If you want to sell your home, then you want to get top dollar; and to make sure you get top dollar, you have to first make sure it’s in top condition. Making improvements before you put your home on the market can make a big difference. Here is some expert advice when it comes to home improvement projects.
Of course it makes sense to invest your money in the things that will give you the most return, so for someone who is getting ready to list their home, is it better to put it up “as is”, or should they look at investing in some repairs or fixtures and so forth?
Overall, my years in the real estate business have taught me that it’s best not to put a lot of money into a home at the time of sale because it’s really hard to capture those dollars. But in this type of market you almost have to do certain things in order to make your home sellable. Many times the term “as is” freaks people out. When people see the words “as is” on a listing they become afraid that there is some sort of inherent problem with the property that they may not know about.
Does the price point of your listing determine the type of improvements you should make to your home?
Yes, absolutely; certain home improvement projects fall in line with certain price points. For example, I recently sold a home for $160,000 where the current owners had put in $25,000 into the kitchen, $5,000 into the front door, and over $30,000 into the driveway; that’s over $60,000 of improvements, but it was still a $160,000 home. Now some improvements that we do over the years we need to just look at as personal enjoyment. But when it comes time to look at your investment, certain things in certain price points just do not pay back; they help the home become sellable – maybe a choice over another home – but you’re not going to get those dollars back. So you really need to talk to an expert to figure out what’s worth doing to make the house sell.
What kinds of investments or repairs make sense for a house that is listed at $200,000 or lower?
At this price point, it is just generally sprucing the property up and doing those updates that are really “yelling” at you when you walk in the house. But overall, paint and carpet is where you need to stop as far as big improvements.
What if the house is listed above $200,000?
In today’s world, if you’re listed above $200,000 you’re probably looking at considering granite counter tops; granite is becoming far more important to consider. For flooring, even though people have been putting down that laminate flooring – the type that looks like hardwood – I would not recommend that at all when your home is priced over $200,000 because more and more people are finding that they do not like it. Be careful when you are making those types of improvements that you’re going to get your money back out of it.
Before putting your home on the market, what are some of the things you should take care of regardless of the price point?
I think it’s really important that everybody remember that it’s still a beauty contest and a price war. You’ve got to take care of those beauty items; make sure that there are no defects that are going to “yell” at you when you walk in the front door.
Make sure that the holes in the walls and ceiling are patched and that all the appliances and the heating and cooling system (HVAC) are working. This summer I was showing a property where the HVAC system wasn’t working right and it was so hot in the house that the buyer ran right back out.
Make sure the leaky faucets are taken care of, replace worn carpet, make sure any loud wallpaper is taken care of and neutralized by repainting walls in neutral colors. Replace broken windows, change out dated light fixtures and ceiling fans, replace old linens and window coverings. Again, take care of any obvious things that can make a home not show its best. You should strive to get your home to look like one of the model homes that you’ve been in before; this will help a buyer imagine what it’s like to live in your home.