Did you know that most homes sell within about 56 days? And yet you may be able to sell yours faster, especially if you invest in the right home repairs before selling.
If you’re interested in selling a home fast, you’ve got to enter the market prepared for what home buyers are looking for. While every home shopper has different priorities, many of them share the same interests: they want a house that’s strong, safe, and comfortable for themselves and their families. In this article, we’ll discuss some important areas where you may need to make home repairs before selling.
Home Repairs Before Selling: Deciding What’s Important
Understandably, you likely want to avoid as many home repairs before selling as possible, especially if those repairs won’t boost your sale price. It would be nice if the only repairs and upgrades needed around your home were ones that significantly affect your home’s value, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes you just have to make home repairs before selling, not because the repairs add value, but just because it’s necessary for maintaining your integrity. Sure, the average home buyer might not notice structural damage under the crawlspace, but they’re notice in a few months if the floor starts to cave in.
The first step before selling any home is to take stock of what you have. You need to know as much as possible about every detail of your home, from the age of the roof to the current integrity of its foundation. You should consider hiring a local house inspector to look over your home for you, as this will ensure you don’t discover any nasty surprises when the Realtor or prospective buyer has it inspected.
To make sure you understand the most important home repairs before selling, keep reading for our suggestions for where to begin.
For people who want to sell their homes, one of the biggest questions they have is whether they should do anything with their roof before selling. Often, the answer isn’t that simple. If your current roof is approaching 20 years old, then you should definitely hire a roofing company to replace it. But what if there are only a few shingles loose, and no significant damage? Knowing when to invest a lot of money into roof repairs and when to sell as-is can be complicated for any homeowner.
As mentioned above, the first thing you should do when you decide to sell is have your home inspected by a great local inspector. If the inspection results indicate that your roof needs attention, consult an expert roofing contractor to find out how much the needed repairs will cost. Ideally you should talk to two or three expert contractors, as the price will differ based on the contractor. Once you know the potential cost of roof repairs, you will be able to decide whether it’s in your budget (and time frame) to make the repairs yourself. Not only that, but if you choose not to make the repairs, you’ll have an accurate frame of reference for repair costs if the buyer wants to negotiate a lower price because of the roof’s condition.
It’s important to note that, if you’re looking for a quick sale, repairing the roof yourself is probably in your best interests. You can definitely find buyers who are okay with taking on some of the repairs after the sale, but many home shoppers wouldn’t be comfortable with moving into a home that’s in questionable condition.
As a home seller, you should know that one of the most important requirements for a quick sale is your home’s curb appeal. The better the house looks from the road, the better a visitor’s first impression is going to be, and that counts for a lot when your visitors are potential home buyers.
Outdoor lighting might not be as big a deal as the grass or bushes around your home (more on those later). But if you look around your neighborhood, you’ll probably realize that it’s not uncommon for a house to have one or two of its outdoor lamps broken, or at least for a few bulbs to be burnt out and forgotten. And since these light fixtures are outside, it’s too easy to forget about checking them as you make home repairs before selling.
Whether you have a string of solar-powered lamps along the driveway or just some simple home security lighting, make sure the outdoor lights work before you start showing your home. It may not make much of a difference during the day, but if you have any evening visitors, few things are more alluring than a nicely-lit home standing out in the dark.
As any kitchen remodeler will be quick to tell you, redoing your kitchen can have big payoffs when you sell your home. But it’s not all black and white: certainly, in most cases upgrading the kitchen will pay off, but you should do it strategically.
When you think about the design of your kitchen, remember that the important thing isn’t how much you spend on renovations, but how prospective buyers feel when they enter your house. While a brand-new expensive kitchen will naturally make anybody feel impressed, that doesn’t mean it’s always the best use of your money. If demand for homes in your area is very high, then visitors could see your old, boring kitchen as a blank canvas, and imagine what renovations they might make themselves. On the other hand, if demand for homes is fairly low, then it’s generally best if visitors are able to see themselves happily enjoying your home as-is.
If you decide your kitchen needs some TLC to attract buyers, the next thing to consider is your budget. If all you have to spare for kitchen renovations is $500 to $1,000, then you’ll be limited to applying new paint and maybe installing a laminate countertop. Depending on the kitchen, this may be all it needs to look fresh and up-to-date. On the other hand, if you have substantial money that you’re able to invest in renovations, you should talk to your real estate agent and get their advice on what upgrades would make the most sense. It’s important to remember that, when you update a room of the house, you shouldn’t go so far as to make it look like it no longer belongs in the rest of the house. A modern kitchen with shiny, expensive appliances will just feel out of place in an antique house with old-fashioned decor.
