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What to do when getting ready to sell?

David Dorman

What should I do when I am getting ready to sell?

I look at a lot of houses. It comes with the territory. Many time I see homes that I feel would sell much better with just a few tweaks and others need an “extreme makeover”. This month I wanted to go over a few things that I have discussed on the past with clients regarding home improvement prior to listing. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your home more attractive and sell faster.

I tend to look at things differently with my sellers. Let’s be honest, no one wants to spend money to sell a house if they aren’t going to see a benefit from it. I’ve heard agents say the most ridiculous things to sellers to try and get their house ready and these so called “repairs” bring little to no value to the home. I tend to do the “should do” and “could do” list. If the repair is definitely needed, it’s under “should do” and if it would improve the home but not break the bank, it’s under “could do”. For example, if you have an active roof leak, broken window or massive amounts of wood rot, those would fall under should do. If your home could use some freshening up with new paint, caulking or landscaping, that falls under could do. We’ve all heard the term sweat equity, and that’s what I try to work into the home. Most folks are able to spread a few bags of mulch and add some annuals. Sometimes it’s as easy as just moving some things around. My point is that while it would be totally great if you repainted the entire house and re-did the carpet, the value would not be returned. The same goes for massive updates. Unless you are going to do the work yourself, it’s probably not a great return on investment for a sale. What I find works is when the seller and I walk the home and jot down the items that draws attention to the eye. I also look for little things that while they don’t add value, they add cleanliness or similar to a buyer. Take for example caulking. A simple task that costs very little. The result is however a clean look. It shows the seller has taken care of the home. Replacing light bulbs also is important. Little things that help the feel of the home. Replacing carpet can go either way. If it’s drastically needed, sometime that can be a big benefit since when buyers estimate the replacement cost of carpet, they will likely over-estimate. Same goes for a roof. I recommend you get estimates for big ticket items so you know how to counter them when they are brought up. It all really comes down to what you are competing against in your area. If in doubt, go on market a few weeks and see what the feedback is. You never know, you might find the right person who wants to make all of the changes themselves and are willing to buy the property as is. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a home only to have it ripped out. Do your homework. See what is selling around you and try to be competitive if possible. Sometimes it’s worth the investment.


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