It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when planning your sale, and it’s easy to wonder whether your home is up to snuff to attract an acceptable offer. There’s a lot of prep work needed to get a home ready to sell, and that can include not only repairs but updates.
It makes some homeowners wonder if they are doing everything correctly, including making the right choices in which updates to do and then doing them in a way that makes sense financially and to appeal to potential buyers. It goes without saying that certain repairs and updates are definitely worth undertaking, as they typically yield a high return on investment, even if they may be a little costly. Others can be a waste of time and money that could be saved or spent in other ways to improve the appeal of the home.
As a place to start, a good rule of thumb is that obvious defects (e.g., broken fixtures or appliances) or non-operable systems (e.g., heating system or leaky roof) around the house should be fixed before the home goes on the market. This could also include things like environmental or safety hazards, pest infestations, drainage issues, to structural or foundation issues.
All of these will most likely be discovered during the home inspection process which can lead to a reduced sales price or a buying party walking away from a viable offer due to an inspection contingency.
Think long and hard when you start calculating what areas of the home you want to spend money on. While there are non-negotiable tasks that need to be completed before your sale is finalized, such as cleaning, decluttering, and enhancing your curb appeal – there are some things you can consider crossing off that to-do list from the very beginning, because they won’t necessarily offer huge financial returns when the property is sold.
1. Extensive and (Potentially) Unnecessary Updates
While it’s important to keep your home in line with the homes in your neighborhood both internally and externally, don’t get carried away. Installing regular tile in the bathroom for an update over the dirty and old linoleum will be a smart update but there’s not much value in having the finest Italian terrazzo tile installed. There is definitely a point of diminishing returns when it comes to spending on updates.
Choose nice quality, attractive materials and finishes rather than your personal favorite or expensive options. Think of selections through the buyer’s eyes. If you’re unsure whether the repair or renovation you have in mind is in line with this advice, consult your real estate agent before making any big moves.
Do a little math on how much your repair costs would be and compare that amount with how much you could reasonably stand to sell your home for – and see if the profit is worth the risk.
Above all, don’t start a task you can’t finish! If your real estate agent says that the state of the bathroom, kitchen, or of any other room or area in the house is something that should be fixed if you want to make a profit on the sale, doing the job halfway won’t do you any favors.
If you have a limited amount of money available to spend on renovations and repairs, spreading things out so you are able to make minor renovations to a number of different rooms will likely have little or no benefit. If you are planning to update a room, rather go all the way and make it shine. Kitchens and bathrooms are key impression makers for potential buyers.
Remember, there’s no point in replacing worn-out countertops, but leaving the weathered kitchen cabinets and worn out flooring the way they are.
A partial fix is as good as no fix at all. Speak to your real estate agent about those areas of your house that have the potential of yielding the best return on investment and focus on making these look really good. Remember to always do your research, secure a few quotes if you’re using a contractor, and check the availability of materials like appliances, cabinets, lumber, if required.
2. Expensive Staging Services
After the repairs and cleaning has been done, dressing up your home and making strategic cosmetic changes is an essential component of a successful sale. The good news is that In a fast-moving market like the current one where home listings are limited, you don’t need to spend extra money on a staging service.
Here’s the bottom line: buyers simply need to be able to easily envision themselves within the home. This means muted paint colors, tasteful furniture, and decor that gently accentuates the home. Those bright orange walls in the kitchen or lime green bedroom you loved so much two decades ago can be painted in a neutral gray in a matter of a day and only a gallon or two of paint. So skip the staging consult and focus on the simple, quick updates to neutralize it and of course declutter.
Lastly, be sure to remove all aspects of ‘day-to-day life.’ While that might seem strange to do, removing photos, marked-up calendars, knick-knacks, and other personal items can be helpful for a potential buyer as they look through the home to allow them to imagine themselves in the space without any potential distractions.
3. Ultra-Trendy Renovations
If you do need to perform repairs or renovations, ensure the end result is tasteful and as neutral as possible. Stick to the classic rather than the crazy (like the aforementioned green bedroom or orange kitchen)! Keeping things neutral when doing repairs ensures that you can cast your net as wide as possible when appealing to prospective buyers. While a shiny, mirror finish backsplash might appeal to you, it could be a turn off for buyers. Again: trends are mostly fleeting – don’t opt for trendy colors when you repaint, as these might be out the door in a year or two.
Most real estate agents advise home sellers to repaint rooms in neutral colors, as this appeals to the largest group of potential buyers. Keep in mind that the buyers will likely want to redecorate according to their own preferences once they have bought the house so keeping things neutral gives their imagination more space to explore.
Trends are interesting, especially with user engagement apps like TikTok and Instagram. They’re also fickle, fade fast, and can be location specific. This means that what might look stylish and trendy to you might look gaudy to a prospective buyer with different tastes.
The Bottom Line
Bear in mind that you may not actually need to update as much as you might think to put your home on the market. Just because your home isn’t decked out with the newest, trendiest decor doesn’t mean that a prospective buyer won’t want to put in an offer. Plus, many potential buyers will want to make it their own using their color palettes and style selections. Stick to taking care of essential repairs and correcting any obvious eyesores.
The key points to remember are ensuring that your home gets a nice, deep clean and decluttering, the exterior of your home is well kept, and any significant safety issues are dealt with. This may be something you consider hiring externally for depending on what needs fixing or updating.
In The End, Know You Have Another Option
At Homestead Road, we buy homes in any condition, as-is so you don’t have to even think about updates, and all the cleaning, repairs and decluttering. In addition, there are no showings or open houses.
Quite simply, we know selling a home can be a lot of work, time and money and we are simply here to help homeowners move forward, faster so they can get on with their lives. We use a streamlined and transparent process where you’ll be working personally with one of our home sales advisors who live in and know your local community. Best of all, we put your needs first and work on your timeline.