Renovations, Repairs, and Improvements

When a homeowner decides to sell their home, they must decide what renovations, repairs or improvements should be done to fix their property. Often homeowners fall into two extreme groups: those wanting to do nothing or those wanting to fix everything. Usually, neither of these extremes is the right choice.

The first step for most homeowners is to decide whether they want to sell in "mint" or "as is" condition. "Mint" condition means near "move-in" condition. Usually this includes neutral colored paint and carpet, no wallpaper, and electricity, plumbing, and fixtures that have been updated or replaced. The entire home should be fresh, clean, and immaculate. "As is" condition can be anything from dirty, to broken down and in need of repairs, to outdated carpet, paint, or fixtures.

The truth is that homes that are in mint condition will sell for more money than homes that need to be fixed up. The reason for this is fairly simple - most buyers don't have the time or energy to do the work. They also might not have the money to finance a major renovation or perhaps they simply don't want to do it. This is not to say that you need to renovate everything possible to reap the most benefit out of the sale of your home. Instead, you simply need to clear away the clutter, look at the bare bones of your home, and do what is possible and necessary before you sell your home.

Choosing Your Renovations and Repairs Wisely

Before you run out and start pricing new carpet and bathtubs, look at what renovations are wise when preparing to sell your home. Many renovations may not return 100 percent of your investment, so deciding which repairs to do can be difficult. Exterior repairs you might want to consider are things such as repainting the exterior, repairing broken steps, replacing broken windows, fixing the roof, or replacing gutters. Interior renovations to be considered could include cosmetic changes (like replacing carpeting or repainting), household repairs (fixing hinges or tightening doorknobs), or replacing old or broken appliances. Things you shouldn't try to fix are gutting a bathroom or remodeling your kitchen. These things can not only be costly but may take months and you certainly won't have the chance to enjoy using the new amenities. Rather than big, costly projects focus on changes that cost relatively little yet dramatically increase the value of your home.

Look at the Walls and Carpets

What color are my walls and carpet? Are there signs of leaks or wear and tear? Some of the best money you can spend can be by painting the walls, taking down colorful wallpaper, or replacing worn carpet. When it comes to colors, stay neutral (whites, creams, eggshells, and light grays).

Check to Make Sure Everything Works

Does every light turn on? Does every electrical outlet work? Do any of the toilets run or do the sinks leak? Make sure to test, the disposal, air-conditioning, heat, ceiling fans, and every appliance. Potential buyers love to turn on the lights including closets and hallways so make sure every light has a bulb that works.

How About the Kitchen and Bathrooms?

Are the kitchen cabinets updated? Does the refrigerator and dishwasher work? How are the floors in both the kitchen and bathrooms? Is the grout in good shape? Do the tub and shower drain properly? Do the tiles need repair? There is plenty that you can do to brighten up these spaces without spending too much money. Perhaps paint your cabinets or add new, shiny hardware. Regrouting the shower and putting a new glaze on the tub can do wonders for the bathroom. If the floors have seen better days, think about replacing them with fresh tile or linoleum.

Finally, Glance at Your Curtains and Window Treatments

Do the mini-blinds work? Are they clean? Are the window treatments outdated? As long as you are neutralizing your home, consider getting rid of heavy, dark-colored window treatments and replacing them with inexpensive mini-blinds. Be mindful of blackout shades or shutters that could make your home dark and dreary.

Overall, renovations, repairs, and improvements can help raise the appeal of your home for potential buyers. Remember that each home is different and what needs to be done will depend on what you are willing to spend and the time you are willing to dedicate to doing the work. Talk to your broker to find out what is normal and standard in your area and in your price range. In the end, a little work can have a large payoff.

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