shades of gray or a gray-blue, a muted robin’s egg blue-green and some of the beige shades that lean to the color of café au lait.
Yes, they’re close to the ground and it’s easy to think that nobody notices them, but baseboards grab attention – especially if they are clean or freshly painted. Sometimes all it takes is a swipe with a Magic Eraser to remove the scuffs. If you paint the walls, don’t neglect the baseboards.
Lighten and brighten
Dim houses feel closed-in while light and bright spaces make the home look larger. There are lots of ways to fix a dark home. Open all the window coverings before a showing and wash the windows to let in as much natural light as possible.
If you’ll be marketing the home when the weather turns gloomy, consider buying new light fixtures and lamps. It may seem like an expensive undertaking but consider this: New lighting increases the home’s perceived value for buyers.
Fix plumbing problems
Leaky faucets and running toilets tell buyers two things: the home hasn’t been maintained and there may be a big repair bill down the line.
Minor plumbing repairs aren’t difficult to do yourself if you have the proper tools. Otherwise hire a plumber or handyman to fix the leaks and drips before the house goes on the market.
These are just a few minor fixes you may want to perform, before listing your home for sale. Take a walk around both the outside and the inside of your home and try to see it through a stranger’s eyes. You’ll be surprised what will catch your attention and, perhaps, make it onto your repair list.