To Fix or Not to Fix: Home Renovation Tips For Sellers

Home renovations for selling

"To fix, or not to fix?" It's the question all homeowners should ask themselves when they consider home renovations before selling their home.

The first item on the fix-it list: clear the clutter! If your closets, attic, basement, garage, and other storage areas appear neat, half-full and organized, your house will seem to have more storage space. To accomplish the clutter - clearing task, empty the house, hold a garage sale, and use the profits to help offset the next set of fix-it priorities.

Check your house for "curb appeal". The exterior is the first impression a prospective buyer has of your home. Make it as inviting as you can. Think of it as outside decorating. Clean (or paint, if necessary) the exterior, re-sod brown spots and crab grass, mow the lawn, pull weeds, remove dead trees or plants, and trim the shrubs.

Flowers give warmth and personality to a home. Plant them tastefully in pots or beds at the entrance, on decks and around patios. If it isn't flower season, at least clean the beds, remove the dead leaves, and cover the ground with fresh wood chips or other clean looking mulch.

If you have a limited budget, make the most of it. Put the money where it is most obviously needed and most visible. Your real estate agent will be able to let you know which upgrades typically have the best return-on-investment and which ones you can do without.

How To Get Your Home Ready To Sell

1. Fix Little Things

Take care of the little obvious things: fixing a home to sell can include easy updates like correcting leaking faucets, stop running toilets, replace broken windows, kill pet or mildew odors, repair holes in screens, remove mildew from tile, and re-caulk around bathtubs and sinks. Walk around; look at your house with a prospective buyer's eyes. Small things tell buyers whether or not a house has been maintained.

fixing a home to sell

2. Freshen Up With New Paint

A coat of light-colored, neutral paint—white or off-white—will make your home's interior look crisper, cleaner, and also larger.

Many buyers may not be able to imagine their sofa in your décor. White interiors work for the greatest number of people without their having to redecorate immediately. If you just moved, would you want to redo every room?

3. Focus On The Floor

If the carpet is in reasonable condition, have it shampooed. If it is worn, threadbare or a non-neutral color, consider replacing it with beige or gray, or even ripping it out to replace it with hardwood or laminate flooring. You do not need to purchase the best quality money can buy. Lifetime wear is not required, you just need it to look great now. Neutral walls and carpet don't offend anyone. Almost all furnishings look good with them. Rental property managers know this and have been doing it for years.

4. Have A Professional Inspect Your Home Before The Buyer Does

Consider having your house inspected by qualified inspector when readying for a sale. Safety, and health-related items, such as radon and electrical problems, could kill a sale if not properly attended. It is much better to fix these items on your own time schedule and financial terms than hurriedly during a contract negotiation. Roof leaks, even if inactive, are also major deal breakers.

What else do you fix amongst the inspector's flagged items? Unless you can realistically get money back, fix only the problems with major systems. You want to keep your home's selling price as low as possible to increase the pool of buyers.

5. Hire An Agent To Showcase & Sell Your Home

Do not undertake any major remodeling in preparation for sale. It places more limitations on the size of your buyer pool. Tastes vary, and some people will dislike the results of your efforts. You will have to raise your selling price to reflect your fix-up investment, thereby pricing your home out of the range of other potential buyers. A neutral color scheme in a house that sparkles brings you the highest return in the shortest time.

A real estate agent can help you determine which upgrades are worthwhile and which ones you can do without. Plus, they'll market your home to prospective buyers and ensure that you're getting the maximum exposure that your home deserves. From setting a fair price or negotiating the sale, they'll take care of everything so that you can enjoy the benefits of a stress-free sale. 

Questions About Selling Your Santa Cruz Home?

Readying for sale gives up-to-date information, news and real estate market advice for buyers and sellers in Santa Cruz.

Lauren Spencer has been consistently voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise.

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