Your bathrooms are probably the smallest rooms in your house, but they’re deceptively simple. Behind the unassuming cabinets and fixtures is a complex maze of pipes and wire, and the compact nature of bathrooms makes the whole assembly even more complicated. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your bathroom when considering home repairs before selling, however. To many home buyers, the style and condition of the bathrooms is of particular importance to them, much like the kitchen.
Fortunately, with the right remodeling contractors, refinishing a bathroom for resale doesn’t have to be too complicated. But as always, it’s important to know what specifically to invest your money in, and there are some steps you can take to ensure the project goes as smoothly as possible.
First of all, talk to your real estate agent to develop a clear idea of what’s most important for bathroom remodeling. Then you will need to decide who to hire to do the job. Some homeowners feel that outsourcing to contractors is too expensive, and opt to do the work themselves, but you should think twice about that. Unless you’re specifically trained as a plumber and electrician, you probably shouldn’t touch the piping or wiring in your bathroom. Water and electricity are not good friends, and one wrong move could result in flooding or fire, or even both!
To make sure the remodel project goes smoothly, find out ahead of time what materials will be needed, and make sure everything has arrived before the work begins. It’s typically a bad idea to start tearing out old flooring and fixtures before the new materials arrive, so use a checklist to make sure nothing is missing or damaged when the work starts.
Security and Smart Home Features
The security systems in your home (or lack thereof) might not be the first thing to come to mind, but they can make your offer that much more appealing. A home buyer wants someplace to live that’s comfortable, safe, and secure, so finding an up-to-date, fully-functional security system in the house can be a major selling point.
If you live in an upper-class neighborhood, or near a city with a high crime rate, you may need a complete security system in your house just to compete with other offers in your area. But even if none of the neighbors have security services, having them in your house can really set it apart from other homes for sale. As prospective buyers make their way through your home, they’ll be very impressed when they see keypads, motion sensor lights, surveillance cameras keeping watch over the house. Besides having a sense of safety, it can also go a long way towards making the home feel modern and up-to-date.
Similar to modern security systems are home automation systems or smart home devices. Having the thermostat, lights, cameras, and door locks all automated and connected to the same system can add an incredible sense of safety and sophistication to any home. Having an automated thermostat means it’s easier to save money on energy while having light switches, door locks, and cameras that can be operated remotely will give new owners peace of mind when they’re away from home.
Installing high-tech equipment in all the walls of your house may not be something you want to put your money in right now, but you should at least consider it before selling, especially if it would help you compete with other homes for sale.
Yard and Landscaping
You probably don’t need an online article to tell you that lawn care is important when you’re making home repairs before selling. But getting your yard ready to impress potential buyers isn’t always as simple as cutting the grass and trimming some bushes.
You wouldn’t show your house off if the grass was overgrown, but tall grass isn’t the only sign of neglect that can tarnish your home’s image. Flower beds must be tended, shrubs must be trimmed, and any outdoor furniture or paraphernalia must be neat and clean. Unfortunately, if you’ve let your yard go for too long, these aren’t things that can be corrected with one day of hard work. Flowering plants can appear spindly and uncomfortable after weeks of neglect. Shrubs can become “leggy,” with the only healthy growth being at the very top of their overgrown stems. Even the lawn could suffer, with bare patches showing up here and there from poor nourishment.
If your landscaping has gone a long time without being cleaned up, it could take a few weeks of steady care to make it look nice again. Fortunately, you don’t need a luxurious lawn or fancy garden sculptures to impress house shoppers. In fact, if your landscaping is too complex, it could actually scare away would-be buyers. Your yard and gardens should be neat and well taken care of, but avoid making any improvements that would be seen as gaudy or over-the-top. Not everyone wants to hire a gardener or spend all their time doing yard work.
Porch, Deck, or Patio
Last on our list of home repairs before selling is your outdoor living space. People today value a nice patio or backyard more than ever, as more people work from home and even spend their vacations at home. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to make sure your hardscaping and outdoor features are in top condition before selling.
If your house doesn’t have a nice porch or deck, it’s going to be less appealing to buyers. Fortunately, having one built can be a relatively cheap upgrade to make, and go a long way towards increasing your chances of a good sale. Find some contractors in your area who specialize in building custom patios, and compare their rates. It’s one of the best ways to make your home into a more attractive offer.
If your house has a deck, porch, or patio already, look them over and consider any improvements they might need. Wooden decks need to be repainted or resealed every now and then, so if it’s seen some wear that would be a good improvement to make before selling. Other than obvious structural improvements, think about ways that you could make your outdoor spaces more attractive: planting low-maintenance flowers in pots, replacing outdoor seating cushions, or adding extra shade with a canopy or umbrella can make your yard that much more inviting.
Hopefully, these suggestions have given you some great ideas for getting started as you make home repairs before selling your house.