If you’re thinking of selling your older home, you may be wondering how much money you should invest in fixing it up before you list it. While some repairs may be necessary, you don’t need to worry about making it the most up-to-date house on the block. Here are a few considerations:
Make Essential Repairs
While many buyers are ok with a “fixer-upper,” there are certain criteria that a home must pass in order for a buyer to get a loan. Usually these repairs involve the safety and stability of the home – foundation, roof, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems – but a lender can insist on other repairs in order to protect their investment over the life of the loan. Your REALTOR® can do a walkthrough to help you identify any problems that might come up in an inspection so you can address them prior to putting your home on the market. A professional pre-listing inspection is also a consideration. It will cost you a few hundred dollars but will identify specific problem areas so you can address those prior to putting the house up for sale.
It’s not necessary to update your home to today’s design standards but sometimes making a few minor upgrades can make a big difference in the appeal of your home. The most important rooms to look at are the kitchen and the bathrooms. Something as simple as changing out the faucets and/or cabinet hardware to a more modern look can make a big difference. If you want to do even more, get a bid from a contractor for changing out countertops or floors. Oftentimes, your contractor can get a deal on scrap pieces to do smaller areas at a great price.
First impressions mean everything when it comes to selling your home. Replacing any rotting wood, adding a fresh coat of paint and doing some basic landscaping makes your home more attractive to potential buyers. You don’t need to have the “yard of the month,” but you should give the impression that your home is well taken care of.
Again – first impressions are important, so make an effort to make your home inviting to potential buyers. Your home should be clean and free of clutter. Furniture should be arranged to maximize space and to make rooms easy to navigate. Fresh towels and new rugs can add a nice touch to bathrooms. Personal photos should be removed to help buyers imagine themselves living in your home. Many REALTORS have professional stagers who will come in and do all of this for you. As you interview real estate agents, ask if they have their homes professionally staged.
Consider a Home Warranty
Consider purchasing a home warranty. Warranties typically cover the major systems like electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning and many cover appliances as well. Knowing that the home’s major systems are covered if something goes wrong will give your buyer confidence and peace of mind.
Price it Right
Remember, no matter what you think of your home, it will only sell for what it’s worth in the current housing market. Your REALTOR® can offer you a free market analysis to help you price your house competitively. When you price your home right, you’re more likely to get an early offer that is closer to the asking price. If you price the house too high, it could sit on the market for a while. When that happens, buyers start to wonder what’s wrong with it. An underpriced home can also be a red flag for buyers. They wonder what could be wrong to make you price it so low. An experienced REALTOR® is key to helping you get your home priced right and sold quickly.
Sell it “As Is”
If your home will need significant repairs and you just don’t have the money or the time to deal with it, you can consider selling it “as-is.” Your buying audience will be much smaller because the home will likely not qualify for a loan. You will be dealing with investors or “flippers” who will make you a cash offer on the home. These offers will obviously be much lower than those you might receive if your home was in good repair.
If you’re ready to list your home for sale, call Ingrid or John Sullivan at 817-330-9235 to request a free consultation. We’ll do a walkthrough with you to help identify any problem areas and provide you with a free in-depth market analysis.