For many of us, our homes are the most valuable assets in our wealth portfolio. You may have some stocks, bonds, and a couple of mutual funds, but a home is an investment you live in. You can’t live in 100 shares of IBM, but you can live in your split-level and keep your stuff dry as an added bonus.
When it’s time to move up to a bigger home, or time to move out to take a new job, you want to get the highest price you can for that beloved asset.*
Problem is, you probably don’t see the little things that bother home buyers walking through your house for the first time. You see these eyesores every day, so you might not give a thought to the ugly avocado-colored sink in the kitchen – the one you were going to swap out as your first home improvement project 10 years ago. The ugly sink is still there, but it doesn’t bother you anymore. If you look at anything long enough, eventually it just becomes part of the landscape.
Want to get more for your house when it comes to market? Here are some simple tips that may pay big dividends when buyers start walk-throughs of your home sweet home.
Bring in the crew. Hire an electrician to clean up the circuit breaker box. Bring in a plumber to fix those leaky faucets and replace the running toilet shut-off float. Hire a carpenter to finally get that window unstuck! Little things mean a lot. Buyers expect windows to open and faucets to close tight with no leaks. These “little things” (in your opinion) may have a big negative impact on people viewing your home.
Create space. Take out the island in the kitchen or knock down a non-load-bearing wall to create an open flow to the home. It’ll cost a few bucks, but it’s a straightforward project for any knowledgeable home improvement contractor. Open up the interior space to make the house “feel” bigger than it really is. Today’s buyers want an open space home. Give them what they want and you may recoup your investment with a higher listing price.
Redo the kitchen. This is the center of most household activity – it’s where the family interacts. Make it nice before putting your home on the market. You may spend some money here, adding new granite countertops and new stainless steel appliances, but the kitchen is considered a major selling point.
Redo the bath. This is another key selling point. Buyers don’t want the hassle of redesigning and rebuilding the bathrooms, so you do it for them. Pick neutral colors to appeal to more potential buyers. A new sink, an updated vanity, some nice wall sconces, fresh paint, and you can give that old, tired bathroom a fresh, clean look – and you don’t have to spend a bundle.
Do some landscaping. You want prospects to love your home before they set foot inside. You want your home to have curb appeal. Drive-bys slow down for a second look and walk-throughs love the new stone tile walkway. If you do the landscaping yourself, you may get back more than you invest in the home’s exterior. Also, potted plants are moveable and create a more finished look to visitors touring your house.
Add closet storage systems. If your home has small closets, add shelving and hangers with a high-quality closet storage system. Buyers want big closets, or at least closets that’ll hold all their clothes. For a few dollars, you can create closet space to make a better impression.
Redo the front door. Buyers usually make up their minds about a home within seven seconds of entering. Make the front door welcoming and attractive with a fresh coat of paint and some colorful plants that draw the eye to an attractive entrance instead of just the front door.
Replace that old carpet. Buyers look at your floors. A lot. Replace old, worn-out carpeting with fresh, neutral carpeting, tile or wood flooring. Have flooring professionally installed and don’t pick a color that’s risky. Choose a carpet color that hides dirt and doesn’t offend the senses of potential buyers.
Replace the nasty shower curtain in the bathroom. Get new bath towels and a matching bath mat. You may not see these negatives, but home buyers see your house with a more critical eye. They see the little things you overlook everyday – like the shower curtain.
Repaint your teen’s bedroom. In fact, repaint any wall covered in lime-green with a neutral color. Go through the house, look at the walls, and ask yourself if everyone is going to think pink was a good color option for the home’s entryway. Most buyers don’t want to start repainting before they move in. They just want to move in!
If it’s broken, fix it before buyers ask “What’s that?” Realtors will tell you that a “what’s that?” from a buyer is almost always trouble. A broken stair rail? Wallpaper from the 1970s, a rusting above-ground pool in the yard – if it prompts the question “What’s that?” fix it fast or lose the sale.
Selling your house is a project for which you can prepare and be ready for those first few walk-throughs. Don’t look at your home as your home. Pretty soon it’ll be someone else’s home, so fix it, tone it down, make it easy for buyers to see themselves living there.
That’s the key to selling your home quickly, and at a higher price than you imagined possible.
*Need to borrow money to fix up your home? Consider a Home Equity Credit Line** from Nevada State Bank. And when it’s time to move, we can help you with a mortgage** for your new home. Our Residential Mortgage team will work closely with you to assess your needs and offer you the financing that will work for you.
**Credit approval required, restrictions apply. Nevada State Bank NMLS# 561942.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.
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