Getting your home market ready can feel like a big undertaking. Do you need to repaint? Fix the leaky faucet? What about staging? Josh Alban offers 8 tips to help you know what to fix before selling your home.
What to Fix Before Selling Your Home
When you put your home on the market, you’ll start to notice the little repairs you never bothered to fix up while you lived there. A squeaky floorboard here, some peeling paint there, and maybe your landscaping isn’t as pretty as it used to be.
On the one hand, making your house as attractive as possible is a good way to bring in prospective buyers and offers. On the other, you don’t want to invest thousands of dollars in repairs and modifications that the new buyers would be happy to do themselves.
So how do you decide which repairs are worth your time? Here are a few tips.
Don’t Hesitate To Paint
Painting a home is one of the easiest ways to take it from dingy to dazzling. You can easily paint the interior yourself for minimal cost — you just need a few rollers, brushes, and the paint itself. Focus on light, neutral colors when you repaint. You never know what a potential buyer’s tastes might be, so you want them to see your home as a blank slate that they can redecorate to their own liking.
This is also a good time to strip off any interior wallpaper that might still be up. Wallpaper is dated and will make your home seem older than it needs to be — rent a steamer, scrape it all off, and paint the walls fresh.
When it comes to the exterior of the home, you probably don’t need to completely repaint unless the paint is noticeably cracked and peeling. Professionals can repaint your home for a few thousand dollars, so even if you do need to, you won’t break the bank.
Outside The House
If your house has a fence, make sure none of the boards are missing or broken. If you get new boards that don’t match the old ones, painting a fence is a relatively easy process. It’ll look nice to potential buyers, but you won’t spend too much building a fence that they might replace anyway.
Put some effort into lawn care in the months leading up to your listing — seeding, watering, fertilizing, and patching worn-out grass is inexpensive, but will make a world of difference when it comes to the appearance of your home’s exterior. Mow the yard as needed and pull weeds around sidewalks and fences.
Clear out any yard junk — branches, old trash bins, and the like — before you show the home. Again, you’re going for a look that’s neat, tidy, and easily adapted to whatever the new buyers want to do with the place.
Finally, a pressure washer is only around $50 to rent for the day from your local hardware store, but the difference it can make is astonishing. At low pressures, it’s great for cleaning up siding or garage doors. At high pressures, it can have cement driveways, stone paths, or brick stoops looking like new in no time.
In The Kitchen
Unless your kitchen is extremely dated — old appliances, linoleum floors, and other relics of the 70s — a full renovation probably isn’t worth it. While kitchens are one of the best areas of the house to renovate in terms of return on investment, it’s simply not necessary to invest thousands of dollars unless your REALTOR thinks it will make a big difference.
Instead, a new coat of paint and more modern fixtures on your cabinets can go a long way to modernizing a kitchen. Clean everything up and make sure all the appliances are in working order — new buyers don’t want to think that they’ll have to replace them as soon as they move in.
In The Bathroom
The bathroom is a similar story to the kitchen — as long as everything is clean and functional, you probably don’t need to do major renovations. Make sure there are no stains in the sink, tub, or toilet — you might have stopped noticing them a long time ago, but new buyers will see them immediately. Something as minor as a new toilet seat and new fixtures can improve the look of your bathroom to no end.
Another good place to look is at the grout. Chances are good that there are dark stains or black spots in your grout somewhere in your bathroom. It can be slightly time-consuming to clean, but bleach and brushes are inexpensive and will have your grout sparkling white again.
When showing your home, lighting can make a big difference in how open, airy, and spacious the home feels. Replace any old fixtures and bulbs with modern fixtures and LED bulbs — they’re brighter, more environmentally friendly, and provide a nice even white light that will make your home look great.
When you’re showing, ditch the heavy drapes in favor of light, translucent ones. They’ll reflect interior light and make the room brighter if you show at night, and they’ll let in natural daylight in the daytime.
Fix Your Floors
If you have hardwood floors, you can refinish them for a few dollars per square foot. Get rid of any scratches or furniture scuffs so they sparkle like new. At only a few hundred dollars for the whole house, it’s well worth the price.
If you have carpets, it’s best to have them professionally steam-cleaned. That will lift up almost any dirt and stains and rejuvenate your flooring nicely. If you’ve lived in the house for a long time and the carpets are visibly worn, it might be worthwhile to put in a reasonably-priced polyester cut-pile carpet. It’s not too expensive, will last the new owners at least five years, and if they don’t like it, they can replace it themselves.
Make Sure Everything Works
As you live in your home, it develops little foibles — a door that needs an extra shove to get it closed, a squeaky floorboard, or a missing bulb. You may have grown to live with them so that you don’t even notice them anymore, but a prospective buyer will notice them all.
Go around the house and tighten loose screws, touch up scuffed paint, clean windows, lubricate sliding doors, and anything else that you might have been putting off. It’s not that these little things will make a big difference in the value of the house, but if you don’t fix them, it gives the impression of a house that hasn’t been cared for as much as a new buyer might like.
Bring In The Pros
Hiring a cleaning service for the day is relatively inexpensive, and they have the tools and experience to clean every nook and cranny of your house much more quickly and thoroughly than you would. You don’t even have to make it a regular thing — just bring them in once when you’re ready to start showing and it should be easy to keep your house clean from there.
If you’re not sure what needs fixing, get advice from your local REALTOR®. They might even suggest hiring a home inspector. They’ll provide you a list of everything that might need fixing — from there, you can decide what to do yourself.
Josh Alban is the manager of Sloane’s Carpet Secret. Josh spent 15+ years in Silicon Valley working in technology and aerospace companies but came back to Colorado to work with his family and take Sloane’s to the next level. Josh’s family has been carpeting Colorado homes since the 1950’s – the family’s first store was on West Colfax back when it was a dirt road! The latest incarnation of Sloane’s has been open since 2005, providing deeply discounted luxury carpeting with slight imperfections. Sloane’s prides itself on providing personalized customer service, and a no-pressure buying process for anyone remodeling a home or property. Sloane’s believes that getting the best carpet for your home should be a simple, satisfying experience that doesn’t break the bank.