Ask the Home Advisor – What Improvements Are Needed When Selling

Q: My elderly mother just moved out of her home and we’re getting it ready to sell. It’s pretty dated, but I don’t want to spend any more than necessary to fix it up. What kind of improvements are needed to make it marketable?

A: We see situations like this all the time, and the answer always varies. The first question that we ask is: “What are the goals of the seller?”.   Money can be made by flipping your own house, but it also takes considerable time and money, and not everyone is in the position execute that strategy.

We always recommend that you start by clearing the house of unneeded items.  De-cluttering will make the home feel larger and have better flow.  Determine if fresh paint and new flooring are needed, since each can make a very strong visual impact. Have someone evaluate the condition of the roof, sewer, plumbing and utilities to see if repairs are necessary. Street appeal is very important, so spend some time outside the home fixing up the yard and making sure the home makes a good first impression.   Staging the home is the final piece to having your property really shine.

The bottom line is that you need to take a look at your specific home and your goals.  A good agent can take you through the process.  Whatever the strategy, we want to make sure that if you spend a nickel, you make a dime.

Ask the Home Advisor – Home Improvement ROI

Q: We’re getting our house ready to sell, but we’re not sure how much money we should sink into improvements. How do you figure out which improvements will be a good return on investment?

A: This is a question that comes up a lot with our clients that are getting ready to sell.The answer varies depending on what type of home you own.

If you are selling a home that is likely to be torn down or remodeled, you usually don’t  need to do much more than clean well  and make sure you highlight the features of the property vs. the features of the home.

However, the vast majority of homes are not being sold as remodel or tear down projects.  In those cases buyers are looking for a well-maintained property with charm.

To increase your home’s charm quotient,  painting the interior and exterior is relatively inexpensive and can give your property a fresh look.  Refinishing hardwood floors is another lower-cost investment that can make a significant impression on buyers.

As for home maintenance, items that will be called out on inspection and dealt with while negotiating the sale should be addressed prior to listing the home.  Your roof, sewer, plumbing, foundation and electrical system should be inspected prior to listing. You may or may not choose to fix the issues based on the cost of repairs, but you should know what to expect to give up in price concessions should that become part of negotiating the sale.

When it comes to high end homes, it can make sense to do more remodel work.  Buyers looking into these types of homes are attracted to finish work, functionality and spaces for entertaining.  They expect a high level of finishes and upgrades.  Remodeling to meet these expectations can be expensive, but will add to the value of the home.

Every home is different and decisions on improvements usually come down to price.  We always work with sellers to maximize their return on investment when preparing their home for sale.  Our goal is to make sure you that if you spend a nickel, you make a dime.

Here’s a link to what various home remodeling projects cost in our area.